The Tasting Panel magazine

October 2012

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Page 137 of 140

Dusk at the New York Grill and Bar at Park Hyatt Toyko. PARK HYATT TOKYO This great hotel in Shinjuku was one of the first to use the multi-purpose idea. Situated in the three peaked towers of the Shinjuku Park Tower, the lobby is on the 41st floor, and the hotel rises 14 more floors above it. The elevator opens on a large sun-drenched space under a vaulted, pyramidal ceiling. The three towers contain a two-story health and fitness club complete with a 20-meter pool commanding the world's best swimmers' view, and three restaurants: Girandole, the place for light snacks and breakfast; New York Grill and Bar, a nightclub, cocktail lounge and steakhouse sporting an astonishing all-American wine list (Screaming Eagle, anyone?); and Kozue, one of Tokyo's best, where Chef Kenichiro Ohe displays his ever-changing contemporary take on traditional kaiseki cuisine. Although it is now 18 years old, Park Hyatt Tokyo—famed as the location of the 2003 film Lost in Translation—is as fresh and contemporary as ever, thanks to the subtle interior design of American John Morford. The serene style, featur- ing muted colors, handwoven fabrics and wood, sets a timeless mood. The 178 rooms echo this calm, contemporary mood. They are large, luxurious and many offer an unobstructed view of Mt. Fuji, an extra treat. MANDARIN ORIENTAL This seven-year-old, dramatically modern hotel is located in Nihonbashi, the center of the city. The stunning lobby with its breathtaking city views is on the 38th floor. There are 178 rooms (must be a magic number) on the nine floors below. They are large, sunny and state-of-the-art. "Our hotel," says Signature Executive Chef Olivier Rodriguez, "is primarily a food and beverage operation." There are twelve different options, including two Michelin- starred restaurants: Signature, offering a contemporary French experience, and Sense, one of Japan's best Chinese dining places. In addition, Sushi Sora offers a sublime edomae menu and Tapas Molecular Bar presents modern, cutting-edge cuisine. Contained within its modern décor is a delightful wine cellar reachable by a spiral stone staircase. Once inside this traditional-looking cellar, the venue for special tastings and dinners, it is difficult to imagine that it is contained within a steel and glass skyscraper. The East Lobby of the Mandarin Oriental Tokyo is on the 38th floor. CONRAD TOKYO Traditional Japanese dress at Kazahana at Conrad Tokyo. Also seven-years old, this hotel, the top property in Hilton's prestige Conrad brand, is located in the ultra-modern Shiodome area, situated between Tokyo Bay and Ginza. The hotel is just a ten-minute walk from the famous Tsukiji fish market. The high-ceiling lobby is on the 28th floor, and the 290 rooms are on the nine floors above. The rooms are large and modern with a large window from the bathroom into the bedroom. Dining choices include Kazahana, a contemporary Japanese restaurant featuring sushi and kaiseki menus; two Gordon Ramsay restaurants, the casual brasserie Cerise and the formal white-table- cloth Gordon Ramsay at Conrad, featuring elegant fine dining. There is also China Blue, a beautiful Michelin-starred Chinese restaurant. At the Conrad, as at the other two hotels, service is exceptional. Gregor Andréewitch, Conrad General Manager, puts it this way: "When I was a GM in Chicago, everyone was cutting corners, putting out their hands for tips. In Japan, service is an honorable profession. Tips are not expected or accepted. Giving good service is a reward in itself." And 30 floors above the street, it's even sweeter. october 2012 / the tasting panel / 129 PHOTO COURTESY OF PARK HYATT HOTELS PHOTO COURTESY OF PARK HYATT HOTELS ©2011 CONRAD HOTELS & RESORTS PHOTO COURTESY OF MANDARIN ORIENTAL

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