The 31st floor of Park Hotel Tokyo offers its guests the chance to live, sleep and dream in an art gallery. Transformed by a hand-selected team of Japanese artists, each room is filled with their creative interpretations of the theme Japanese beauty. The artists lived in the hotel as they painted their artwork, some finishing in a matter of days, some taking up to a year, but what is clear in every room is the passion and thought that’s been poured onto the walls.
As soon as I stepped into the Wabi-Sabi room by Conami Hara I felt immersed in her artwork. Encompassing all four walls, she’s used a silver foil that slowly rusts in front of you to create an ephemeral interpretation of the universe. The driftwood motifs, popular in Japanese rock gardens, are to represent that we cannot change time, we must go with it instead.
Letting time fly by is exactly what I do in this room. Sitting on the window seat – the walls changing colour behind me, sky turning pink outside – an hour, maybe more, passes without me noticing.
The views offered by all the windows at Park Hotel (levels 25 to 31 of Shiodome Media Tower) are living artworks. From my window I watch pedestrians walk in sync, birds fly over Tokyo tower and Mount Fuji peek through the clouds in the distance; it’s just as transfixing as anything you’ll find in an art gallery.
Other areas of the hotel offer the chance to become immersed in art too. The hotel’s atrium, which spans 10 floors, hosts a series of art exhibitions that change with the seasons. Dotted around the breakfast buffet, by your side when you check in and projected large on the wall that dominates the atrium are artworks by a diverse range of Japanese artists. Guests of the Artists Rooms may speak to an Art Concierge about any questions they have regarding the art in the hotel and guests from all rooms are welcome to enjoy a Magical Art Tour, which includes afternoon tea and a tour of the Artists Rooms, including one in progress.
I was offered the chance to visit some more of the Artists Rooms too and couldn’t resist seeing how each artist had interpreted the theme differently. As the artists have drawn on popular Japanese concepts such as cherry blossom, sumo wrestling and geisha, picking what room to stay in is a hard choice for fans of Japanese culture.
What was interesting about my tour was seeing what areas of the rooms the artists had focused on. They were welcome to paint whatever areas they pleased; some carried their characters on into the bathroom, while in others the ceiling was a focus. It wasn’t until I was preparing to check out that I spotted a piece of drifting hiding in my wardrobe – it was a happy surprise at the end of the trip!
Location-wise the hotel works very well for both leisure and business travellers in Tokyo. Situated close to both Shimbashi and Shiodome Stations getting to Haneda Airport and Tokyo central train station was a breeze. (And with my giant suitcase that’s not something I say often!) The shopping district of Ginza is just 1 stop away and you’re in a good place to beat the crowds to Tsukiji Fish Market too. Taxis are expensive in Tokyo so having a hotel with direct access to the train station is key – I didn’t take a single taxi during my 4 days exploring the city.
The hotel has recently launched an Executive Lounge for guests of the Artist Rooms where they serve a continental breakfast (with a fresh smoothie and warm Panini made to order) and complimentary drinks in the evening. There’s also a delicious bakery in the lobby and very convenient Family Mart near the entrance to Shiodome train station.
As a solo first time visitor to Tokyo I was worried about getting lost or overwhelmed in this hectic city but getting back (successfully) to my Artist Room each night gave me nothing but pleasure. A hotel that offers an education in local art and culture, with artwork you can touch and feel, both on the walls and out of the windows, is something to really treasure.
I stayed as a guest of Park Hotel Tokyo who I reached out to after researching unique properties in Tokyo. A night in the Wabi-Sabi Queen Size Artist Room starts from 40,000Yen per night. For more information visit parkhoteltokyo.com.