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September 3, 2009updated Jul 08, 2015

The Shangri-La Hotel, Tokyo, Pushes Design Edge

By Pardhasaradhi Gonuguntla

The Shangri-La Hotel, Tokyo might be the most glamorous hotel destination in Japan. The first of this brand in the nation, the hotel stands out from Japan’s traditionally minimalist hospitality designs. The bold statement created by HBA’s design is well suited for an international city like Tokyo. According to HBA’s lead project designer, Naoko Horii, the design is “attractive to both international guests as well as local visitors who rarely see this style of opulence in Japan.” As with its legendary Himalayan namesake, Shangri-La, Tokyo is an oasis in the clouds.

Shangri-La, Tokyo’s use of space is unexpected and refreshing. The hotel occupies the top 11 floors of the 37-storey Marunouchi Trust Tower, which is adjacent to Tokyo Station. From the bustling street level, guests are whisked 26 floors in a 3.5-meter-high elevator to the lobby, where they are greeted by a 180-degree view of the Tokyo skyline. Here, a 10-meter long crystal chandelier illuminates the grand, curving staircase, drawing the eye up the hotel’s three public levels, where lighting effects accentuate the feeling of unending space. Shangri-La Tokyo’s impression of expansiveness extends to the 202 guestrooms, where ultra spacious baths–including an oversized rain shower and bathtub–are opened with picture windows.

Featuring over 2,000 pieces of artwork and scores of crystal chandeliers by world-renowned Lasvit, the design creates a glamorous harmony of earth, air, fire and water. The onyx bar, the soaring spaces, the bespoke lighting, the elegant glasswork, and the Nicolai Bergmann floral arrangements blend European and Japanese tradition into a fresh, contemporary, tranquility that transcends boundaries.

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