January 01, 2003
Meetings & Conventions: Newsline newsline.gif (8042 bytes)International Focus Tokyo

Tower of efficiency: The mixed-use Marunouchi Building

Rapid and highly sophisticated urban development is the order of the day in Japan’s capital city. Extensive projects are under way in several areas in and around Tokyo’s bustling central business district. Developers are preserving historic buildings while adding extensive retail and office space, hotels, meeting venues, restaurants (in all price ranges) and cultural attractions.

Here in the heart of Tokyo’s upscale shopping district, Hotel Seiyo Ginza finished a $4.5 million renovation a year ago. As part of the extensive project, the 77-room boutique hotel added Rèpertoire, serving contemporary French cuisine. Rosewood Hotels & Resorts assumed management of the property two years ago.

Old is new again in the Marunouchi area, near Tokyo Station, the Imperial Palace and the Ginza district. In this major corporate hub, the Marunouchi Building opened last September, giving new meaning to the term “multipurpose.” The 36-story tower houses a mix of offices and restaurants, five floors of shopping and a high-tech conference center catering to groups of up to 400 people.

The 57-room Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Marunouchi opened this past October, occupying five stories of an historic building. Guest rooms feature mounted 42-inch plasma-screen TVs, CD and DVD players, wall-to-wall windows and sprawling views of the city.

Hotel development continues in the area. The Peninsula Hotel Tokyo is expected to open in 2007 with about 300 guest rooms.

Nearby, in the upscale Nihombashi business district, the Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo, is set to open in fall 2006, occupying the top 10 floors of a new 41-story office building.

Billed as Japan’s largest-scale urban redevelopment project to date, Roppongi Hills will be unveiled in April. At the heart of the complex will be the 54-story Mori Building, an office and retail tower housing the 65,000-square-foot Mori Arts Center in its top five floors. Part of that space will be devoted to the Mori Art Museum, affiliated with New York City’s Museum of Modern Art, set to open in October 2003.

Also opening in Roppongi Hills in May, adjacent to the Mori Building, is the 390-room Grand Hyatt Tokyo, which will feature more than 30,000 square feet of meeting and function space. Guest rooms will offer high-speed Internet connections and DVD players, luxuriously deep soaking tubs and separate showers, plus two flat-screen TVs a large one in the main guest room and a smaller version for the bath.

This summer should see the opening of two hotels here, on the southern edge of the business district: the 490-room Royal Park Shiodome Tower and the 277-room Shiba Park Hotel.

Farther south of the city center, the Shinagawa Prince Hotel opened a 672-room Executive Tower in April 2002. The mammoth hotel now offers a total 3,680 guest rooms, a 10-screen movie theater, an IMAX theater, a cabaret, a bowling center, and indoor swimming, golf and tennis. Bullet train service will come to Shinagawa Station later this year.

By Loren G. Edelstein
Lisbon’s 194-room Pestana Carlton Palace Hotel, formerly the Palácio Valle Flor, opened last year. The main building, a national monument, was restored to its grand 19th-century ambience, and two wings were added to house the guest rooms. The property has 15 meeting rooms, a fitness center, formal gardens and an outdoor pool. (011) 351-291-209100; Back to NewslineM&C Home Page
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