How long have you worked for Palace Hotel Tokyo, and what was your first job there?
I have been with the company for 30 years now.
My first job was as a bellman and I still remember the very first guest that I showed to his room. He was a businessman working for Bankers Trust New York, which had an office in the Marunouchi area back then. There were many people working in the financial industry who were all in sharp suits and I always admired them.
We love your suits. Do you have a favorite brand? Which is your #1 favorite suit, and why?
My number-one favorite brand is the Japanese Select Shop called “Beams,” and my favorite suit is their original label called “Brilla per il gusto.”
Tell us something about the Palace Hotel Tokyo that guests may not know, or that people browsing the hotel website wouldn’t know?
We have 290 guest rooms and are considered a mid-size hotel in Japan.
Everything that is provided for these 290 rooms, such as breads, pastries, cakes, chocolates, etc., is all made around the clock within an enormous kitchen space in the basement floor. It is something we are very particular about.
Not many guests are aware of this. And not only the Western cuisine but all Japanese food – sushi, tempura, teppanyaki, and so forth – and the Chinese cuisine, too, are all made within the hotel.
What is your favorite place in Japan (other than Tokyo)?
I love Hakone and Izu Peninsula area, which are short distances from Tokyo. They are places where you can enjoy the scenic beauty of Japan, with the sea and mountains, delicious food and onsen (hot springs).
To be exact: Yumoto, Shuzenji, Gora, Sengokuhara, Atami, Ito, Nishi-izu (West Izu) and Minami-izu (South Izu) are all wonderful areas.
You will find many great ryokans in these areas and I am sure there will be many more high quality hotels opening here in the future. I would recommend visitors stay in one of these places for a night or two in between Tokyo and Kyoto. It is a convenient and relaxing area. I would also recommend renting a car and enjoying the drive from Tokyo to Hakone or Izu area.
If you had to pick only one thing that distinguishes Palace Hotel Tokyo from other Tokyo luxury hotels, what would it be?
The Palace’s brand concept is “Experience the Heart of Japan.” Heart of Japan has two meanings: one, being the center of Japan, and two, being the mind or spirit of the Japanese.
Being an independent Japanese brand, and not an international brand, I believe we may be the only Tokyo luxury hotel that embodies the spirit and sensibilities of the Japanese. Our mission is to create such experiences as one cannot find in other luxury hotels and I feel that our guests truly appreciate this.
In order to create this guest experience, the ideal scenario is for the hotel concept, design, service, and actual product to be built up in balance like a square. When all four elements are in harmony, I believe that creates a brand – our independent Japanese brand that distinguishes us from others.