[dropcap size=small]N[/dropcap]ow that Cathay Pacific have two daily flights from Hong Kong to Tokyo’s Haneda airport, which is two hours closer to Ginza and Omotesando than Narita, it’s possible to have breakfast in first-class and be at the Ritz-Carlton in downtown Minato-ku by lunchtime.
The rooms at the Ritz Carlton Tokyo are supremely elegant and, because the hotel starts at the 44th floor, they have some of the best views in the city. After a shower in the densely marbled bathroom, where the lavatory has more functions than a iPad 2, the Hinokizaka restaurant awaits, the only hotel restaurant in Tokyo to have a Michelin star. Lunch is a supreme mix of classic and contemporary Japanese styles and sets one up for an afternoon of strolling through the ethereal gardens of the Imperial Palace, or paying a visit to the Meiji Shrine. Those who want to know what the future holds can buy a fortune scroll at the Senso-ji, a Buddhist temple in Asakusa. Should the fortune be inauspicious simply tie it in a knot and leave it attached to one of the temple’s pillars, where bodhisattva Kannon will absorb any ill fortune.
Although the lights are not as bright as they once wore along Ginza’s gleaming streets, they still offer superb shopping. Tokyo’s residents have been resolute in their determination that the city bounces back from the economic effects of the tsunami. Gucci, Louis Vuitton, BVLGARI and all their glitzy cousins are doing a brisk trade once more. After shopping, one of the best restaurants and bars in town can be found on the top floor of BVLGARI, which is managed by the Ritz Carlton Group. Imagine a ravioli filled with a rich tomato and beef centre rendered in the manner of a Xiao Long Bao, the pasta envelope filled, like the famous Shanghainese dumpling, with hot, fragrant liquid. This delicacy can be found at the BVLGARI, and I have never eaten a more memorable dish in an Italian restaurant.
Back at the Ritz Carlton, take a massage, try on a kimono, drink at the bar or just curl up in the luscious armchair and read Murakami as you watch the lights of Tokyo twinkle below. Believe me, you won’t want to leave.
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