"Short stories and travel reports from my life adventures around the globe".

Travel Report: The Park Hyatt Tokyo, Part I.

Park Hyatt Shinjuku Tower Tokyo.

February 2019. I’m not even a tad embarrassed to admit that I felt an army of butterflies doing cartwheels in my stomach as Tokyo’s immense, 52-story Shinjuku Park Tower came into view. As anyone who knows me well can firmly attest, I’m not exactly the most excitable person in the world. In fact, one might describe me as a bit of a cynic… the prince of sarcasm… prone to the odd bout of half-glass-empty-itis. But sometimes you just know that you’ve arrived at a major life event… a dream-fulfilling moment of glory that deserves to be celebrated and savored. And as Wonderboy and I found ourselves trotting up to the entrance doors of Shinjuku Park Tower, I made sure to take a silent, internal moment to remind myself that yes, this was one of those occasions.

Anthony Donaldson Sculpture central foyer Lobby Park Hyatt Tokyo.

Airflow by Anthony Donaldson – The Park Hyatt Tokyo.

I’ve been a film fanatic all my life, an obsessive passion that eventually saw me land a job writing about movies, voice-overing movie magazine TV shows and interviewing Hollywood stars. I’ve had some incredible experiences over the years, and as Wonderboy and I headed through Shinjuku Park Tower’s sliding glass entrance doors that day, I had a strong feeling the next twenty four hours could be right up there with the best of them.

All these things and more were running through my mind as we made our way into the tasteful foyer, with its bronze-steel Airflow sculpture by British artist Anthony Donaldson. But there was no time to stop and admire it, all I could focus on was reaching those elevator doors for the ride that would take us to our destination…. Park Hyatt Tokyo… quite possibly Japan’s most luxurious five star hotel, most definitely the filming location of my favorite movie, Sofia Coppola’s Oscar-winning drama Lost in Translation.

Elevator Park Hyatt Tokyo Lost I Translation.

Elevator, Park Hyatt Tokyo.

Park Hyatt Tokyo occupies the top fourteen floors of Shinjuku Park Tower and any Lost In Translation pilgrimage worth its salt takes in the main elevators with its ghoulish animal and carnival mask sculptures by local artist Mieko Yuki. As we rapidly shot up the floors I could literally feel the hairs on the back of my neck standing up.

Bill Murray Lost In Translation Park Hyatt Tokyo

Bob riding the Park Hyatt elevator, Lost In Translation.

After all, this is where we see the amusing shot of midlife-crisis-ridden Bob Harris (Bill Murray) towering head and shoulders above a crowd of suited Japanese businessmen. And of course it’s where he first lays eyes on the equally lost college graduate Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson).

The Peak Lounge Park Hyatt Tokyo Lost In Translation.

The Peak Lounge, Park Hyatt Tokyo.

The doors slid open and boom, our dimly-lit ascent gave way to an explosion of light as we emerged into the 41st floor lobby. Known as The Peak Lounge, I found myself instantly drawn to the origami shaped glass windows and their luscious city views.

Giovanni Ribisi Scarlett Johansson Anna Faris Park Hyatt Tokyo Lost in Translation

Anna Faris (centre), Giovannia Ribisi (left) and Scarlett Johansson (right) – Lost in Translation.

“Oh my god, I have the worst B.O. right now!”

And then I was rapidly piecing it all together… the bamboo garden setting…. the grey granite walls…. those large washi paper lanterns. Yes, this was the backdrop to John (Giovanni Ribisi) and Charlotte’s awkward first meeting with bimbo actress Kelly (Anna Faris).

Bill Murray Scarlett Johansson Park Hyatt Tokyo Lost In Translation

Bob and Charlotte sneaking through The Peak Lounge – Lost In Translation.

It’s also here in The Peak Lounge where a hand-in-hand Bob and Charlotte expertly sneak past Kelly late one night as she obliviously murders Carly Simon’s Nobody Does It Better.

Bill Murray The Peak Lounge Park Hyatt Tokyo Lost In Translation

Going… going… gone. Bob knows he’s losing Charlotte – Lost in Translation.

And of course it was here that poor old Bob stands ashen-faced for photos with the Suntory crew, barely able to disguise his heartache as Charlotte disappears behind the mirrored elevator doors.

Twin Bed Deluxe Room Park Hyatt Tokyo

My suite at The Park Hyatt Tokyo.

“Welcome to Park Hyatt Tokyo Mr. Thomas!” grinned Emi. Cute, immaculately suited and infectiously peppy, she’d picked us up at The Peak Lounge and personally hand delivered to our Deluxe Twin Room on the 44th floor. And that was the check-in process apparently, a seamless experience that spared us any kind of queuing at reception. “It’s huge!” cooed Wonderboy, a notion that certainly wasn’t mistaken. At 55 square meters Park Hyatt Tokyo offers the largest standard rooms in the Japanese capital, while the extra wide beds are apparently equipped with Egyptian cotton sheets and down feather duvets.

Minibar Twin Bed Deluxe Room Park Hyatt Tokyo.

The minibar, approach at your financial peril – The Park Hyatt, Tokyo.

Complimentary handcrafted sweets Twin Bed Deluxe Room Park Hyatt Tokyo.

Complimentary handcrafted candies, The Park Hyatt Tokyo.

Darting around our new Park Hyatt home, we were quick to turn on the 40 inch TV, marvel at the tempting options in the minibar and sample some of the complimentary handcrafted Kyo-ame boiled sweets. They proved to be as richly fruity in taste as they were glossy in colour. They didn’t last long.

Bathroom Twin Deluxe Bedroom Park Hyatt Tokyo

Twin Deluxe Room Bathroom, The Park Hyatt Tokyo.

In the stunning bathroom meanwhile we could pretty much see our reflections in the stainless steel faucets and couldn’t help but admire the striking painting by Yoshitaka Echizenya above the deep soaking tub. Later on, before bed, I would lower myself into that glorious tub with an ice-cold bottle of beer. And it was virtually impossible not to have a giggle at the heated toilet seat that sprang dutifully to attention whenever we opened the door.

Tokyo views from Twin Bed Deluxe Room Park Hyatt Tokyo.

The view from my suite, The Park Hyatt Tokyo.

Last but not least we concluded our room tour by simply standing at the giant windows gazing out across the Tokyo skyline, magnificent in all its glory even on a grey day like this. Ok, so we didn’t actually get that clear Mount Fuji view we’d been hoping for but hey, I guess even Park Hyatt Tokyo can’t micromanage the weather.

Complimentary strawberry delivery Twin Bed Deluxe Room Park Hyatt Tokyo

In-room strawberry delivery, Park Hyatt Tokyo.

It was there by the windows at the armchairs and desk that Wonderboy and I finally took a load off for some chill time. But then, much to our surprise, the doorbell rang. Who could it be? Delightfully, it was a butler-like Park Hyatt gentlemen carrying a silver bowl of strawberries with a creme envelope adorned with the words: Mr. Leighton Thomas. Opening the envelope, I unfolded a handwritten letter which read:

Dear Mr. Thomas,

a warm welcome to Park Hyatt Tokyo! We wish you an enjoyable and comfortable stay.

Yours sincerely,

Herve Mazella, General Manager. 

A short while later, full of strawberries and Park Hyatt opulence, it was finally time to set to work! Above everything else the reason I really loved that room was that it made me think of the film and its amusing bedroom scenes, not to mention the movie poster where Bill Murray sits on the side of the bed looking deflated in his white slippers.

Deluxe Twin Room Park Hyatt Tokyo.

“Slump your shoulders slightly!” Take 36.

It wasn’t easy trying to recreate that poster! The bedroom needed rearranging, lighting was an issue and I had to stick on a fluffy-white-polar-bear-dressing-gown in place of Bill’s thin, brown kimono. Under direction from Wonderboy behind the lens, I clasped my hands together… tilted my head this way… tilted it that way… tried looking more miserable… had a go at looking slightly less miserable. We must have taken over 50 shots before conceding that whatever we had now it probably wasn’t going to get any better.

Lost In Translation tribute Park Hyatt Tokyo.

Lost In TransLeighton.

It was only some months later back in China after a lengthy editing process that I finally got things looking the way I wanted. Not a perfect recreation of course, but a veritable beast in its own right and a fitting tribute to both the movie and our stay at Park Hyatt Tokyo.

It was 15:00 that afternoon by the time we were finished and, as amazing as everything had already been, in truth we hadn’t even got started! To find out more about my incredible stay at Park Hyatt Toyko and our immersion into all things Lost in Translation, check out my article: The Park Hyatt Tokyo Part II.

Want to stay at Park Hyatt Tokyo? Check out their online booking platform here. 

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  • Chris Axon

    Great article. I visited the same hotel for the views on my whirlwind visit to Tokyo in 2012.


    April 7, 2019 - 6:52 pm Reply
    • leightonliterature

      Hi Chris, thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. I’m not normally a “luxury hotel” kinda guy but yeah, this place is something else.

      April 7, 2019 - 9:43 pm Reply
      • Chris Axon

        My visit was only to take photos since I totally underestimated the queues at the Sky Tower. I needed my fix of cityscape photographs so had to indulge. I had a drink at the bar on about the 44th floor and then got snapping.

        Always nice to indulge in a little luxury occasionally mate.

        April 7, 2019 - 10:00 pm
      • leightonliterature

        You’re quite right!

        April 8, 2019 - 12:24 am

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