December 14, 2023
Kimpton Shinjuku Tokyo
A Slice of Manhattan in the Heart of Tokyo
Walking towards the entrance of the Kimpton Shinjuku Tokyo, the sign outside reads “Ridiculously personal.” It’s a motif that is clear throughout your whole experience at the hotel; everything feels as though it can be personally tailored to you. From the daily “social hour” to the friendly and welcoming concierge team, not a moment goes by where you don’t feel cared for.
This Time, It’s Personal
This level of personal attention starts from the moment you walk in the door, as you’re greeted by friendly concierge staff who—while not in your face about it—will gladly go above and beyond to help you. This is not your average concierge desk, where the best they can muster up is a recommendation of a nearby restaurant. No, this is a team that has been known to plan itineraries and travel routes for guests based on their individual needs. This level of attention starts with the concierge but goes as far as the bar, housekeeping and restaurant staff, too.
It’s also about connection. The Kimpton Shinjuku Tokyo is always abuzz with events and opportunities to meet staff and fellow travelers. Every day, there is a “social hour” in a different part of the hotel, where you can chat with staff and fellow guests over complimentary wine and snacks. Don’t picture awkward chats around the water cooler, though, because this is a popular event that has high attendance from the guests, with around half of the guests joining on weekdays, and up to three-quarters on weekends.
That personal connection and sense of story is something that is highly valued as a part of the Kimpton brand. Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants started in San Franciso and recently celebrated its 40th anniversary as a company. The Shinjuku location, having just celebrated its third anniversary, was designed to create a connection between New York and Tokyo, specifically Manhattan and Shinjuku.
The hotel was planned with every moment of the guest’s stay in mind, all while keeping the elegant yet laid-back feel of a stylish New York hotel. This goes from the slouchy yet chic Jones Cafe & Bar on the first floor, through the halls of the hotel featuring the art of over 20 artists, and right up to the elegant rooftop bar on the 17th floor.
The Culinary Experience
Those elegant bars and restaurants are by no means an afterthought, because the culinary experience sits at the heart of every Kimpton hotel. This starts with the hotel’s design.
The Rockwell Group, known primarily for its bar and restaurant architecture, designed the interior of the Kimpton Shinjuku Tokyo in such a way that the café, restaurant and bar all fit seamlessly into the building, from the aged brass detailing to the tiered outdoor terrace seating (a rarity in Shinjuku).
The restaurant on the second floor, District -Brasserie, Bar, Lounge, is so named taking inspiration from the different districts of New York, each with its own characteristics. The terrace and lounge area is laid-back and allows pets, while the chef’s table offers a peek into the action of the kitchen in your own semi-private space. These different areas mean you can visit for a casual drink or take your time with a full meal.
Reflecting its New York roots, the restaurant is complete with a diverse menu, headed by a chef who fully understands the importance of multiculturalism in the kitchen. That head chef goes simply by “Thomas,” and like many other single-named characters out there, he’s the shining star of his space.
Thomas is originally from Indonesia, trained in Australia, and has been working at the Kimpton for 4 years now. He loves to show off his creativity with his team, so while the menu is mostly Western food with a local Japanese twist, you’ll often find it dotted with Southeast Asian spices, French sauces, and other accents from around the world. This manifests in dishes like the luxurious Tokyo Burrata with Osmic tomatoes from Chiba prefecture, or fish of the day with a saffron broth and caviar—though don’t expect that on your menu, as dishes change every three months with the seasons.
Local ingredients like the Tokyo-made mozzarella are all across the menu, not only for their delicious, fresh tastes, but also to keep a low carbon footprint. The Kimpton Shinjuku team works hard to keep both sustainability and creativity at the center of its food, and so has no buffet at breakfast (to prevent food waste), uses seasonal and local ingredients and offers appropriate portion sizes for its meals, leaving you satisfied but not overwhelmed.
Diversity and Personality
The same goes for the first-floor café and rooftop bar, 86. The latter has a distinct atmosphere to the restaurant below, recreating a speakeasy scene with retro lighting and a vast array of drinks. The bar is a nod to the Prohibition Era, back when the term “86” was used to ferry customers out of the back door when police were on their way. The bar gives off a secret and intimate vibe, with only a few seats indoors and a few on the terrace.
Kimpton Shinjuku Tokyo guests often take advantage of that close proximity, and may even challenge the bartenders to go off-menu and put together a drink based on their mood and tastes. This is something you can do at the restaurants if you have a dietary restriction or just a serious craving. It’s a testament to the level of commitment and dedication the Kimpton Shinjuku Tokyo staff have for giving each guest the best experience.
All in all, as a part of this “ridiculously personal” service, there is a sense of diversity and warmth throughout the hotel. The entire staff spans 15 different nationalities, each bringing their own different perspectives and creativity to the scene. Your complimentary morning coffee is brewed just the way you like it by a trained barista. Your dog, cat, or even owl can join you for a relaxed evening by the bar… But as the General Manager Maxime Hotelier so fittingly puts it, “Nothing happens without people.”