Le Jardin

Le Jardin

This classy hotel bar suits travelers and locals alike


Originally published on metropolis.co.jp on October 2009

Photos Courtesy of the Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Chinzan-so

Photos Courtesy of the Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Chinzan-so

What a difference a few years make. Until recently, the Four Seasons in Chinzan-so was one of the few hotels of its kind in Tokyo. Classic Japanese hospitality backed by a leading international service brand was a rarity in a city dominated by the likes of the Okura and the New Otani. But since the debut of the Grand Hyatt in Roppongi Hills in 2003, Tokyo has been inundated with big-name competitors from overseas: the Conrad, the Peninsula, the Mandarin and the Shangri-la have all muscled their way onto the scene.

Which is why it’s so impressive that the Four Seasons—the city’s first overseas luxury hotel and the brand’s first property in Asia—has managed to retain its appeal. Nestled within 17 acres of lush Japanese-style garden roughly between Ikebukuro and Kagurazaka, the hotel feels like a bucolic hideaway despite its central-Tokyo location.

Lobby lounge Le Jardin showcases all these strengths beautifully. Although situated inside an upscale hotel, the space feels anything but sober—think soft creams, blond wood furnishings and lush flower displays. The welcoming vibe is enhanced by high ceilings and an open-air layout just off the colonnaded reception area. Large windows afford ample views of the Chinzan-so grounds (home to a banquet hall that continues to serve as one of Tokyo’s leading wedding venues), while the outdoor patio provides a literal breath of fresh air. Sitting at a table on the al-fresco terrace is like lounging around the grounds of a leafy temple—one that happens to serve delectable food and cocktails.

Le Jardin is a popular venue for weekend/holiday brunch and its traditionally styled afternoon tea service, but a recent weekend visit revealed its attractions as a nightspot. On Fridays, the “Chocolate and Jazz” promotion offers an all-you-can-eat sweets buffet with everything from made-to-order crêpes to cake to tiramisu (¥2,800). During our visit, a husky-voiced pianist eased his way through a set of jazz and R&B standards for a crowd that included a party of young Japanese women, couples on dates, and a smattering of hotel guests.


The drinks menu is about what you’d expect of a hotel bar—all the basic beers (~¥1,200) and cocktails (~¥1,500) are on offer, plus a hefty selection of scotches and whiskies (~¥1,500). A menu of original cocktails features drinks made with fresh fruits, including the Frozen Pineapple Vodka Daiquiri and Flamey Bloody Mary (all ¥1,700). If you have in mind your own original concoction, the bartenders are willing to take requests. Surprisingly for such a high-class lounge, there is no table (or music) charge.

As Kanto welcomes autumn and foliage-viewing spots outside the city get thronged with visitors, Tokyoites can enjoy their own mini-getaway by pulling up a seat at Le Jardin.