By Rosemary McClure
10:30 AM EST, December 13, 2012
The five-star view will remain the same, but lots of other changes are planned for Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo when it officially changes its name Jan. 1. The hotel has operated as the Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Chinzanso for the last 20 years.
Fujita Kanko, the property's owner, is investing $90 million to renovate Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo, which is known for its 16-acre Japanese botanical garden. Chinzanso means “villa on a mountain of camellias.” Among the upgrades are a new rooftop, meeting and event space, and Cafe Foresta, an open-kitchen-style restaurant specializing in sweets.
"We possess a truly unique property, an urban resort in a lush garden setting," said Kouichi Urashima, the new general manager and a veteran hotelier. "I’m eager to welcome guests from around the world to experience the authentic Japanese culture our new name reflects."
The company is celebrating the rebranding with a Japanese touch. Besides offering various Japanese New Year rituals and entertainments, the hotel will host concerts in the garden Jan. 3, featuring Aun J, which uses Japanese classical instruments to perform contemporary music.
The hotel is also launching a series of Japanese art and cultural activities for its international guests. The newest activity is a weekly Japanese language and culture class where guests can learn simple Japanese conversation, and Japanese manners and customs in various situations, such as proper table manners and worshiping at Shinto shrines.
Other activities include the traditional Japanese tea ceremony, performed by the hotel’s tea masters, and the creation of moss ball bonsai, taught by a Japanese landscape gardener who has tended Chinzanso’s botanical garden for decades.
Double rates start at $525 a night. More info online.