Nestled in the heart of Tokyo's esteemed financial district, Nihonbashi, the inaugural property named Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo, seamlessly blends contemporary elegance with timeless Japanese culture. Every floor and every establishment within the building holds a different experience that promises a unique time. In an exclusive interview feature with Mr. Yoshihito Kaseda, the Hotel Manager of Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo, we delve into the unparalleled allure of the hotel's visionary design and acclaimed service, acknowledged as the pinnacle of refined luxury in the city.
1. What do you love the most about your role as the Hotel Manager of Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo?
What I love the most about my role as the Hotel Manager at Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo is the profound connection I have with my team. I genuinely cherish my colleagues at Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo, who consistently exemplify exceptional kindness and hospitality.
The hospitality industry thrives on human interaction, empathy and the ability to create memorable experiences for guests. This personal touch is something that cannot be replicated by technology. Whether it's welcoming a guest by name as soon as they step in the entrance, having the breakfast staff already know how you like your coffee, or the Spa team providing a small bottle of massage oil for your muscle tension after a treatment, it's these small yet thoughtful gestures that leave a lasting impression on our guests.
It's not just about meeting guests' needs; it's about anticipating and exceeding them, creating an atmosphere where guests feel not only welcomed but truly cared for. This level of personalisation and warmth is what sets Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo, apart, and it's what makes each day in my role as Hotel Manager a source of immense pride and satisfaction.
2. Can you share with us your personal favourite spots to visit in the city?
Tokyo is an incredibly vibrant city, making it challenging to pick just one favourite spot. However, I have a special affinity for the Nihonbashi area. Nihonbashi has a rich history as an old merchant city during the Edo era (1603 - 1876), boasting a massive fish market that provided food and goods to countless people. Even today, you can discover small historical shops scattered throughout the area, preserving traditional Japanese culture. These shops include Japanese craft paper stores, seaweed shops, bonito shops, and kimono drapery stores. Our hotel is situated in Muromachi, a name that originated when numerous storehouses ("Muro") for wholesale shops were present here. I love strolling around these shops, immersing myself in the imagination of what life was like during the Edo era. Also, despite its proximity to Tokyo Station, Ginza, and Asakusa, Nihonbashi offers a serene atmosphere at night, perfect for a peaceful night's rest.
3. Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo has been awarded a Five-Star rating in the Forbes Travel Guide 2023. What planning or strategies have you implemented to uphold the standards of the property?
Maintaining our 5-star rating from Forbes Travel Guide at Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo represents a remarkable achievement and a testament to our team's unwavering dedication. We take immense pride in being the sole hotel in Japan to have received this prestigious award for nine consecutive years. Despite the formidable challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, we have successfully retained our exceptional hotel staff, a team deeply committed to ensuring our guests' delight. Our success is rooted in our steadfast commitment to never become complacent and to consistently deliver exceptional service. We recognise that upholding our property's high standards is a continuous effort, and we are resolute in our determination to not only meet but exceed guest expectations every single day.
Another influential factor in our pursuit of excellence has been our cultural exchange programme. We have had the privilege of hosting cultural exchange ambassadors from various overseas sister properties within the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, all of which have also received Forbes 5-star recognition. This programme has afforded us invaluable insights and opportunities to glean from the best practices implemented in other properties.
4. What would you recommend to a first-time guest at Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo?
Imagine beginning your day with a serene moment of pure relaxation, immersed in a soothing soak in the Heat and Water experience in the Spa at Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo, all while witnessing the breathtaking sunrise. After this rejuvenating experience, treat yourself to a delightful breakfast at K'shiki, where, weather permitting, you can savour the stunning view of Mount Fuji, setting the perfect tone for the day ahead.
As you venture out to explore the vibrant city, take a leisurely break and relish a cup of afternoon tea in the tranquil ambiance of the Oriental Lounge, where tranquility harmoniously merges with modern luxury. Embracing our Oriental heritage, you might also consider savouring an exquisite meal at the Cantonese dining restaurant, Sense. Alternatively, for a unique culinary adventure, indulge in the world's fourth-ranked pizza at The Pizza Bar on 38th or delight in the authenticity of Edomae sushi at Sushi Shin.
To conclude your evening on a high note, make your way to the Mandarin Bar, an ideal spot to unwind while gazing at the beautiful night view of the Tokyo Skytree, all accompanied by enchanting live music. It's the perfect setting for a nightcap and reflection on the day's adventures.
"We firmly believe that the essence of these gestures lies not in their monetary value but in the time, effort and genuine thoughtfulness invested in making our guests smile."
-Mr Yoshihito Kaseda, Hotel Manager of Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo
5. How would you describe a stay at the Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo?
A stay at the Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo is a journey into a world of tranquillity and elegance, where every moment is infused with the subtle and attentive essence of Japanese omotenashi service. Nestled in the bustling heart of Tokyo, our aim is to provide guests with an experience that not only excites but also envelops them in a sense of familiarity and relaxation, like returning to a cherished home away from home.
At Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo, we take pride in mastering the art of "good distance" service. It's a delicate balance where we are attentive enough to meet your every need yet respectful of your personal space. This ensures that you feel comfortable and well-cared for throughout your stay without ever feeling overwhelmed.
We understand that each guest is unique, and we strive to create a tailored experience that suits your individual preferences. Your time with us is not just a stay; it's a harmonious blend of excitement, comfort and genuine connection, leaving you with cherished memories of a remarkable Tokyo experience.
6. What makes Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo unique from other hotels in the city?
Numerous guests have showered us with praise, recognising our service as a genuine 5-star experience, and I often find myself contemplating what truly distinguishes us. While I'd be tempted to keep our secret sauce hidden, there's one pivotal element that sets us apart: our culture of empowerment. At Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo, we trust and empower our teams, giving them the freedom to create delightful moments for our guests in their own unique ways. Whether it's housekeeping crafting origami cranes to accompany freshly folded laundry, gourmet shop colleagues pairing chocolates with coffee for returning guests or adding hand-drawn Mount Fuji tags to guests' luggage, we wholeheartedly encourage our team to create their own "MO(Mandarin Oriental)-Wow" moments.
We firmly believe that the essence of these gestures lies not in their monetary value but in the time, effort and genuine thoughtfulness invested in making our guests smile.
This culture of empowerment nurtures a sense of personal responsibility and innovation among our team, resulting in an enriched guest experience that consistently exceeds expectations. As our guiding principle states, "WE UNDERSTAND THAT YOU ARE UNIQUE," we shape your stay by curating personal experiences and allowing our team members' personalities to shine through in their interactions with you.
All imagery courtesy of Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo.