While China tries to contain this worrying coronavirus, July will bring the 2020 Summer Olympics to a hopefully unaffected Tokyo…and we couldn’t be more thrilled for a zeitgeist defining visit.
Alas, we’ve often lamented the lack of truly worthy boutique hotels in the Japanese capital. But an intimate, buzz-generating new property will open this month, one that seeks to attract a more discriminating contemporary traveler (we like to count ourselves amongst that group). Indeed, the K5—which sounds a bit “intelligence agency” if we’re being honest—is a 20 room stunner, and a notable element in the revitalization of the Kabuto-cho district. It is also the latest member of Design Hotels.
In a four story edifice that dates to the 1920s (and was once a bank), inside, Swedish designers Claesson Koivisto Rune treated the original features with appropriate reverence, leaving intact the elements of cedar wood and Japanese stucco. But original concrete floors have been updated using similar materials. And following the guiding principal of “aimai,” spaces have been given amorphous beginnings and endings, with boundaries being left somewhat ambiguous—which, by the way, doesn’t mean the bar will be anywhere your bed…but the reception desk does double as a coffee shop.
Rooms, considering it’s Tokyo, are generously proportioned…enough to fit large central columns dressed in indigo fabrics. The designers have installed their own furnishings—including custom washi paper lamps—for stylistic parity, along with items by Emeco and Maruni. Bathrooms feature wood benches, cedar ceilings, and bright white tiling. Playing to the trend, each has a turntable with a smartly curated selection of vinyl.
A restaurant, the intriguingly monikered Caveman (a spinoff of Kabi), serves contemporary Japanese cuisine amidst concrete walls and parquet flooring, while Ao is for cocktail aficionados. Downstairs is B, actually the first Brooklyn Brewery taproom outside of New York (ah, globalization).
Most strikingly, colored glass at the back of the hotel reflects automobile headlights into the corridors, creating a kaleidoscopic effect. The dazzle, of course, is included in the room rate.