The Luxe List 2012, Japan: Palace Hotel, Tokyo

Since 1937, the site on which Tokyo’s newest five-star property stands has served as the address for the imperial forestry office, for the Hotel Teito, and, until its demolition in 2009, for the iconic Palace Hotel. But while the 23-story building occupied by the resurrected Palace Hotel is brand new, one crucial feature remains the same: unblocked views of Tokyo’s Imperial Palace gardens. In a city short on green space, this is a rare asset indeed. By no means, however, is it the only thing drawing guests here.

With a moat-side location in the Marunouchi area, the hotel manages to be both glitzy and steadfastly elegant, with Japanese touches in the 290 neutral-toned rooms (most of which come with balconies) ranging from high-thread-count Imabari bed linens to Maruyama Nori teas. If you have time for just one indulgence, book the signature vitalizing massage treatment at the minimalist Evian spa, or dine in style at Sushi Kanesaka or the crown: both restaurants are helmed by Michelin-starred chefs.

1-1-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku; 81-3/3211-5211; doubles from US$625.

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