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The New Shangri-La Tokyo

The Asian hotel group opens in the Japanese capital.

The last thing Tokyo needs is another big-name skyscraper hotel. So we were skeptical when we heard that Shangri-La—the Chinese company best known for its mammoth Asian properties—had opened a spot in a just-built 37-story tower in the city’s Marunouchi district. As it turns out, this is a whole new Shangri-La, with only 202 rooms in the tower’s top 11 floors. (Smaller scale is the rule for the company of late: A 119-room Vancouver outpost opened in January, and similar ones are planned for Paris, Vienna, and London.) There’s still the oh-so opulent decor—Shangri-La loves a chandelier—but there’s also a thoughtful 2,000-plus-piece art collection inspired by the ninth-century Tang dynasty writings of Chinese poet Bai Juyi. As further nods to Shangri-La’s heritage, elements of the CHI spa’s decor—the embroidered tapestries and metal foot basins, for example—come from the Himalayas, and the Pearl Brightening body glow treatment, which is exclusive to the property, was inspired by the traditional Chinese use of pearls to beautify the skin. As for the food, the hotel took a turn from Asia to Europe for its main restaurant, Piacere, plucking 29-year-old Paolo Pelosi straight from Tuscany. Squid-ink tagliolini with a view of the Imperial Palace, anyone? From $715. At 183 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku; 81-3/6739-7888; shangri-la.com.