Tokyo, Japan: The Palace Hotel
Located across the street from the Imperial Palace and minutes from Tokyo’s central station, the royally-outfitted and recently-opened (2012) Palace Hotel treats the occupants of its 290 rooms and suites to stunning Imperial Palace garden and moat views. en.palacehoteltokyo.com
While the ambiance and amenities will no doubt please the discerning luxury leisure traveler, The Palace Hotel is designed with the executive traveler in mind. In its arsenal, one will find eight multi-purpose rooms, a formal boardroom seating 28 and two meeting rooms. The main ballroom has panoramic windows overlooking the Imperial Palace grounds, ensuring planners of larger business gatherings will leave a lasting impression. The business concierge staff tailors each corporate event to the client’s needs.
Food & Beverage
The Palace Hotel has 10 restaurants and bars, many with private dining suited for business dinner meetings and cocktail hours. 2-star Michelin Chef Shinji Kaneskura operates a quartet of Japanese dining venues under the Wadakura banner that serve up everything from traditional sushi, tempura, and teppanyaki to modern adaptations of Japanese and Western classics. Other lavish locales include French restaurant Crown on the 6th floor, and Amber Palace on the 5th floor serving Cantonese and Shanghainese specialties. The Royal Bar is a gentleman’s haven with top-drawer cigars and martinis. If you stay in a “Club Room,” you get access to the exclusive Club Lounge on the 19th floor, which offers amazing city views; cocktail hour with champagne, wine, and appetizers; and once a week, a mixologist whipping up artisanal cocktails.
After Hours & On Weekends
The concierge can set up many private excursions throughout the city to meet you and your clients’ needs. Of course, the Imperial Palace garden grounds and the barracks where Samurai lived is a must, and the city has a rich assortment of art museums and glamorous shopping areas such as the world-renowned Ginza. However, if you want to treat your group to something different, opt for the Robot Restaurant Show. The spectacle includes dancing girls, live music, and performers inside huge, 10-foot robots dueling with swords and spinning around just feet from your seat. shinjuku-robot.com
Six airlines (American, ANA, Delta, JAL, Singapore, and United) fly the 11-hour direct flight from LAX into Tokyo arriving at the Narita Airport which is an hour from the city. Most visitors then jump on the comfortable Narita Express train for the hour journey to Tokyo station with its hundreds of new restaurants and shops located under the heart of the city.
The Shangri-La Hotel features 200 gorgeously appointed rooms as well as the CHI Spa. New to the property, and tailored for international business travelers is “Authentically Tokyo,” a new three-night, four-day package providing use of extensive meeting rooms, facilities, lunches and dinners at their signature restaurants Piacere (Italian) and Nadamen (Japanese). Included in the package are local dining experiences outside the Hotel, excursions to Hakone’s Hot Springs, or a bullet train to Kyoto. Tokyo’s world-famous Ginza district and the vibrant restaurants of Marunouchi are a short ride from the Shangri-La Hotel, which is located in the financial heart of Japan. shangri-la.com
If you’ve never been to Hong Kong before, a good place to start when getting your bearings is to note it is divided into two: Central Hong Kong on one side of Victoria Harbour and Kowloon Hong Kong on the other. While each has its own character and personality, both boast a Shangri-La Hotel that taps into what makes each side special.
The Island Shangri-La
Named best business hotel in Hong Kong by Business Traveler for the 3rd straight year, the Island Shangri-La stands a towering 56 floors above picturesque Victoria Harbour. The lobby features the largest mural in the world stretching up all the way to the 56th floor.
There are 34 suites that provide exclusive access to the Horizon Club Lounge on the 56th floor that’s a most ideal place for a casual breakfast/business meeting or cocktails at night. Downstairs, the Island Shangri-La offers one ballroom, six
function rooms and a special function space called The Atrium. The concierge service can customize your business meetings and events, possibly integrating their new “Experience It” Program, with go-green coffee breaks and lunches featuring sustainable seafood and locally sourced cuisine.
Food & Beverage
Honored by Condé Nast Traveler as one of the best hotels in the world for dining, Island Shangri-La’s restaurants include Petrus (French cuisine), the Michelin 2-Star Summer Palace (Cantonese) and Nadamen (Japanese). Both offer private rooms for business lunches and dinners.
The Kowloon Shangri-La Hong Kong
The sister property of the Island Shangri-La is equally impressive. When entering the lobby, you are struck by the beauty of gleaming Statuario marble, glittering Viennese chandeliers, a two-story marble fountain and two large murals. With 688 elegantly appointed rooms and 42 suites offering breathtaking views of Victoria Harbour below, this property was awarded a spot on the “World Top Hotel Gold List’ from 1997-2013 and ranked 3rd among all HK hotels 2011-2013 by Condé Nast Traveler.
There are three floors of Club Level rooms with access to the Horizon Club Lounge with private check-in and late check-out privileges. While the, Horizon Club Lounge also provides an intimate complimentary breakfast and cocktail hour, don’t skip the main dining room buffet breakfast, with its expansive mix of Chinese and international breakfast delights, such as freshly prepared dim sum, custom omelettes and a fresh squeeze juice station where one can choose from 15 or more exotic fruits to blend.
Food & Beverage
Fully equipped for meetings and banquets, the space features 6,000 square feet of pillar-less space divisible into three separate function rooms with 11 additional function rooms. The Kowloon Shangri-La’s restaurants include the Michelin 2-Star Shang Palace and Japanese restaurant Nadaman.
After Hours & On Weekends
An optimal way to experience the vastness of Hong Kong is via a Gray Line Tour. On the seven-hour Deluxe Hong Kong Island tour, our guide took us through the bustling streets to such landmarks as the Man Mo Temple, scenic and steep Peak Tram and Victoria Peak, and the floating Aberdeen Fishing Village, where hundreds of fishermen and families live on their boats full time as Hong Kong boasts some of the world’s most expensive real estate and rentals. Another memorable way to see the city is Aqualuna, a 45-minute cruise around Victoria Harbour on a traditional Chinese Junk Boat, which has spectacular views of both sides of Hong Kong. Many visitors and locals line up along the water’s edge to eat, drink, and stroll as they watch the nightly Symphony of Lights 15-minute laser show. Hong Kong Park is an urban oasis, thanks to its spectacular atrium with more than 200 species of exotic colorful birds. Five minutes from the Kowloon Shangri-La’s lobby is bustling shopping destination Nathan Road, known as the place to go for a custom tailored men’s suit.
High Tea at the Peninsula
After your custom fitting, or a day of museum hopping, there’s no better way to unwind than Afternoon High Tea at the Peninsula Hong Kong. Although Hong Kong as a whole is on the vanguard of architecture, commerce and technology, the tea service gracefully preserves British Colonial traditions, from live classical music to meticulously presented tea cakes and sandwiches to a splendid array of fine artisanal teas. Weekdays are best for the experience, and please note, in keeping to Colonial etiquette there is a dress code.
American and Cathay Pacific fly 14 hour direct flights from LAX to Hong Kong