The Park Hyatt Hotel is a passport to the visually enticing world of Sofia Coppola, complete with sumptuous colours, giant bathtubs and Asia’s most atmospheric bar, where conversation and cocktails await.
Lost in Translation, Sofia Coppola’s 2003 sophomore feature, is one of the most compelling explorations of loneliness, travel and human connection ever to have graced the silver screen. It stars Scarlett Johansson as philosophy graduate Charlotte, who has accompanied her photographer husband on a business trip to Tokyo, where cracks have begun to appear in their two-year marriage. Also visiting the city is Bill Murray’s Bob Harris, a Hollywood star in the throes of a midlife crisis, who is there to shoot a lucrative, if cringeworthy, commercial for Japanese whiskey brand Suntory.
The disillusioned pair first meet in the bar of the Park Hyatt Hotel, which occupies the top 14 floors of a glorious steel skyscraper designed by Kenzo Tange, located in the bustling Shinjuku district. Both the bar – the now-renowned New York Bar and Grill, situated on the building’s uppermost storey – and the hotel itself, come to play a vital supporting role in the duo’s blossoming friendship, which unfolds over the course of a week while Charlotte’s husband is away working.
Of course, it’s no coincidence that the Park Hyatt also serves as the ideal space for Coppola’s visually sumptuous brand of filmmaking. Happily for the modern traveller, it remains almost exactly the same nearly fifteen years on; its spacious interior – conjured by John Morford, the man behind some of Asia’s most iconic hotel decor – still boasts an air of timeless chic, defined by vast expanses of marble, minimalist, neutral-toned furnishings and rare, 2000-year-old Hokkaido water elm paneling.
Most of the 500-square-foot bedrooms feature a glass wall that overlooks the bright lights of Tokyo, accompanied by a ledge where, like Charlotte, you can perch to ponder your future – do this at dusk, as a hazy iridescence descends upon the city, for maximum effect. The bedding consists of crisp white Egyptian cotton, an inviting way to end a long night spent singing Roxy Music songs in a karaoke bar; while one of the key highlights remains the giant bathtubs, housed in the elegant marble and mosaic en-suites. We recommend you grab your Panama cosmetic case and switch off your mobile to avoid cumbersome carpet colour enquiries mid-soak.
Dispel your jet lag in the New York Bar, replete with atmospheric lighting and a 360-degree view of the city, including a resplendent Mount Fuji. Prop yourself up at the granite-surfaced counter and sip a whiskey or the dedicated Lost in Translation cocktail, the sake and cherry blossom infused LIT, while listening to live jazz and striking up conversations with strangers. You could also take a late-night dip in the hotel’s fabulous swimming pool, its surrounding triangular windows best enjoyed when the sky outside is a deep midnight blue. For daytime exploits, combine sightseeing with a workout on one of the gym’s many vista-facing cross trainers – just don’t get the buttons confused à la Bob or you may well take a tumble – or else head for afternoon tea in the Peak Lounge and Bar, situated in the plant-filled atrium where Bob and Charlotte say the first of their two goodbyes. In-hotel communication should consist strictly of typed messages on personalised Smythson stationery, relayed to and hand-delivered by the famously accommodating staff, and final farewells must be whispered discreetly, to keep passerbys in utmost suspense.
The Tokyo Packing List