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Friday, November 21, 2014

FALL CIRCLE PACIFIC ADVENTURE: Day #18--Could the Tokyo Ritz-Carlton Club Lounge be Heaven?

A few months ago I posted on "Could 15 Craigside be Purgatory?"  Last year I effused "Craigside is Close to Heaven."  Well, I might have just found heaven in the form of the Tokyo Ritz-Carlton Club Lounge.

On check-in I was taken to the 53rd floor Club Lounge and led to a table with an incredible view and served some champagne with nuts.  Half an hour later I was shown to my 52nd floor room with a view of Tokyo Skytree, at 2080 feet the highest structure in Japan.  Only Dubai's Burj Khalifa at 2722 feet is taller.  

Check-in for the hoi polloi rich is on the 45th floor, and even though this is about as luxurious as you can get, it was Grand Central Terminal, with hordes of people.  The Club Lounge is quiet, with soft music and entirely relaxed.  The Park Hyatt in Tokyo (left) is similar, but without that heavenly lounge.  The Sheraton D-Cube City (right), my stay a few days ago, does have this special floor, and is very similar to this Ritz-Carlton.

I then had a sunset drink in the Club Lounge, and as it is obscure, a second shot showing Mount Fuji:

I asked Club Manager Desiree what was the best place for dinner within close walking distance.  She sent me to Roppongi Robataya:

I thought, gee, this looks familiar, and it turns out that there is a competitor, Inakaya, which I frequented when I stayed at the Akasaka Prince (designed by Kenjo Tange, and is now being slowly  deconstructed)  nearly thirty years ago.  Kaoru Watanabe said he was a manager there, and now has his own Robataya:

The meal began with a fine assortment of sashimi, with taruzake and Sapporo beer:

Then asparagus and mushrooms:

Next was beef:

Followed by grilled musubi (teriyaki and ume flavored) and yellowtail collar:

Very satisfying, with splashes of Japanese theater, as the staff yelled out comments when things are ordered, when customers came and went, and for reasons I don't understand.  Kaoru saw me out when I left:

On my walk back I was astonished at the layout around the hotel.  Seven years ago a $3 billion complex. Tokyo Midtown, was built in Akasaka/Roppongi, about a half mile from Roppongi Hills, kind of like Seoul's D-Cube City, and has the tallest building in Tokyo, with the Ritz-Carlton occupying the top, 45th-53rd floors.  The grounds around my hotel were all blue lights:

I then went back to the Ritz-Carlton Club Lounge for their Evening Hors d'oeuvres, followed by two hours of sweets and cordials.  I thought I had not gained that much weight on the Crystal Symphony, but I'm afraid I'm losing that battle in Japan. I might add that the Club lounge begins serving alcoholic drinks from breakfast.  So down I came and had this incredible Japanese breakfast, with champagne:

Again, it's hard to see, but here is Mount Fuji in the background:

Finally, Desiree came by to wish me goodbye:

If there is a heaven, I now know you can also enjoy sunsets and a snow-capped  view of Mount Fuji.  And who says you can't return from Heaven?

I'm next on to the Tokyo Westin, then a one week Shinkansen journey around Japan to catch the Fall colors.  My timing is near perfection, as the peak on Honshu and Kyushu should be here this coming week.

Among the coming highlights will be dinner at Hajime (it had 3 Michelin stars a couple of years ago, but just noticed it lost a star) in Osaka, the Nagasaki Peace Park in the Fall, and the Ocean Resort in Miyazaki.  I'm being somewhat sarcastic about that Sheraton because I've now already been there twice and this spacious complex has close to nobody staying there.  But there is an onset and excellent bio-park.  On the way back I'll stop by Matsumoto Castle and say hi to Pearl's Gold Koi.

Well, hate to shock you, but the Dow Jones Industrial Average, again, broke an all-time high, up 91 to 17,810.  Why?  Something to do with better news from China and Europe.


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