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Tokyo's Famous Okura Hotel Reopens Its Doors Following $1 Billion Makeover

Tokyo's iconic Okura hotel has reopened and, according to Bloomberg, you'd not be blamed for believing you stepped out of a time machine if you walk through its doors.

The famous lobby that accommodated the likes of John Lennon and Steve Jobs was demolished dour years ago, much to the disappointment of those in the know. But it's back and looking to shock new patrons with a blast from the past.

While the location was shut down, craftsmen recreated the space, sparing no detail as they remodeled.

The renovation cost a whopping 110 billion yen ($1 billion) and, of course, it was well worth the spending and the trouble.

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via bloomberg.com

Two new buildings have been constructed, one with 18 floors. On the outside, there's hardly a hint of the hotel's previous charm and picking out the glass structures from the city's growing conglomeration of skyscrapers is no simple task. The interior, though, is eerily reminiscent of the old Okura, albeit now having modern rooms, event locations and restaurants.

“It was one of those rare experiences that transported you to another time, from the quality of lighting to that slightly musty, humid, cigarette-infused scent that was always hanging in the lobby,” Tyler Brûlé, the editor-in-chief of Monocle. “No matter how busy the lobby was, there was this hushed quality.”

“We focused most of our effort on the lobby,” hotel general manager Shinji Umehara explained via Bloomberg.

Umehara, now 60, started as a bellboy in 1983. “There were many sleepless nights," he added.

An elevator is hidden in the steps for a wheelchair lift and sprinklers have been placed in the ceiling’s design in order for the hotel to remain compliant with building codes.

bloomberg.com

The Okura first opened up in 1962, right before the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. It's now set to reopen just in time for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Umehara says it will be fully occupied by the Internation Olympic Committee for the games next year.

The hotel's Heritage wing offers a cultural Japanese setting complete with bamboo forests and oak-floored guest rooms. Heritage rooms start around $930 and the granite bathrooms come with Villeroy and Boch sinks, Bamford and Three toiletries, and a $400 Dyson Supersonic hair dryer.

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