The Journal The Authority on Global Business in Japan


Authentic Personal Style

Andaz Tokyo’s unscripted approach to five-star service

Once upon a time, a luxury lifestyle hotel opened in the land of the rising sun, in the historic “Tiger Gate” district facing the old Edo castle. It was a place where endless cityscapes mixed with the fragrances and flavors of the season, where kings and artists would share a tipple on broad walnut tables.

Andaz Tavern / 51st floor

Andaz Tavern / 51st floor

Yes, the Andaz Tokyo Toranomon Hills is a place of legend, where storytelling is an essential part of the Hyatt hotel’s branding. The Andaz Tokyo opened in June 2014 to be what General Manager Arnaud de Saint-Exupéry saw as an addition to the existing Tokyo hospitality market—a sophisticated yet relaxed service experience with “personal style.”

This concept is multifaceted, alluding to the Andaz mission to cater to each guest’s personal style as well as allowing the personality of Andaz hosts—in other realms known as staff—to shine through. An unscripted approach is a key element of the concept, and one that certainly breaks the mold of the traditional Japanese service standard.

“We encourage Andaz hosts to avoid behaving the same,” de Saint-Exupéry explained.

Hosts are trained as concierges to tell the stories behind the history of Toranomon, and are encouraged to explain Japanese cultural practices to guests. They also have a few options for their uniforms, which is called Andaz fashion. “Our hosts have choices with fewer restrictions, which gives them confidence to express themselves.”

De Saint-Exupéry commented on how everyone seems to really enjoy this freedom, and it’s often difficult for them to imagine returning to traditional service roles. “It’s not a revolution, but an evolution. I like to think we are going back to the core of hospitality,” he said.

All of these personal touches reflect another core component of the brand’s message: arrive a visitor, depart a local. The Andaz style emphasizes indigenous culture blended with personal engagement, with a focus on the four seasons.

For the winter solstice, for example, an associate brought up the Japanese tradition of soaking in a yuzu-infused bath to ward off colds and bring good fortune. De Saint-Exupéry liked the idea, and for one week the hotel offered yuzu in all guestrooms, along with a card explaining the winter practice.

The first Andaz hotel debuted in London in 2007. De Saint-Exupéry, who has been with Hyatt for nearly 14 years, was part of the opening team that helped define the brand. “The Andaz concept evolved in response to demand. Guests wanted not just luxury, but authentic interaction.”

He recalls how that first property, converted from another existing hotel brand, was transformed when all barriers—such as front desks—were removed. Associates’ behavior changed when they were open to move about with guests or sit down with them in the lounge (former lobby) to point out their favorite café on a map.

The barrier-free concept is yet another cornerstone of the 12 global Andaz hotels today.

So far, the Tokyo clientele has been evenly split between domestic and international guests.

For the Japanese, their first reaction is mostly surprise. “But they quickly come to appreciate the relaxed sophistication and keep coming back.” Guests from abroad appreciate the Japanese design elements and enjoy mingling with others—hosts and guests alike.

In the coming years, he hopes to expand the hotel’s offering geared to “the creative class,” a key audience that perfectly fits the Andaz branding.

“We are currently in the climbing phase,” de Saint-Exupéry reflected. “We are not yet at the cruising stage, but we’ll continue living the concept and refining our unscripted philosophy. We must continue to balance the indigenous aspects, to be truly Andaz, truly Tokyo, truly Japan.”

Tailor-Made Treatments
AO Spa’s treatments include custom blends for each guest. Therapists connect with clients through a welcoming ritual using freshly muddled herbs, to create a personal “recipe” based on individual preferences—favorite seasons, music style and treatment goals. Outside guests are welcome at the spa.

Overlooking the spectacular Imperial Palace grounds and featuring extensive bath and water experiences, AO Spa is designed with fluidity in mind, restoring flow and optimizing personal wellness amidst the chaos of everyday life.

Enjoy our 20-metre swimming pool, carbonated bath, floating jet bath, and a full range of advanced fitness training machines.

Rooftop Studio / 52nd floor

Rooftop Studio / 52nd floor

Unique Event Venues
Andaz Tokyo Toranomon Hills offers 8,200 square feet of distinctive social spaces, creating environments that encourage interaction.

Six Andaz Studios are located on the 51st floor and are fitted for various types of events or meetings. The Tokyo Studio and Chef’s Studio are also used to cater for the dining requirements of several meetings and events.

The Rooftop Studio on the 52nd floor features a theatrical show kitchen and open-air terrace, bringing alfresco dining and entertainment to new heights in the city. The top floor also features a stand-alone chapel, the highest in Tokyo, offering breathtaking views perfect for weddings.

Local Flavor
The hotel has assembled an array of restaurants and bars to showcase Japan’s vibrancy and deliver unforgettable dining experiences.

In a dramatic setting on the 51st floor is the main dining venue, Andaz Tavern, with 16-foot floor-to-ceiling windows and striking wood sculptures to create an energetic vibe. The menu features refined European provincial cuisine prepared with seasonal Japanese ingredients.

Crowning the hotel is the Rooftop Bar, with a design re-envisioned from a traditional Japanese teahouse. The space includes an open-air terrace overlooking Tokyo Bay. Andaz flavor can also be enjoyed on the street level with BeBu, a café and bar serving signature burgers, grill items, small tapas and original cocktails. The happy hour runs from 5 to 8pm on weekdays.