From Turin to Tokyo, this month’s hottest hotels
BACKSTORY: Skirted by a tranquil botanical garden, this 17-acre resort, outside the frenzied heart of Tokyo, was given its name (which means “villa on a mountain of camellias”) by former prime minister Prince Aritomo Yamagata, who purchased the land in 1878 and developed its stunningly gorgeous grounds.
BEST PLACE TO HANG OUT: The rooftop Serenity Garden, a 16,000-square-foot natural retreat unveiled last year by Fujita Kanko, the Japanese hospitality company that first developed the hotel in 1992. (It was a Four Seasons franchise until recently.) Best enjoyed at sunset with a glass of bubbly
ROOM WITH A VIEW: Soaking up the view takes on a whole new meaning in the aptly named View Bath Suite, which contains a massive, cauldron-shaped Jacuzzi tub perched in front of floor-to-ceiling windows that frame the grounds’ Japanese pines, cherry blossoms and more than 1,000 camellia trees.
AMAZING AMENITY: Guests here are invited to time-travel to the days of the samurai by indulging in a tranquil, traditional Japanese tea ceremony, in which rich green tea is whisked to a froth by a skilled tea master and served atop straw tatami mats, as has been the custom for more than a millennium in Japan.
HOT PLATE: The multi-course “Fujiyama” menu at the garden-set Mokushundo restaurant combines various elements of Japanese cuisine, including housemade tofu, tempura shrimp, Edo-style fatty tuna sushi and a showstopping Japanese barbecue (sirloin, prawns and other delicacies) sizzled on hot lava rocks from Mount Fuji.