It’s not easy to get a room at Claska — it’s got just twelve rooms, nine Western and three in traditional tatami style, and those twelve rooms are much in demand among the fashionable souls who populate Claska’s lobby scene. So it’s not out of lust for your money that we bring this fantastic hotel to your attention; it’s simply for the love of a well-made hotel.
And a well-made hotel it is — possibly the finest small hotel we have come across, and certainly one of the coolest. The Japanese culture has a way of seizing upon and then perfecting trends born elsewhere, so it is not surprising that the original Tokyo boutique hotel is possibly the definitive entry in the genre. The interior design is beyond cutting-edge, from the entryway by the English design firm Tomato to the rooms and lobby lounge by a motley crew of hip Japanese designers. Vestiges of the original New Meguro Hotel (sort of a Sixties jet-set business hotel) remain, adding an authenticity that elevates the interiors beyond mere set design. If you are a design groupie, the sort of person who knows and cares who Tomato are, or just the sort of person who appreciates the delightful absurdity of an upscale pet salon called Dogman (servicing Meguro’s pups since 2003), then this is the place for you.
Services are fairly minimal, in classic boutique style, though Claska’s lobby space is pitch-perfect, the kind of place the locals go out of their way to visit for all-day casual dining, drinks, and the occasional special event. We mean “out of their way” quite literally — thanks to its location in Meguro it’s rather less central than many of Tokyo’s other internationally known hotels. If you’re looking for that Lost in Translation experience, try the Park Hyatt in Shibuya or the Grand Hyatt at Roppongi Hills. Claska is a long taxi ride from these districts, and even the Meguro train station is not quite within easy walking distance.
But that’s the trade-off. This is simply a wonderful hotel, among our favorite city hotels in all the world, and the starting rates are low, ¥12,600 (around $120 US) for room 505, the most basic single room — though if you wish, you can pay Park Hyatt prices for rooms 401 and 402. So it’s only natural that the hotel should be booked solid for months in advance. If you manage to get a reservation, and you survive the trek to Meguro with your patience intact, we’re quite confident you won’t be disappointed.
Text Courtesy of Tablet Hotels
Claska Hotel in Tokyo, Japan