I am definitely not edgy enough for Tokyo’s Trunk Hotel, a design-led boutique bolthole-cum-social spot in the subculture capital of Shibuya, but I loved it all the same. I came here for lunch on a local recommendation and was immediately taken with the space. Consisting of two discrete, four-storey structures in a proliferation of natural materials conceived by Mount Fuji Architects Studio, this laidback hotel offers a zen respite from the bustle of colourful manga cafés, Izakaya gastropubs and karaoke venues just beyond.
As I walked into the welcoming communal spaces and dining areas, Trunk struck me as being like a cool LA friend’s house, with a clientele of tastemakers from the worlds of fashion, design and technology adding to the ultra-hip vibe. I arrived early for lunch, so kicked back in the lounge to indulge in a spot of people-watching. The street fashion and overall diversity in the lobby space were completely fascinating; even if you just come for a drink, I highly recommend grabbing a spot on one of the leather-lined sofas and taking it all in.
It’s also well worth staying on for lunch or dinner, as the food is the real standout at Trunk. There are two restaurants, both of which I sampled during my brief visit. Traditional Shibuya soul food is the star of the show at Trunk Kushi, where local restaurateur Yuji Tani oversees the local speciality of grilled meat skewers, but it was Trunk Kitchen that won my heart. First, the setting overlooking the hotel’s serene terrace is stunning; second, its fusion menu really hits the spot. After a week of sushi and heavy tempura, the simply grilled fish with Edo vegetables, and a perfectly seared Wagyu burger – washed down with the hotel’s own-brand beer produced by Tokyo’s venerable Ishikawa Brewery – were exactly what I was craving.
I also took a quick tour of the hotel – from its modernist chapel to some of its 15 spacious rooms and suites. The sleek Terrace Suite (from about £4,800) with its sprawling patio is particularly appealing, but all the rooms, decked out in a neutral palette with plenty of glass and dark wood, offer a slice of Japanese serenity. This low-key alternative to the city’s abundant skyscraper hotels is without a doubt where I will be staying on my next trip to Tokyo.