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When one thinks about shopping in Tokyo, the Ginza springs immediately to mind. Envision a potpourri of delicacies offered in small shops and fine department stores; from the finest kimonos to exquisitely designed cakes and pastries, to the ultimate in high fashion, plus fine shoes, bags, and darling accessories. To make this shopping experience even more pleasant, Tokyo closes the Ginza to traffic on weekends, and places tables and chairs right on the street, a peaceful respite for a visiting shopper, and a great spot to enjoy the whimsical street entertainers wandering by.

Tucked in a corner of the mighty Ginza, a traveler in-the-know can find a perfectly situated home away from home, an elegant respite from the busy streets and the world outside, the Seiyo Ginza Hotel. The Seiyo Ginza is a boutique hotel, featuring a mere 77 rooms, but its claim to fame is its unique staff of 24 butlers, plus 24 hour butler service, where your own personal butler soothes your soul and smooths your sheets, just as you like it. In Japan, this is the first (and only) hotel that assigns butlers to all guest rooms.

The first job of each butler is to collect information about each guest, such as whether they are right-or-left-handed, whether they smoke, how many towels they might need, from which side they get into bed, and their likes and dislikes about food. Since individual guest preferences are stored permanently in the hotel computer, guests feel the rooms being turned increasingly into their favorite (personal) space every time they return to the hotel. For this weary traveler, a lap-top computer was successfully connected, laundry was requested and returned neatly ironed the next day, wrapped of course, and maps and directions were accurately given. In addition, the hotel encourages you to take the phone number and call if you get lost, and someone will be sent to rescue you.

Upon my arrival at the Seiyo Ginza, it was clear that both the elegantly attired car-hop, and the doorman were expecting me, as they both already knew my name. No forbidding, impersonal desk at this hotel-instead two classic wood-carved desks sit in a small alcove off the main lobby, where an English speaking receptionist makes you feel instantly welcome. / Issue 50 - September 2018
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