Staycation at The Tokyo EDITION, Toranomon

January 13, 2021

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I had the pleasure of staying at the Tokyo EDITION, Toranomon back in November of 2020 with my boyfriend. This was about a couple of months after the hotel opened in September. Even just writing this, I'm reminded of the fresh smell of beautiful wood that greeted us when we first stepped into the forested lobby located on the 31st floor of the Kamiyacho Trust Tower. As it is one of the most exciting new hotel properties anticipated to open last year, I had so much expectation for it. Notably, it is hoped to capture the perfect balance of "east meets west." And as someone who grew up in New York City, I could not have imagined a more perfect resemblance of this idea in this particular EDITION hotel, part of the Marriot International group. By now, if you search up this hotel, you'll be able to find every fact that you need to know about it, so I will continue sharing my stay and thoughts instead.

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Upon arrival, we were quickly greeted and checked in (after all of the safety measure requirements of course, due to Covid). Although we were a bit early, our room had already been prepared for us, so it was nice to quickly stop by and leave our things before heading to a couple's massage at the The Spa at The Tokyo EDITION, Toranomon. While I have not had too many luxurious hotel spa treatments before, I could still sense that this one would be extremely self-rewarding thanks to all of the pre-spa services that were offered to us; from a quick consultation to make sure what was best for our massages, the welcoming drinks, and even a quick run-through of our private spa room to make sure that we found everything at ease. With all of the working from home as of late, it definitely made the 90-min massages that we got even more satisfying than we could hope for. Something that I did not get to photograph from the couple spa suite was their sauna and steam room, which was something I found to be super luxurious and thoughtful as I have not seen that from any other hotel's massage services.

After a quick refresher, we headed back to our room and were greeted with a sunset view of the Tokyo Tower right outside our window, just about to light up for the evening. We sat cozily on the couch and admired the skyline view outside our massive windows, and just couldn't help but feel a sense of calmness and relaxation even though we were somewhere in the center of one of the busiest cities in the world. (If you followed along with my stories on Instagram, you'd probably remember that my boyfriend actually fell asleep shortly after on this couch because the faux fur throw just made this spot that much comfier for a quick pre-dinner nap).

That night, we were treated to a lovely dinner at The Blue Room (an all-day restaurant that's located behind the Lobby Bar, also with a sweeping view of the Tokyo skyline and even higher glass windows for that up-close and personal seat next to the infamous Tokyo Tower. While the food was truly one of the best western meals I've had in a long time, what made our dinner more special was the knowledgeable sommelier and restaurant service that you usually don't expect to see and get in most hotel dining areas. Overall, I highly recommend the restaurant if you happen to be looking for a taste of New York's fine dining in Tokyo.

Though we ended the night quite early (due to the responsible hotel staff for following city-wide regulations of closing up before 10 pm), we weren't too worried even if we stayed up a little longer for another drink in our room as the hotel's generous check-out time of 12 pm by default meant that we could take our time in the morning and have some breakfast too.

Sticking to the "east meets west" theme, we decided to order some 'Crispy Pork Bacon' (if you're from out of Japan, you'll definitely understand how difficult this is to come by in Tokyo) and a glorious 'Avocado Toast' (also something that you don't get often here either). But if you're in the mood for something more traditional, then the hotel has that covered too.

A quick shower after devouring my breakfast to take advantage of the hotel's special Le Labo "black tea" signature scent that's offered throughout the entire hotel. I spent most of my morning after that in the hotel's La Bottega robe, which I was so close to purchasing one for myself because it is one of the best robes I've ever tried on. One of the things that truly made this hotel one of my favorites, out of all the ones I've experienced, is the design of the rooms. So airy, spacious, and a really delicate mix of Japanese elements but still quite modern. I later found out that the interior was all designed by Kengo Kuma (the same designer of the Tokyo Olympic Stadium) and it all made sense.

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Wearing: Joseph ribbed knit sweater, Toteme jeans, Common Project sneakers and Chanel WOC
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It all happened so fast and this stay seems to pass by so effortlessly, that the next thing we knew, it was time to check-out. Before leaving, we enjoyed a brief moment in the green lobby. Unlike some of the more upscale, and high-end hotels that I've been to in Tokyo, The Tokyo EDITION, Toranomon doesn't feel pretentious or stuffy at all. I felt at ease in casual everyday wear, as you can see above. Something like a cozy neutral knits, some classic denim, and clean sneakers will do. I'm such a big fan of beautiful spaces that you can be comfortable and yourself in because, at the end of the day, I think luxury is all about the comfort of feeling like you're home. For my partner and I, our stay here totally satisfy a little bit of our cravings to be back in New York City again. But when I'm back in Tokyo, you can bet that I'll be back here for a night or two again, for sure.


Press/Media Stay. All opinions are my own.

Camera Gear Used: Nikon D600 (body only) with 50mm F1/4 and 24-70mm F3.5 lens.
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Winter Whites +Seasonal Sales Picks

November 25, 2020

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Winter white outfit ideas, styling white wide leg trousers, simple outfit ideas with white blazer, wide leg trousers and sneakers / FOREVERVANNY by Van LeWinter white outfit ideas, styling white wide leg trousers, simple outfit ideas with white blazer, wide leg trousers and sneakers / FOREVERVANNY by Van Le
Winter white outfit ideas, styling white wide leg trousers, simple outfit ideas with white blazer, wide leg trousers and sneakers / FOREVERVANNY by Van Le
When the temperature drops, I automatically gravitate towards either monochromatic black or white outfits. An all-black look is often praised but, a winter white outfit is 50/50. Maybe it's because I have to add on so many layers that it just makes the most sense to put everything in the same shade together. For this winter whites outfit, I went for a mix and match suiting sets that seamlessly go together thanks to their natural ivory color. For a more casual look, a shacket (shirt-jacket) would be super cute too.

I don't know about you, but something about wide-leg pants gives me that mature look that grows more fitting for my age. Of course, thanks to my petite frame, I have to tailor all of the full-length wide-leg pants that I purchase. It's why it's even more important for me to invest in pairs that are composed of quality materials such as wool or silk-blend. As for my blazer, although an oversized look is my go-to, I find that one with a good lining looks more polished and will make a great investment piece as well. With that said, wide-leg pants and blazers are at the top of my list for pieces to look out for this season of sales.

To save you guys the trouble, I went ahead and curated some selections from this amazing Shopbop Sale taking place from today, November 26th. I hope you'll be able to find some pieces to add to your wardrobe this season and embrace winter whites outfits (even if they may be a bit of a fashion taboo). Use code SHOP20 for 20% off your order of $200+.


Blazers

Knitwear

Pants/Trousers

Accessories

Blazer: & Other Stories (similar)
Top: Uniqlo
Wide-leg Pants: United Arrows JP
Shoes: Common Projects
Bag: Chanel WOC

Photo by Shun S.
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A Night in Ine No Funaya, Kyoto, Japan

November 15, 2020

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It was in 2017 that I visited this quaint little fishing village duped as the "Venice of Japan." Given my personal bias for hidden gems slash off the beaten path kind of travels; Ine No Funaya remains one of my favorites quiet places in all of Japan, thus far. I've written quite extensively about this town in a previous post so, I won't bore you too much with the same details again.

This seaside fishing village lies North of Kyoto, roughly 3 hours away from the actual city center. Within its name, 'Funaya' is what the boathouses in this seaside fishing village is made up of. They are a traditional type of wooden boat houses that's special due to their architecture featuring two floors, with the first floor being a docking for the boats and the second floor as a living quarter. Upon talking to some more locals during this trip, we learned that the original intended usage of the second floor of the 'Funaya' was actually for storage and the living space of a fisherman family would be in a separate building close by. You can differentiate the usage of the boathouse by looking at the orientation of the roof. If you look closely, in all of the photos you'll notice that all of the roofs of the boathouses that face the waterline have the roof open up to the front. Behind the boathouses, all other homes have roofs that turn to the side. It's learning about how a collective group of people meticulously commit to these small details that always blows my mind when it comes to Japan. To be quite honest, I don't really remember much of my first visit here asides from the fact that getting there was such a struggle, and wishing that I could have spent a night here to experience waking up to a fisherman either going out or coming back from the sea. Three whole years later, and that wish finally came true for me.

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Although it's been 3 years since I've been back here, I can safely say that not much has changed. Asides from the trip being a little smoother (less random transfers along the way) it still took us roughly 3.5 hours from Kyoto Station. It's one of the biggest reasons why I think if this is somewhere that you're planning to visit, you should stay the night. I've already covered the basics of my trip to visiting Ine No Funaya in an older post, so I'll just breakdown where I stayed and ate, and what I did and wore.

Where To Stay

In my past trip, I had my eyes on staying at a boathouse called the WATERFRONT INN. Unfortunately, this time, they were fully booked during the time that I planned on visiting Ine. Instead, I used the local Ine Town Tourism Association and found another local boathouse that was newly renovated to stay at. Beyond looking for an accommodation, this site will also guide you to book local activities that you can do such as biking, fishing, and boat tours. I ended getting to stay at Funaya no Yado Maruichi, which was slightly further away than the rest of the accommodations (which is probably another reason why it didn't get booked out) but the views from there was so worth it. Other than the views, the bed were comfortable, and it felt much more secluded from the rest of the town-which only gave it much more charm.

Due to this boathouse being quite away from everything else, we ended up getting a ride from our host to and from our dinner (otherwise there was nothing to eat nearby). This is something else to keep in mind when you visit. While Ine No Funaya is a well-known town, it's actually not a tourist destination. You won't find a lot of cars driving back and forth, let alone cabs should you need to go somewhere. It's also important to have cash handy, and stock up on some snacks from the convenience store before you arrive for the night. Of course, since this is Japan, you'll always have a vending machine somewhere for your choice of beverage.

Where To Eat

On my first night, I ate at a local fisherman's home with Shun. I don't really recall the name, or if it even had one since it was a recommendation from our host. Some accommodations will come with dinner, but definitely check before you arrive. The next morning, we had some coffee and bread from the comfort of our beds on the tatami floor, facing the open sea. Watching the sun come up was actually beyond my expectation even with the on-and-off drizzle that took place. After a slow and quiet morning, we got ready at our leisure pace and checked out of our boathouse just in time for lunch.

Back into the busier part of Ine, we found ourselves at WATERFRONT INN since other than being just an accommodation, they also have a restaurant that serves lunch and dinner to outside guests. As you might have guessed, being this close to the sea obviously, meant fresh and delicious seafood- but I literally never expected a roughly 15$ lunch set to come with 3 different types of fish, prepared 4 different ways. Infact, it was so good that Shun and I ended up ordering a huge beer to go along with this set (haha, this is why we can never do road trips together). The last time we were in Ine, we had a really good omakase lunch at Wadatsumi, which I still would have loved this trip if we had the stomach to eat a second lunch.

We didn't want to leave Ine right away, despite it being quite a trek back to Kyoto, then Tokyo- so we decided to grab coffee at the Ine Cafe, which is just as quaint and lovely as I remember when we first came.

What To Do

While having our coffee, we saw that the boat tours were starting to operate, so of course, we walked down to the dock and asked if any were free to take us. As mentioned before, these boat tours can be reserved in advance, and the boat drivers can even coordinate with your accommodation to pick you up from the actual boathouse that you're staying at. Otherwise, these tours take place pretty much anytime at a 30 minutes interval for a price of roughly 10$ per person. On our boat tour, we got to learn so many little cool facts about Ine from a grandpa that's been living here all his life. These are things that you probably won't read about online (such as the roof facts that I mentioned above), so I highly recommend it. Towards the end of our tour, the grandpa handed our shrimp crackers to all of us, and we got the chance to feed all of the seagulls that were flying by. It was so exhilarating and fun that I forgot about all my worries of possibly falling over and drowning (since I can't swim) for a whole 10 minutes.

Other than taking a boat tour, you can also take water taxis around to different docks throughout the day. There is also a bigger boat that you can take as well at the entrance into the town that will go even further out at sea, close by to one of the small island that you can see from the inner shore. If you decide to stay longer, there are so many activities that are available, including going fishing, biking around town, getting dressed in a kimono for a photo tour and learning how to cut sashimi or cook with local fresh fish too.

With everything that's taking place this year, I am grateful that I was able to take this trip and spent some quiet and reflective time in Ine with the boyfriend. There's a saying "it's not about the destination, but it's the journey" or vice versa, to some, but when it comes to Ine No Funaya, for me, it's totally both.



Camera Gear Used: Nikon D600 (body only) with 50mm F1/4 and 24-70mm F3.5 lens.
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