How often do you get the chance to spend time in a unique one-off artwork? Or to choose if you would rather sleep surrounded by sumo wrestlers, a bamboo forest or giant gold fish??
At Park Hotel Tokyo you can do just that. Their 'Artist in Hotel' program takes 'artist in residence' one step further. Since the project was launched in December 2012, 15 Japanese artists have each decorated a bedroom with 4 more currently underway. By 2016 all rooms on the 31st floor will be transformed.
As I toured the rooms it struck me how each artists had relished these large scale, three dimensional canvases. All paintings are done directly on the walls and some literally make use of all available surfaces and continue into the bathroom or wardrobe as if they didn't want to stop.
I very briefly met the artist busy painting the soon-to-be-launched Satoyama Woodlands room. She showed us that she had even painted underneath the luggage shelf.
Sumo was the first room to be completed and it's still the favourite with many guests. All rooms share a distinctly Japanese aesthetic and that is in fact the only requirement. The themes range from the classical such as Sumo, Cherry Blossom and Zen to the more fanciful Geisha Goldfish.
The hotel's management team works with a consultant to select the artists and Hayashi-san, the hotel's General Manager told me that since launching the program he has received letters from over 100 artists keen to be considered.
Each artist stays in the hotel while painting their room which gives them the chance to consider the rooms from a guest perspective. It also helps them to plan the artwork considering the different viewpoints eg from the door or lying on the bed and how the illustrations frame the amazing views.
I surprised myself by loving some if the colourful and more whimsical rooms like Festival and Yokai, full of friendly supernatural beings. However the dragon (Dragon room) is also too cute to ignore so I would have to ask reception staff to make up my mind for me and pick a room at random...
A changing display of paintings by the participating artists are showcased in the corridors on the 31st floor. From the lift lobby you can look into the central atrium and all rooms have incredible views over the city (and some even Mount Fuji on a clear day).