AN IMPERIAL DESTINATION
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Look back to the year 1890. Now look around you, at the relentlessly stunning metropolis of Tokyo. Founded under the behest of the Imperial Palace to accommodate an influx of distinguished international visitors, the Imperial Hotel remains a legend close to the very soul of the city of Tokyo. This brick Victorian received foreign visitors disembarking in the alien capital with a reassuring array of familiar western facilities and services, yet it was a reception extended and expressed in the rivettingly exotic format of classical, centuries-old Japanese largesse. The hotel housed 60 fireplaced rooms, a formal dining room, a ballroom and a music salon. Japanese patrons at this intimidating new landmark must have been similarly enchanted entering for the first time into an entirely unfamiliar world of dignified, airy and very foreign interiors, whimsically appointed with luxurious and practical accommodations unlike any they had ever seen. It was subsequently no surprise that before long the great hotel became the talk of tout Tokyo.
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FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT
By 1923 Frank Lloyd Wright's breath-taking, brand new, over-the-top Imperial Hotel replaced the 1890 original; we requested an incomparable, one-of-a-kind hotel that would dazzle the world with Wright's creativity and the pizzazz of Tokyo - and that is what we got. A lavishly embellished, richly ornate, low rise complex of indelible style, exuding completely original expressions of the art deco style of the 1930s, magically blended with Mayan aesthetics and outer space. A unrivalled masterpiece by an American genius. After an unprecented earthquake on the day of its opening, followed by decades of floods, subway construction, wartime bombing and the ravages of postwar pollution, in 1968 the building was dismantled with parts incorporated into today's hotel while the core was rebuilt for posterity at Meiji Village, an architectural preservation park near Nagoya.