An intersection of rich cultural traditions and cutting-edge technologies, Tokyo is a modern metropolis where contradictions lurk around every corner.

Towering commercial skyscrapers cast shadows over tiny family-run establishments; all-inclusive department stores are surrounded by alleyways crammed with shoebox-size stores; and world-class Michelin Star restaurants are rivalled by humble street vendors serving up skewered meats and steaming bowls of ramen.

What better way to explore this extraordinary city than from Japan’s very first skyscraper hotel? Sitting in the heart of the bustling Shinjuku business district, Keio Plaza Hotel Tokyo has welcomed more than 150 million guests since opening its doors in 1971.

Despite yearly refurbishments, the landmark hotel continues to exude old-school charm with modern Japanese influences. Its two towers house a whopping 1,435 guest rooms, 38 banquet rooms, a shopping strip, three wedding chapels, 11 restaurants and six watering holes – giving guests a taste of Tokyo without even having to step outside.

Sleep high above the city lights

Located on the 45th floor – 160 metres above ground – the Premier Grand Club Lounge has been designed as a mini five-star hotel within the hotel.

Boasting panoramic views, warm hospitality and East-meets-West design, the space is available exclusively for Premier Grand guests as a relaxing reprieve from the bustling city below.

Here, guests can check in and out with ease, organise activities or business meetings via the dedicated concierge, enjoy a daily buffet breakfast and afternoon tea, and watch the sunset over complimentary cocktails, sake, wine and hors d’oeuvres.

Each of the newly renovated Premier Grand Suites and Club Rooms – 167 in total – feature Italian sheets and luxurious Imabari towels, L’Occitane bath amenities and Shiseido skin sets, Japanese yukata sleepwear, a fully stocked mini-bar that includes Japanese whisky and sake, and much more.

A leader in functional and inclusive design, Keio Plaza Hotel Tokyo is also home to 13 Universal Design rooms in three configurations, which provide special services for elderly travellers and those with physical disabilities.

Such features include wheelchair-accessible bathrooms, voice guidance and lighting systems for the visually impaired, electric adjustable beds, and food and water bowls for assistance dogs.

Indulge in the ultimate food city

Renowned as one of the world’s top culinary destinations, Tokyo’s food scene is dense and dynamic. From iconic Japanese cuisine such as tempura, teppanyaki, soba and sushi, to French, Chinese, Korean and Italian dining, Keio Plaza Hotel has combined the flavours of the world under one roof.

Hotel guests and visitors alike are invited to participate in a traditional Japanese tea ceremony hosted by tea master Michiko Yano; celebrate a special occasion with a decadent multi-course kaiseki feast at Soujuan; or enjoy seasonal dishes at Amanogawa, where a sommelier will pair your meal with some of Japan’s finest sake.

For those looking to sniff out the best local street food, the hotel is just a stone’s throw from Omoide Yokocho, also referred to as Memory Lane. Originally an illegal drinking quarter in the 1940s, the collection of shops and restaurants is reminiscent of the Shōwa era and teeming with yakitori grills, izakayas, roadside stalls and hole-in-the-wall bars.

Also within walking distance of the hotel is the iconic Golden Gai, a collection of crowded alleyways lined with tiny, mismatched bars that seat no more than a dozen patrons each.

While there are more than 200 establishments to choose from, you’ll notice that some of them expressly welcome tourists while others are strictly reserved for regulars, with signs reading ‘no foreigners’.

Explore the intersection of old and new

Keio Plaza Hotel’s broad cultural offering changes with the seasons – from the annual Arita and Imari Porcelain Exhibition to Japanese Flower Arrangement “Ikebana” workshops and even the opportunity to wear a casual kimono, or yukata, for the day.

The hotel’s close proximity to Shinjuku station makes it an ideal base for exploring Tokyo. Head to the top of Tokyo Skytree for unrivalled city views; join the crowds at Shibuya Crossing – the world’s busiest intersection; or pay a visit to the city’s oldest Buddhist temple, Sensô-Ji.

You can shop for haute couture in Omotesando or edgy vintage pieces in fashion-forward Harajuku; pick up kitchenware essentials on Kappabashi Street; and even enjoy a cup of tea among hedgehogs, dogs, cats or owls at one of Tokyo’s countless animal cafes.

Lovers of Hello Kitty should head to Keio Plaza Hotel Tama, located a short walk from the popular indoor theme park Sanrio Puroland. Here, you can spend the night in an exclusively designed Hello Kitty room, My Melody room or Little Twin Stars room.

Whether you’re wandering the capital’s historic temples, gardens and shrines; tucking into traditional dishes passed down through generations; or soaking up the neon city’s distinctive fashion and pop culture scene; Tokyo’s contrast of old and new is unmatched.

Read next: Margaret River tops Lonely Planet’s Best in Asia Pacific 2019 list