In The Meguro Mood

Whether you like it highlife in a fifty-third floor suite, down low upon a tatami mat in a ryokan or if you're a die hard when-in-Rome traveller and do-as-they-do in a capsule hotel, then Japan offers all of this and much, much more - hotel slippers inclusive - across the country. When I was in Tokyo last year, before getting ready to head back to Blighty, I wanted to check into a hotel I had read a lot about in design publications - CLASKA is an eighteen-room boutique hotel housed in a converted seventies high-rise located in the trendy Meguro district scattered with interior design shops and studios.
While the hotel's seventies' history remains on the exterior, clad in a patchwork of era-specific earthy tones, the interior is a creative manifesto - "question Japanese aesthetic… through exploring the 'ordinary life' of Japan" - that mirrors its neighbourhood surroundings, presenting three traditional tatami-style rooms, twelve western-style rooms and most intriguingly, three D.I.Y. rooms, commissioned by young artists and designers to create conceptual themes on the seventh floor.
My curiosity got the better of me and debating between Pajama and Scar, I booked myself into Room 701 - Someone's Atelier - designed by Norihiko Terayama. The organic arrangement of framed flowers and wooden workshop-esque desk made for a simple, yet functional room with a great high rise view of Meguro and an unsurprising attention to detail such as the custom key fobs which are unique to all D.I.Y. rooms.
Room 701 - Someone's Atelier by Norihiko Terayama
Mixroom by Kaname Okajima
While I could have spent my whole time exploring my room, more eccentricities were to be found throughout the hotel: Mixroom was only outside my door on the same floor and is run by designer Kaname Okajima who produces alternative gifts for the home and accessories; on the floor above, the 8th Gallery is a large space with a rolling exhibition programme of art and events and the commercial Gallery and Shop DO located on the second floor offers a selection of contemporary Japanese products and exhibits artists' handicraft who conform to the beautiful aesthetic of the hotel and its mission of innovation and design. Now a successful concept brand, Shop DO may be found downtown in PARCO Shibuya department store and in Osaka. A great item produced by the hotel is a bilingual city guide - Tokyo By Tokyo -  that has been composed by some of Tokyo's most creative characters, all of whom offer an alternative guide and a plethora of hidden gems, district-by-district throughout the city, with titles from lavish toilets to bars and clubs that know how to party.
The full glass lobby looks out onto the buzzing neighbourhood and houses the hotel's cool Kiokuh lounge bar and restaurant, which makes for a great spot to see and be seen, in both day and night. Adjacent is DogMan, the in-house dog salon for perfect little pooches pampered by their equally perfect beauticians.
breakfast at Kiokuh
The rooftop terrace is a glorious deck that looks across the sprawling city and while Meguro is not considered central to any tourist attractions, the scene in neighbouring Daikanyama, south of Shibuya, is not to be missed. One of Tokyo's über hip enclaves, Daikanyama is where the yuppies set up home, with boutique shops and restaurants pitching up in bespoke architectural creations on a small yet impressive scale in keeping with the village-vibe of the area. Enjoy the tree-lined pavements and take a lunch break at Caffé Michelangelo, a Daikanyama-classic.
If you need to head out to the bright lights you will not be disappointed on your walk from the hotel to Gakugei-Daigaku station which will take you straight into Shibuya in a matter of minutes. A ten-minute walk through meandering narrow streets will bring you to a brilliant bohemian market of healthy delis and convenient stores that makes for a great example of everyday life in the city. The creative thread clearly runs deep in the area - don't miss Baden BadenMaison romi-uni and Good Fortune Factory, a selection of creative hotspots of style and for the stomach, tucked away en route. 
I had a great time at CLASKA - its style and service were both exceptional - a rare balance in an affordable bracket. CLASKA is the ideal hotel if you've already hit the tourist trail and are in the mood for a taste of stylish Tokyo through a bohemian lens, and if that alone doesn't sell it to you, I don't know what will. 
1-3-18 Chuo-cho
Tokyo, Japan 
Tel: 03.3719.8121
More from my time in Japan coming soon - until then check out all my Japanese adventures here