The laundry service trusted by the world
Treat Laundry Like You Treat the Customers
“Do it with respect, step by step. Only that needs to always be kept in mind.” This is what Imperial Hotel Laundry Manager, Akio Asano says. The laundry service is supported by guests who have come from all over the world, renowned enough to be mentioned by Keanu Reeves in the 1995 movie, Johnny Mnemonic. He adlibbed, “I want my shirts laundered like they do at the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo.”
The Imperial Hotel laundry service currently has 32 staff members. All are full-time staff members directly employed by the Tokyo Imperial Hotel. When staff from other departments get assigned to laundry, at the same time they brush up on all the laundry techniques used, so that even if staff members from different departments come, there is no change from the customer’s perspective.
“To do the obvious politely. As the Imperial Hotel’s tradition, this is held in the hearts of all employees. We are not directly in contact with the guests of the hotel, so we treat their clothing as our customers, and clean them with respect.” Asano says.
Carefully Checking Each Piece of Clothing
All clothing that is sent to the laundry service is checked individually, to confirm for stains or damage. Stains are treated properly and loose buttons are reattached. When a button has fallen off, after receiving confirmation from the owner, a new one is attached.
The laundry service has hundreds of different types of buttons ready for these situations. They are of varying colours and heights, and different types of clothing like jackets or dresses. After that, the clothing is washed in a drum-type washing machine, and this is where there is a service unique to the Imperial Hotel. Dress shirt collars, cuffs are cleaned by hand and starched. The dress shirt as a whole is not starched, and this is the result of wanting to ensure maximum comfort.
Then the clothing is dried in a machine, and clothing that requires a finishing touch by hand is hand pressed with a 4.5kg special iron. This iron that is no longer in production has been used continuously for a long time, taking the time to fix or repair it when necessary. Lastly the staff does one more check overall to ensure that all the stains are gone.
From the Days of Traveling by Ship, the Traditional Technique to Pack Clothes
This laundry service was started in 1911. At that time, going overseas meant travelling by ship, which means moving around with a large trunk having weeks worth of luggage. If guests at the hotel who are on such a journey would be able to have their clothes washed inside the hotel, it would be incredibly convenient. This was thought up by the hotel’s first general manager, Aisaku Hayashi. Then, as the hotel represented Japan to the world, an advanced laundry service was born that could not be beaten, even in the West. Currently, each day there is an average of 500 items being sent to the laundry service.
“At you may expect, we clean dress shirts the most. However, we also get clothing like dresses, various national costumes, kids clothing among others. Excluding kimono and clothing made from leather, we should be able to wash your clothes, so please come and talk to us.” Akio Asano said with a smile. The laundry service is only for guests staying at the hotel, but there have been guests who have come to stay at the hotel for the purpose of using the laundry service. To gain the trust of people from all over the world, with the feeling to “make obvious what should be obvious”. This sincerity is “TOKYO GOOD”.
|When did it start?||In 1911, with the formation of its predecessor, the laundry department.|
|Where can it be seen?||The laundry service can only be used by guests at the hotel. If you have the chance to stay, please try it out.|
|Data related to this topic:|| Imperial Hotel: Opened in 1890
Laundry Service: Started in 1911
Completion of new building by Frank Lloyd Wright: 1923
|Please note:||For kimonos, leather items, and items made from special material, please contact us anytime.|
In cooperation with: Imperial Hotel