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Tokyo’s famed Hotel Okura auctions furniture, memorabilia

Tokyo’s famed Hotel Okura auctions furniture, memorabilia

TOKYO: Fans of Tokyo’s soon-to-be demolished Hotel Okura are getting a chance to purchase memorabilia from the sixties-era modernist masterpiece, which has hosted world leaders, British royalty and even fictional superspy James Bond.

The beloved hotel turned its lights off at the end of August after decades of serving high-rollers and is slated to become a gleaming high-rise hotel despite an outcry from preservationists.

The operator of the prestigious 53-year-old hotel said furniture and other items are being auctioned off, including pieces from the top-notch Imperial and Royal suites.

The hotel, located across from the US embassy atop a hill in central Tokyo, has housed a string of foreign leaders, celebrities and royalty, including American presidents Richard Nixon and Barack Obama, Britain’s Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana.

In Ian Fleming’s 1964 novel “You Only Live Twice” set in Japan, suave British agent 007 stayed there. The online auction, which began on Wednesday and will continue until Dec 20, is offering more than 300 items.

Gems include a sofa set and a sideboard from the VIP rooms and dining tables and chairs from the hotel’s restaurants.

Brown armchairs from the now-closed Orchid Room eatery are also on sale.

Decorative items made from objects found in the hotel will also be sold, including jewellery from chandelier pieces and pillows made out of wallcloth. Those items will be sold on a first-come basis, the hotel said.

“We had many customers asking about the fate of the furniture before closing the main wing,” an Okura spokeswoman said.

Published in Dawn, November 5th, 2015

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