Michter’s Art of Hospitality Award 2024

Michter’s Art of Hospitality Award 2024



Pioneering a new style of service in Tokyo

Opened in 2020 in Tokyo’s glitzy Ginza district, Virtù began its life as a quiet bar, as many cocktail outposts inside luxury hotels often are. Its art-deco interior fused Parisian and Japanese design influences together to create an opulent and beautiful interior, with a stellar view of Tokyo to match. Its muted and reserved offering all changed when Zimbabwe-born bar stalwart Keith Motsi took the reins in mid-2022. 

After helming Four Seasons bars in Beijing and Seoul, Motsi was enticed to Tokyo in July 2022 to inject some spark into the bar. In a world where luxury hotel bars are often intimidating and pretentious, Motsi flipped the script to encourage his eclectic team to move away from performative hospitality and let their own personalities shine through. To Motsi, he could prove that you could be professional, without being too serious.

Now, there’s a personality and a service style for everyone at Virtù and figuring out which one will best suit a guest begins before they have even set foot through the door. The team is already clued up about your reason for staying at the hotel, whether that’s for a birthday, anniversary or for work. If you are a local who has been there before, chances are you swapped business cards with a server who has then created a profile to help make your next visit even smoother and more personal.

Since Virtù maintains an egalitarian no-reservations policy, identifying who just walked through the door is the task of people such as senior server Konomi Sekikawa and bar manager McHayla Killoran. They will strike up a conversation as they guide you to a seat and the information they glean — which they call ‘golden nuggets’— will be transmitted imperceptibly to other members of the crew.

In a city whose cocktail culture is long-established and well loved, Virtù has pioneered a new style of service that challenges the mainstream that’s personal, professional and unexpectedly fun. It is a worthy winner of the Michter’s Art of Hospitality Award 2024.