The Imperial suite room at Keio Plaza Hotel has welcomed many VIPs and state guests from all around the world. Amongst them, the legendary world champion Muhammad Ali left us with the deepest impression.
He came to Japan in June 1976 for the Muhammad Ali vs. Antonio Inoki fight that was held later that month at the Nippon Budokan arena. Leading up to the fight of the century, Ali spent quiet and peaceful days at our hotel, playing his favorite tunes on the white grand piano in the Imperial suite, smiling kindly while signing for his fans, and showing a very quiet, soft and gentle side of himself. He was often spotted going for a jog at the break of dawn. Then came the fight that drew the attention of the entire world where Ali and Inoki fought each other with all they had.
The current Head Chef Hiroshi Ichikawa was a waiter back then in charge of taking care of Ali. Looking back fondly at his memories, he said “I still treasure the precious t-shirt Mr. Ali signed for me before he left.”
One could say that the Imperial suite room is also a witness to Ali’s world-renowned fight in Tokyo. This room has been around since the opening of our hotel and has countless unforgettable memories engraved in its history.