Overview: An in-city hotel that delivers a solid luxury hotel experience
Strengths: Service, views, dining/bars, pool
Drawbacks: Maze-like feeling in many corridors, location outside of Tokyo’s main business hub
After stops in Singapore and Taipei, the final stop in my mid-May Asian roadshow brought me to Tokyo. Since I was traveling with a customer, I was able to book at any hotel I wanted (not limited to just our normal pre-approved list). Since I’d read so many glowing reviews of this hotel in other trip reports, I decided to give the Park Hyatt Tokyo a try for this stay.
The hotel is located on the top 10 or so floors of a 55 story office tower. Entry from one side takes you to the office complex; the other serves as the hotel entrance.
Arriving from Haneda (HND) by private car, the doormen greeted us by name as we exited our car and asked to handle our luggage. We both declined the luggage assistance, to the disappointment of the doorman (it was late and we didn’t want to wait for them in our room; plus our bags were small and had wheels!). We were directed (but not escorted) to lifts at the far side of the street-level lobby, which would take us to the main hotel lobby.
Upon exiting the lifts, we were let out into the more casual of the two lounges at the hotel. It was dark, crowded and noisy. Though I found signs the next day that indicated the way to reception, in the dark the signs weren’t readily visible and it took a little guessing (two right turns, followed by a left, and then a right) to find our way to reception.
Reception is arranged with desks with chairs (versus a high standing counter) for check-in. The doormen had communicated our names and staff-members were waiting for us with the appropriate check-in papers prepared. Pleasantly, my companion and I were each escorted to our rooms by members of the front office staff and the limited check-in formalities were completed in-room. This is a much more pleasant way to handle the formalities. I’ve had this service at the PH Sydney previously, too.
After a brief tour of the room, the front office representative left. His departure was just in time to begin my spate of late-night calls with the office back in New York.
I was in what I believe to be a standard room. Everything was of very good quality. By Tokyo standards, the room was luxurious. (By this, I mean that standards for opulence in Tokyo vary widely, from say, Abu Dhabi or Paris. Each generally very nice, but in their own local style.)
The wood partition separating the main room from the entry foyer, closet and bath area entry made for a more attractive separation than a standard wall. I recall having read that it, and the door to the bath area, were produced from some notable wood source (the details of which I cannot find at present).
As a Hyatt Platinum member, a small welcome amenity was in the room for me.
I ordered breakfast in-room one day, and ate in the restaurant Girandale, the other. Both were excellent. We ordered from the menu in the restaurant, but a small buffet, perhaps continental-plus, was available as well. While I’m not a GP Diamond member (who get free breakfasts), breakfast is always free when the company is paying – in room or in the restaurant!
Girandale is the hotel’s Italian restaurant, and is the only spot where breakfast is served. Other venues for dinner include Kozue (Japanese) and the New York Grill (steaks, etc).
The hotel is located in a more residential area of Tokyo. There was a small park across the street from the hotel, and I used this as a good spot to run. It was fairly small, perhaps 1.5km or so in circumference, so I ran around it a few times. Because my shorts didn’t have pockets, when leaving the front door, I asked the bellmen to hold my key. It took a minute for me and the doorman to figure out what I wanted and what he needed from me, but we sorted it out.
There were more than a few homeless people who had taken up permanent residences in the park. I’d never seen homeless people in Japan before. In keeping with Japanese norms, each of their small encampments was extremely neat and tidy. One apparent long-term resident was outside his structure doing a routine which I’d generically call Tai Chi. (I’m sure it was something else, but to the uninformed American, I don’t know what exact technique he was using.) When I returned to the hotel, the doormen had my key card waiting, as well as a water bottle and a towel. Though standard at upper-end hotels, this runner’s-return service is something I quite enjoy.
I made use of the hotel’s iconic pool one morning after running. Situated on the top floor in a portion of the top of the hotel, the pool provides panoramic views of almost all of Tokyo. The pool was kept at a pleasant temperature (low 80s), cool enough for swimming, but pleasant for relaxing too.
I spent about 15 minutes doing laps, which, after my run, was just right. I was the only guest in the pool.
The protocol for pool-going at the Park Hyatt (like much of Japan) is a bit different than that in the States. You are directed to walk through a foot bath before entering the pool and wearing swim caps (provided) is a requirement.
The pool was surrounded by [three] glassed-in workout areas. Among other things, those areas had treadmills set right against the glass windows overlooking the city. I’d run in a similar setting at the Mandarin Tokyo a few years back, and it was a little unsettling at first for me!
Getting from the pool to my room required taking two separate lifts, and probably 8 or 10 different turns. While I figured it out, I again felt like I was in a maze.
One night we visited the hotel’s New York Bar for some drinks. Located on the 52nd floor, like most parts of the hotel, the bar has panoramic views of Tokyo. Being guests of the hotel, we were seated at a table near the window immediately. It seemed there was a queue of non-residents, which we were able to avoid. Though the bar was nearly full (bar and tables), service was excellent. There was a JPY 2,200 (~US$25) cover charge per person added to our bill. Add in three rounds of drinks for two people, and this post-dinner break cost about US$150. As this was the final night on our trip, it was a good time to recap and celebrate the apparent successes we’d had (which subsequently did prove successful).
Check-out was seamless and my bill was accurate. Having now been familiar with the hotel, following the maze out of the hotel was easier than finding our way in when we arrived. Our driver was waiting for us downstairs. The bellmen helped with our luggage and provided water bottles for our upcoming short drive.
* * * * *
I am glad I stayed at this hotel. Indeed it was a very nice hotel and all aspects of my stay at the property were very good. While the hotel is certainly one of the most aspirational redemptions for Hyatt GP collectors anywhere in the world, it is not the top hotel in Tokyo. Properties such as the Mandarin, Peninsula, FS’s Marunouchi and Chinzan-so locations and the recently gut-renovated Palace hotel (the last of which I’ve not yet visited) would likely rank somewhat ahead of the Park Hyatt. Perhaps this is why the PH-Tokyo is oft-reviewed in trip reports, but not discussed as frequently in the FT/MP Luxury Hotel forums?
Against that, for someone looking for a points redemption for a deluxe hotel in Tokyo, either the Park Hyatt or Ritz Carlton are probably your two choices – and you won’t go wrong at either!
Park Hyatt Tokyo
3-7-1-2 Nishi Shinjuku, Shinjuku-Ku
Tokyo 163-1055 Japan
Tel: +81 3 5322 1234
Fax: +81 3 5322 1288
Email: [email protected]