3-13-1 Takanawa, Minato-ku, TokyoTokyo, Japan -See the map
Amy AdejokunSection editor
It's not the size of this ochre brown building located at the heart of the Shinagawa district that impresses, but rather that it is a lovely place surrounded by gardens, cherry trees and manicured lawns. It is also not overly large. Its kitsch side actually adds to its charm. The only real reasons you need to stay here are that you will be very comfortable and the rates are very reasonable for a hotel in this category. Another reason for visiting it.
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It's not the size of this ochre brown building located at the heart of the Shinagawa district that impresses, but rather that it is a lovely place surrounded by gardens, cherry trees and manicured lawns. It is also not overly large. Its kitsch side actually adds to its charm. The only real reasons you need to stay here are that you will be very comfortable and the rates are very reasonable for this category. Another reason for visiting it.
The 350 guest rooms spread over 15 floors are quite spacious with their 32m², which is exceptional in Tokyo where this number typically corresponds to a 2-bedroom flat. We won't waste time talking about the decor, which couldn't be more traditional. Let's say a Japanese-style Holiday Inn, without any bad surprises. The pleasant surprises are found in the amenities: a safe, tea and coffee-making facilities, combs and kimonos (in their summer version, which the Japanese call 'yukatas'), as well as a top of the line television and air-conditioning of course. The bathroom is relatively small but does include a bathtub, not to mention a Japanese-style toilet with a heated seat, several buttons, and water jets that spray in all directions. It takes some time to figure it all out but once you do you'll really enjoy it. No adjoining rooms We recommend you ask for a room with a view of the garden.
An oasis of calm at the heart of the Tokyo metropolis, the Grand Prince shares this garden with the Sakura Tower and the New Takanawa, which belong to the same chain. Guests can thus use the facilities and dine/have a drink at the restaurants and bars in the neighbouring hotels. There is nothing really interesting about the reception, other than that it is rather big and full of armchairs and sofas where you can check your e-mail thanks to the free Wi-Fi. Bellboys dressed as Spirou will welcome you and take your luggage up to your room without expecting a tip. The custom of tipping hasn't yet arrived in Japan. The style is a little ornate, with a rococo decor that the Japanese were big fans of in the 1980s. It's all a little kitsch but also somewhat European, which may be reassuring for those looking for a bit of familiarity. The hotel has a swimming pool that is open in the warmer months (May to September) and a hairdresser available all year round.
Food and drink
Breakfast is served as a buffet in a room decorated like the Trianon (a small château located on the grounds of the Palace of Versailles) and even goes by this name. The steak house can be found in the garden shared by the 3 hotels. There is also a tempura restaurant, a sushi restaurant and a tea house, plus a bar with a terrace looking onto the lovely garden. Finally, a grocer's shop in the basement means that those in a hurry can get something on the run, not to mention the many vending machines that, in Japan, are never out of order.
The Peninsula Hotels is originally a Chinese chain, but being used to attaining excellence in terms of quality in the hotel industry it just had to branch out to Tokyo, where the very best awaits visitors. The hotel opened in 2007, after 25 years of careful searching for the best location. A mix of the finesse of Japanese crafts and modernism, their Japanese masterpiece is not far from being the perfect hotel.
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Park Hyatt Tokyo
Value for money7.41
Remember the film from not so long ago: Lost in Translation? Well it was filmed in the Park Hyatt hotel in Tokyo. The bar is still in the same place, with a view of the whole city. At night it is truly magical, and in the daylight you can see Mount Fuji with its perfect cone-shaped peak. This really is an exceptional hotel, where the refinement and quality are unrivalled. The guest rooms are situated between the 42nd and 52nd floors - in other words you'll have Tokyo literally at your feet.
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Mandarin Oriental Tokyo
Value for money7.4
Warning: this is the top of the top! In terms of comfort, view, style and service. It's magical. Unfortunately, the price is less delightful! Although you might have to break the bank or win the lottery to stay here, it is one of the best hotels in the world. The M.O (as the Mandarin Oriental is known by those lucky enough to have stayed there) occupies the top floors of an ultra modern building, the only one in the district, overlooking all of Tokyo. When you hear that reception is on the 36th floor and that the guest rooms below continue down to the 30th floor, you'll understand that this is an upside-down hotel of sorts. Certainly an exceptional hotel in any case.
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The Strings by InterContinental Tokyo
Value for money7.07
It's not what you think: there are no Japanese women in tiny bikinis ready to welcome guests. 'Strings' refers to actual string, of course. In this case it refers more specifically to the strings of a musical instrument, a balance of tension and relaxation. The architect was instructed to create a calming environment: mission accomplished. The renovation works carried out in 2008 on this old hotel have been a model of perfection, even if you won't come across many Japanese at the Strings, seeing as the hotel is mostly popular with Western tourists. Part of the excellent Intercontinental chain, the hotel has a yield policy (optimising prices) that will often get you a great deal in Tokyo.
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Sunshine City Prince
Value for money6.84
A beautiful 37-storey tower right in the middle of this slightly out of the centre but pleasant area. The architecture and the shiny marble hall probably won't do much to impress you, but it should be noted that the 1,000 guest rooms inside come at very reasonable prices and levels of comfort.