Before heading to Okinawa, A & I spent four days in Tokyo. It was rather difficult to figure out the best hotel in Tokyo. First and foremost, my impression was that a lot of hotels look alike, which did not simplify the choice. Most rooms are very reduced, almost minimal and they are usually small. We have chosen the Hilton Tokyo Shinjuku as our home for Tokyo and have not regretted the decision.
It’s all about location
One of my main travel tips for Tokyo would be to choose the hotel based on location. The city is absolutely huge and widespread. While we did most of the transit by metro/subway, a good location close to either the sights or your business venue is always a good idea. The Hilton chain has several properties throughout Tokyo. One is the Tokyo Bay Resort (which makes sense when going to Disneyland), one is the Hilton Odaiba and ours, the Hilton Shinjuku. Being located between the twinkling skyscrapers in the business district of Tokyo, the Hilton is centrally located and makes it easy to go reach most Tokyo neighbourhoods by subway in about 20 minutes. Conveniently, it has direct access to the subway (Tochomae Station and Nishi Shinjuku Station) if you go down the stairs in the main lobby (behind the Marble lounge restaurant).
My travel tip: The metropolitan government building is just opposite the street. You can go up to the viewing deck there for free and have a wonderful view over Tokyo.
Check-In & Executive Lounge
We arrived from Tokyo Haneda taking the “friendly limousine bus” 🙂 which is running directly to the hotel. The check-in was swift and professional, probably because we arrived very early at 8:30am. Being Hilton Diamond members, we were granted access to the executive lounge but unfortunately received no upgrade, as the hotel was fully booked. For that reason, we were also not able to access the room yet which I can undestand but find annoying none the less. One thing you want to do after a 16 hours long-haul trip is to take a shower. Our best option was to leave the luggage at the front desk and head to the exec lounge which was already serving breakfast. The lounge is located on the 37th floor and offers a fantastic view over Shinjuku and Tokyo.
The breakfast in the lounge is absolutely fantastic. From an omelette station over fresh fruit and juices to a serious Japanese section they do offer everything to start your exploring day in Tokyo right. I noticed that although the hotel was fully booked we did not have to wait for a table any day. The service was impeccable, very attentive. I noticed that most of the staff spoke several languages which I did not expect. The regular buffet breakfast is served in the “Marble Lounge” down in the lobby. We tried it one day but ended up having breakfast in the exec lounge every morning as it was a bit more tranquil. The breakfast spread though is (almost) equally good in both venues.
My travel tip: Not being really mentioned, the hotel offers another lounge exclusively for Hilton Diamond members. It’s located on the same floor but you’ll have to ask to get access granted. The Diamond lounge offers an even more private feeling, serving pre dinner drinks and small bites before dinner. As the executive lounge is already great I do not feel that’s really necessary but of course that’s a very nice token of appreciation.
We received our King Deluxe room on the 28th floor, offering great views of Shinjuku. The Hilton Tokyo remodeled their rooms in recent years (now completed) and you can see that. You can tell you are in a Hilton but the layout and features of the room are good. I found the size of the room to be above average for Tokyo. The big window with typical Japanese shades made the room bright and inviting. It was clean and taken good care of during our stay. Aside from the huge king size bed, it offers a lounging chair, desk and sufficient storage for our clothes. The bathroom however was really small. We were lucky to receive one of the old executive rooms so it at least featured a separate walk-in shower, but with shower, tub, toilet and sink on what seemed like 3m² you can only use the bathroom with one person a time. It had daylight through a big (shower) window to the room though. Amenities, slippers, robes and the like were all provided and really comfy. A nice find was that our German plugs worked on most power outlets without having to use an adapter. The Hilton did not offer turndown service but two complimentary bottles of water each night which was a nice touch.
Features & Amenities
Apart from the executive lounge we have been invited to the bar on the 2nd floor one night. They have an extensive (iPad) drinks menu and the quality of our cocktails was good. The bar was not too crowded and had some saxophone/piano live music which contributed to a comfortable experience. The Hilton Tokyo also has a swimming pool which was remodeled at the time of our visit. From pictures we saw it seemed less appealing than for example the one at the Conrad (or even Hyatt) but that might have changed. We had dinner in the Marble lounge one night which was OK but nothing to cheer about and somewhat expectably overpriced in my opinion. We did not try the other restaurants as we liked to explore the city but they were really buzzing every night. The Hilton also offers a free shuttle to and from Shinjuku station (the world’s busiest train station).
Passport & Palmtree conclusion
The Hilton Tokyo was a great choice for our stay in Tokyo. The biggest asset is the location which allows to reach all neighbourhoods conveniently. The room size and quality was very good for a short city stay although it felt more 4,5* than proper highend 5*. Our access to the executive and diamond lounge did improve the experience though. The overall price/value ratio of the Hilton is absolutely fair for Tokyo standards.