My review of the ANA InterContinental Tokyo hotel

This is my review of the ANA InterContinental Tokyo hotel.

As hotels in Tokyo are incredibly expensive during cherry blossom season it made sense to use points for my stay.  Rob had already bagged the Conrad Tokyo (his review is here) so I stayed at the ANA InterContinental Tokyo.  Whilst the property is linked to the airline ANA, who provided my flight to Tokyo, they did not pay for the hotel.  Here is my review.

Getting to the ANA InterContinental Tokyo from Haneda Airport is fairly easy.  There is the option of taking the shuttle bus (40-60 minutes 1,130 yen) bus, however my arrival time and the bus timetable weren’t lining up so I decided to take the metro.

There are two lines from Haneda Airport. I chose the Keikyu-Kuko Line, that became the Asakusa Line at Sengakuji Station, all the way to Shimbashi where I had to change for the Ginza Line to Tameike-Sanno Station. The ANA InterContinental Tokyo is right outside Exit 13.  The whole journey took about 40 minutes and the trains were almost empty.  (Before my trip to Tokyo I had nightmares at dreaming about packed trains, getting squashed in the doors and losing my luggage!)

I bought a train ticket at Haneda Airport to Sengakuji for 560 yen and another ticket at Shimbashi for 170 yen. The next day I got a Pasmo card (the Japanese Oyster Card) to simplify my journeys and also to reduce the cost.

ANA InterContinental Tokyo review

Check in

The ANA InterContinental Tokyo reception is at the far end of the ground floor. As it was very busy when I arrived I had to wait about 10 minutes until I could check in. The check in process itself took another 10 minutes. I was very tired after the flight and just wanted to get some rest so it was slightly annoying that everything took so long.

ANA InterContinental Tokyo review

Room

My room was on the 15th floor. It was a Standard Double Room with a good sized desk, a sitting area and a comfortable bed.

There were some fruit, two bottles of water and a Japanese newspaper

ANA InterContinental Tokyo review

The design of the room and its furniture was rather disappointing and appeared to be badly dated.

ANA InterContinental Tokyo review

The coffee/tea machine was a bit odd and by no means could I find out how to operate it.  It appeared to be some sort of kettle and there were instant coffee sachets as well as tea bags next to it. As I’m not a fan of instant coffee I eventually gave up and got my coffee at one of the million coffee shops in Tokyo.  (If you think London is overrun with coffee shops, it has nothing on Tokyo.)

ANA InterContinental Tokyo review

Let’s look at the positive aspects of the bathroom first. There was a lot of space for make-up, creams etc. around the sink, although with the hair dryer, tissue box and amenities randomly spread out it looked a bit messy. It also didn’t help that the sink was rather tiny and the marble looked a bit dated.

ANA InterContinental Tokyo review

The shower was terrible.  It was not possible to bend the shower head further down and when taking a shower the water went straight into my face – and nowhere else. Where is a rainfall shower when you need one?

ANA InterContinental Tokyo review

At least the toilet was a typical Japanese Toto toilet.

ANA InterContinental Tokyo review

And now to the worst part of the room … MOULD!

The last time I had mould in a hotel room was when I stayed on a little island in Croatia where there was only one hotel which had 2 stars and no competition.  With 2 stars I didn’t expect much, but a 5 star hotel with mould…?

ANA InterContinental Tokyo review

Bar

To end my review with something positive, as a Spire Elite member I received two complimentary drinks at the MIXX bar and lounge on the 36th floor.  The staff were very friendly, the drinks were pleasant and the view, especially as it got dark outside, stunning.

ANA InterContinental Tokyo review

The ground floor with it’s cafe / bar was gorgeous with a piano player was playing tunes in the evening.  It is only the rooms that let this property down.

ANA InterContinental Tokyo review

Location

The location of the ANA InterContinental was great. As well as having the Ginza Line right outside, there was an office building with a supermarket and lots of restaurants on the other side.

ANA InterContinental Tokyo review

The area was also great for taking cherry blossom pictures as there were a lot of trees around the hotel.

ANA InterContinental Tokyo review

Video

To give you a better impression of the ANA InterContinental Tokyo, here is a short mould-free YouTube video of the hotel and my room.  You can subscribe to our YouTube channel via this page – this is the same link to visit if the video does not automatically appear below.

 

Conclusion

The good news is that the ANA InterContinental Tokyo is easily accessible from Haneda Airport as well as the main tourist attractions, there are various restaurants and bars inside the hotel as well as in the surrounding area and the public areas of the hotel are very good.

On the other hand, the service was by Japanese standards very slow and on several occasions staff seemed very annoyed when I didn’t understand their English.  I understand that cherry blossom season meant that the hotel was almost fully booked and the staff were having to work harder than usual.  Mould in the bedroom is unacceptable and the shower was in need for a makeover.

There are not many options for using hotel loyalty points in Tokyo with the big chains all having far fewer properties than you would expect.  There is not a single Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express or Crowne Plaza, for example.  If you have the choice and you have Hilton Honors points, stay at the Conrad Tokyo. After having read Rob’s review and comparing the pictures to the ANA InterContinental, I can’t really recommend the ANA.

The hotel website is here if you want to find out more.

(Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Promos’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

Generous 1,500 Avios bonus on your next two Accor stays in UK and Ireland
How I used Avios for a flat-bed from Japan to China - and other Asian Avios deals
About Head for Points

We help business and leisure travellers maximise their Avios, frequent flyer miles and hotel loyalty points. Visit every day for three new articles or sign up for our FREE emails via this page or the box to your right.

Comments

  1. stacey says:

    it was disappointing to read the lousy review. i have fond memories of this hotel, having stayed there for three months in 1989 and a couple of weeks in 1995. from the photos it looks just the same, which probably explains the issues. i’d still choose it over the conrad, though, due to its location.

    • RIcatti says:

      They really have to up the standards at ANA InterContinental.

      Dated everything, DUST under the furniture/behind fridges (some unhygienic staff such as candy, cotton rolls).

      Limited status recognition, but thats common in Japan. They acknowledge at reception desk multiple times but not much follows in terms upgrade/benefits.

  2. I stayed at the other IC in Tokyo, the IC Tokyo Bay. Great experience, and my only qualm was the lack of nice-ish amenities. The gym, for example, was “hidden away” in a small room.

  3. I ended up using my IHG barclaycard free nights here and it was rather disappointing, as Anika reviews.

    My free nights were going to expire and I hadn’t found anywhere else worthwhile using them (it isn’t good value for me to use them in a city where there is a CP for 20-25K points and/or the HI(x) is 10K, even if the IC is 50K). I had run out of HH points and there were no cheap hotels as it was also peak season, so this seemed like the best choice, especially as Anika says, the location is great and there are few options on points.

    I got a smaller room than my first year in UK university halls (which cost £15 per night including dinner, albeit in 2006). IHG paid the IC ANA US$60 per night for my stay. OTOH, my friends stayed in an airbnb which was almost the same size as my room here, and it cost them about US$60 too, and was just round the corner from this hotel.

    The bathroom was not mouldy but when I stay in a supposedly high-end hotel I expect to get a nicer bathroom than what I have at home, and this was worse. The only real positive was that my wife liked the toiletries better than the usual PeterThomasRoth ones we get at Hiltons :)

    As a Spire (non-Ambassador), I got 600 points, can’t remember there was a choice of points or drinks, and the offer of a “special rate” of 3000 JPY for breakfast. The check-in person said “Thank you for your loyalty” about 10 times during check-in and phoned the room after we had arrived to say it again twice.

    Nitpick: “The next day I got a Pasmo card (the Japanese Oyster Card) to simplify my journeys and also to reduce the cost.” – forgiveable: plenty of Japanese tourists think the Oyster is the “English smartcard”. Japan has about 25 different smart cards and only 11 can be used interchangeably.

    PASMO is the Tokyo Metro smartcard, and in Tokyo it doesn’t reduce the cost but only saves you time buying tickets before each journey. You pay the exact fare with a smartcard but it is rounded to the nearest 10 yen if paying with cash, which can be up or down. In the rest of Japan most fares are already rounded to the nearest 10 yen by cash or smartcard.

    Also, there are various day-passes for Tokyo transport which are not available on smartcards, so it is not necessarily cheaper. In fact I never got a smartcard on my entire trip to Japan because I found that there were always paper-only multi-tickets for the places I planned to go, which were much cheaper than paying the individual fare each time.

    • I found some of the passes for the underground to be very good value and less hassle. There is one that does both underground companies that you can buy at the airport, some hotels, with the Keisei Skyliner airport train etc. And was working out about £5 a day.

      There is also a Tokyo underground only for just under a £5 a day for 24 hours which can be bought at any station.

      We were jumping on and off tubes a lot and most stops in cash are at least £1 to £2, so very easy to go over £5. They also recently changed the rules that these passes run for a full 24 hours from first use and not just on that day. This makes them much better value.

      If you have the JR Pass you can also use the Yomanote ring line and get included transport to both airports.

    • Wow. My halls cost 170 a week in 2007.

  4. Sorry you had such a disappointing stay. I would not have been happy in that room either! That’s my biggest gripe about using points to book a room. Too often, and especially when the property is full, you get the dregs.

    When we stayed about 8 years ago we booked a lovely junior suite which had a proper Japanese bathroom with shower and soaking tub in separate wet room. And no mould! The club lounge on the top floor was excellent and had spectacular views. (And I remember seeing spherical ice “cubes” for the first time.)

    The surrounding Ark Hills area does have superb cherry viewing and it’s great to be able to just step out of the hotel at any time of day or night and enjoy a stroll through the glorious cherry trees in bloom. Quite magical at night when they are lit up.

  5. Volker says:

    Anika, did you mention the mould to staff at reception? Even with a points redemption you should have got a better room or at least some form of compensation.

    • Totally agree – this is unacceptable, points redemption or otherwise!

  6. Andrew says:

    I’m booked in to the IC The Strings next month – I’m hoping that it’s going to be a bit better than the IC ANA. The pictures of the rooms look better, but I guess you never know…..

    • Julie M says:

      I stayed at the Strings in March using points. It wasn’t too bad but the room was tiny, even though we were upgraded (as a Spire Ambassador) from a single bed which is the standard redemption. Definitely no mould and the shower looked much nicer. The staff were really lovely and I didn’t experience any delays like Anika did. The lobby of the hotel is beautiful.

      We also stayed at the Hilton Tokyo which had a much larger room and the free breakfast (Diamond member) was really good with Western and Japanese selections.

      The Strings is a great location to get to and from Haneda airport and to get around Tokyo in general. The City Bakery at the station entrance makes a really good eggs benedict which I’d recommend.

      • Andrew says:

        Thanks – I’m more reassured now and it’s just me, so hopefully the tiny room will be ok. And thanks for the breakfast tip!

    • I am booked into The Strings in December, it looks the best of the ICs in Tokyo, and the rooms look larger too, but you never know what you will get until you open the room door (so we shall see). One other reason for choosing The Strings was it seemed much easier to get to/from airports.

      • Prince Polo says:

        IC Strings is a very nice property – good location too (esp for HND)

  7. Sheesh, this puts me off Intercontinentals in general. Why fork out for 5* hotel when you can stay in a Holiday Inn for half the cost? At least then if it’s dated and mouldy you haven’t paid through the nose for it!

    • As with all of the big chains, you get good and bad properties. Even Four Seasons has a few dogs in terms of interior quality (which is often outside its control, since the building owner funds refurbishments) even though the service is uniformally good.

    • The problem in Japan is the lack of international chains. Most have just a just a handful of high end hotels where prices and number of points needed is really high. Even the local chains fairly basic hotels are often over £200 a night. They also don’t have two double beds so can’t get 2 adults / 2 children in therefore doubling the price!

      We did a various selection of hostels/Airbnb/one hotel during our 9 days in Japan last month. Never paying more than about £110 a night all private rooms, appartements or hotels taking four people. Some as low as £70 a night. The Airbnbs in Kyoto and Hiroshima were great. In Hiroshima it was huge and right on the piece park.

      Some of the hostels are really nice and have some have much more character many hotels in Japan, and we got amazing service at all of them.

  8. Christian says:

    The Hilton Tokyo is also quite an impressive property. We had a great stay there in January.

    The Marriott was also pretty good, but I preferred the Hilton! Check-in also took an age at the Hilton and not because of queues!

  9. I’ve stayed at both the ANA and the The Strings in the last few years. The Strings is way ahead.

  10. First world problems… I’ve mearnt my lesson. For Japan, either Japanese hotel chains (sim in quality and service to HI, HIE,…) or AirBnB (where you experience how Japanese flats/houses are).
    Our usual European or USA hotel chains are bloody expensive, since it’s something exotic for Japanese people and where all corporate bookings prob go to (similar to KFC, very exotic and hence very expensive in Japan).

    • I noticed that about KFC as well, got stung with 3 tiny cold sweetcorn portions out of a tin for about £2 each. Where as Mcdonalds is about the same are here, if not slightly cheaper.

      • We were also having English issues in that restaurant as only wanted one portion. They also has a complicated set menu system….

    • *learnt

  11. I once stayed at an IC property and returned to my room to find the maid having a pooh pooh with the door open whilst eating my Haribo.Did not know how to handle it so just laughed and walked straight back out.

    • She probably used your toothbrush to clean under the rim.

      • Fair point He. She could well have done. The Haribo tasted a little nutty when I tucked into them later.

        • Why on earth are you eating Haribo? Are they not for children (of parents who don’t care for their teeth)?

          • I’ve have had packets of Haribo left on my pillow at German hotels, it is a multi-generational thing over there.

          • This was a large pack or sour mix that I had brought from the UK. I like a sweetie whilst I watch adult channels.

          • The Haribo Tangfastics ones are addictive, my office hates it when i bring them in.

    • Waribai says:

      Come on…Name and shame!

      • Name and shame…. Do you mean name the maid or name the hotel? I do not know the maids name but the image of what I saw is forever branded in my mind.

        The property in question was in NYC. A former crown plaza that I think was called the crowned plaza united nations.

  12. I forgot to mention above that the entire lobby and lifts in the IC ANA had a strong smell of smoke plus a strong smell of some spray which was probably being used in an attempt to mask the smell of the smoke. However this was also the case with all other Japanese hotels I stayed in.

    The non-smoking rooms which I were given were always fine though.

  13. ANA certainly is not the best. I live in Tokyo and we consider this to be late JR a business hotel. For those on a tight budget.
    Mould in these ex 4 star old hotels is common, because the weather in Tokyo is very humid and a bathroom can get a bit of dampness that will can turn to mound very quickly. If the bathroom is refurbished with modern equipment the mound will be a thing of the past.
    Tokyo has a lack of hotels for the upcoming Rugby World Cup and 2020 Olympics. Accor and other hotel chains not in Tokyo need to pull their finger out. In Tokyo we don’t really call the ANA a convenient location!

    • “In Tokyo we don’t really call the ANA a convenient location!”…indeed, because it is is a cr@p location.

  14. I guess this unofficial review (which I like, by the way) highlights the problem with any official review that has been arranged with the hotel – the hotel will always make sure that the room given to an official reviewer doesn’t have mould and things like that.

    • Nate1309 says:

      I agree. Sure someone at the IC will invite Anika back to do another review and it will be top spec. But a ‘secret’ review like this is far more valuable to the HfP readership I would guess.

      • We would never have accepted a freebie review here, because it is known not to be a great hotel. The reason the ‘official’ reviews we do are generally positive is that we only accept them when we know we will like the hotel.

        ‘Freebie’ reviews actually cost us money in travel costs plus lost working time. Why would Anika or I want to spend money / Avios flying somewhere, leaving our respective partners / kids for a couple of days and causing a build-up of work to be cleared via late nights when we return, just to stay in a dump?

      • Yes, that’s my point – I wasn’t trying to suggest that Anika is enthusiastic about places just because HfP gets a free room to review – I was saying that this kind of review above is more likely to be of use to ‘normal’ readers than the freebie reviews, because they flag up things that could easily happen to us.

  15. Why was the ANA IC chosen? Just because it accepted ‘points’ ? If basic research were undertaken, it would be quickly established that it is a very poor property. Also, the Conrad is blindly recommended without any mention of the (oft better) Hilton Tokyo. Much less points required for a redemption, better location especially for nightlife, better exec lounge etc.

    Why not purchase the PASMO (or SUICA) on arrival in Haneda, or why buy two single tickets from two different stations (en route to ANA IC) when one through ticket bought in Haneda would have sufficed?

    And SUICA is ‘bigger’ (more common/popular) than PASMO, although the choice doesn’t matter for your visit. PASMO can only be purchased at the Keikyu (Haneda) station due to it being a private line. Had you taken the Monorail, you could have purchased the SUICA. They are IC cards for use across Japan; they are most certainly not an Oyster card equivalent which is only valid in greater London and not accepted in the same volume of retailers.

    But the moral of the story? Choose to visit Japan during Cherry Blossom season and you’re guaranteed to end up comprising in some manner or other (much less chance of upgrade etc) as Rob also probably now appreciates after his own Conrad visit. Rem, we have cherry blossom trees here in the UK (and elsewhere); yet few bat an eyelid or take the same interest or volume of photos of them.

    PS Did you actually explore Tokyo? Was it not worthy of brief mention?

    • I don’t think Strings was available for the nights she needed. As for the Conrad, I was taking my wife and kids and wanted to be central. Lack of local nightlife was not a concern unfortunately :-) I did say in the Conrad review that, in retrospect, something cheaper (in points terms) would have actually done the job just as well given how our days turned out. That said, I’m pretty sure Hilton Tokyo wasn’t available either as a redemption when I booked.

      We thought of doing a Tokyo tourist piece, like the Kyoto one, but Tokyo is more about the sum of the parts than the parts itself which don’t make for a great photo essay, and that isn’t really what we do anyway.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      I really don’t understand the Cherry Blossom thing, are they really that rare you must go to Japan to see them?

      Come to my neck of the woods some beautiful cherry blossoms right outside my door and all around the park.

  16. BrianD says:

    We’re just back from a five night stay at the IC Tokyo Bay, and we couldn’t be happier. I’d booked a “King Club Superior With River View” on an Ambassador voucher for the first two nights, and a “Standard Room” on points for the remaining three nights. Having read about the Japanese ICs being sticklers for the rules, I was fully prepared to be moved to the standard room for the second half of our stay. However, instead of the guaranteed Ambassador room upgrade for the first two nights, we were able to stay in the Club room and retain Club access for all five nights. Not sure whether the hotel was quiet post-Golden Week, or if this was offered as our stay coincided with my 50th birthday, but it was a nice gesture nontheless.

    Our room on the 22nd floor was nice and spacious, though it was a bit dimly lit, and the Club Lounge had nice views out towards the Rainbow Bridge on one side and Tokyo Tower on the other. We found it easy enough to get around Tokyo, with the hotel providing a regular shuttle bus to Hamamatsucho Station (Yamanote Line), and with Takeshiba Station (Yurikamome Line) and Hinode Pier (for the river bus) within easy walking distance. Would definitely consider staying here again if we’re ever back in Tokyo.

  17. Alex W says:

    Why no Ambassador status for Anika?