My review of the Conrad Tokyo hotel

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This is my review of the Conrad Tokyo hotel.

As with my other Asia reviews this weekend, it is less comprehensive than usual.  We were not on a review trip, we did not get a hotel tour, we did not see other rooms apart from our own and, as we had small children with us, we didn’t eat in any of the hotel restaurants apart from breakfast.  You should still get a feel for the hotel though.

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

During the peak March / April tourist season, hotels in Tokyo are ludicrously expensive.  The Conrad Tokyo was selling for £500 per night during our review and was full.  This is exactly the right time to get some Hilton Honors points into use.

Conrad Tokyo hotel review

There are fewer options than you might imagine with the major Western chains having surprisingly little to offer.  IHG has nothing apart from the three InterContinental properties (Anika will review the InterContinental ANA in a week or so) – there is not a single Crowne Plaza, Indigo, Holiday Inn etc.  Marriott has surprisingly little although Starwood is a bit better – I disliked the Westin when I stayed there 15 years ago though.  Hyatt has the classiest options with the Park ‘Lost In Translation’ Hyatt and the equally impressive Grand Hyatt in Roppongi, as well as an Andaz.

Here is the building containing the Conrad Tokyo:

Conrad Tokyo hotel review

This is a more cliched stock picture of the exterior:

Conrad Tokyo sign

As Tokyo has no real centre from a tourist perspective, where you stay isn’t that important.  That said, the Conrad Tokyo ticks two key boxes.  It is directly on top of a subway station (Shiodome) and a 15-minute walk – via an elevated walkway – to the Ginza shopping district.  It is also convenient for arrivals at Haneda Airport, an airport so smart it has carpeted its baggage claim area!  We paid about £45 for a taxi which was suprisingly quick on a Sunday evening.

Conrad Tokyo hotel review

Conrad Tokyo is set in the top part of a new skyscraper, with reception on the 28th floor.  This is a common feature for most of the high end hotels in Tokyo – The Peninsula is a notable outsider being stand-alone.

The building exterior is surprisingly non-descript.  You could easily stay here and still not be able to pick out the hotel for a random selection of building photographs.

Conrad Tokyo hotel review

Our room at Conrad Tokyo

We had booked two standard rooms for 95,000 Hilton Honors points each per night.  As the hotel was full there was little they could do in terms of Diamond upgrades and reportedly the hotel is stingy at the best of times.  We got a view over a park and towards the bay which is the ‘preferred’ side.

This is an ‘official’ room picture:

Conrad Tokyo room

…. and here are my unofficial ones:

Conrad Tokyo hotel review

The room was decorated in a modern, stylish but not particularly Japanese way.  The key feature was the glass wall – with an automated blind – letting you see directly into the bathroom.

Conrad Tokyo hotel review

After four nights in a huge suite in Hong Kong the Conrad Tokyo room felt very small but, in reality, was on a par with most standard rooms in big city hotels.  The bathroom was larger than average with a smart stand-alone tub.

Conrad Tokyo hotel review

It wouldn’t be Japan, of course, without a fully automated washing, drying Toto loo.  There is hours of fun to be had putting small children on them!  In Beijing, although not here, the lid lifted even automatically when you walked towards it.  As soon as we got back to the UK my wife started complaining that she missed the heated seats!

Conrad Tokyo hotel review

The lounge

As a Hilton Diamond we got access to the Conrad Tokyo Executive Lounge.  This has just reopened following an expansion which saw it add a separate dining area on the other side of the corridor, sharply increasing the number of seats available.

It was, unfortunately, a major disappointment.  On our first day we arrived at 9pm to find nothing available apart from drinks.

Conrad Tokyo hotel review

On the 2nd day we did arrive for the two hour evening drinks and snacks reception but the selection and the quantity was embarrassingly poor.  They even ran out of wine glasses at one point.  If you thought you could skip your evening meal by hitting the canapes instead then you’d be in for a rude awakening.

Conrad Tokyo hotel review

The new dining area makes the lack of food even more obvious.  If you have an Executive Lounge full of sofas and casual furniture there is an implication that you won’t be eating a full meal.  Now the lounge has a large formal dining area with ‘proper’ tables and chairs it is a bit odd to sit there with a couple of tiny canapés, if you are lucky enough to find any at all.

Breakfast at Conrad Tokyo

….. was more successful.  We chose to eat in the restaurant and not the lounge. Served in this impressive airy space, with views over the park and bay:

Conrad Tokyo hotel review

…. it was a good place to start the day.  As with all the hotels we visited, there was effectively a full Western menu with local options as well.

As a Hilton Diamond breakfast was free and represented a substantial cost saving.  Additional cooked items we ordered were also not charged.  I’m not sure if Gold members would also get access to the full menu for free.

The pool

I never saw the Conrad Tokyo fitness centre but the pool – as with all pools built high up in skyscraper hotels – had a certain majesty to it.  It was, unfortunately, very cold and my kids didn’t like it.

Conrad Tokyo hotel review

There is also a very smart looking bar which runs the full length of the lobby as well as a couple of other restaurant options.  We did not get the opportunity to try those.  I should give a brownie point to the concierge who gave us some excellent trips for spotting the best of the cherry blossom.

Would I return to Conrad Tokyo?

I don’t know.  I have a soft spot for the Grand Hyatt in Roppongi, which is part of a shopping mall and in a pedestrianised area, albeit 5 minutes walk to the subway.  The Peninsula, where I stayed last time, suffered from a lack of public space although my room was impressive.

Even if I was on my own I would have found the Conrad Tokyo room a little small and the lounge was certainly not somewhere that – as a solo traveller – I would have wanted to spend much time.  This is a shame as I often pass the evenings working in a lounge when there is one.

On the positive side, the location works for walking to Ginza, for subway access and for getting to/from Haneda Airport.  The design is impressive and the views are good.  Free breakfast if you have Hilton Gold or Diamond status is another good reason to stay here.

Frankly, unless you have World of Hyatt points, Conrad Tokyo is arguably the best reward night option available.  Only The Ritz-Carlton, which I’ve never seen, booked on Marriott Rewards points would be a sensible high-end alternative.

This was one of the few times that I have been in a luxury hotel and felt that it was perhaps unnecessary (based on what we got vs the time spent in the hotel) but, in reality, the number of alternative points options – luxury or mid-range – was slim.  Anika’s InterContinental ANA review isn’t going to be too positive.  The Courtyard By Marriott in Ginza was one of the few mid-range reward possibilities.

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

Our next stop, via the bullet train, was The Ritz-Carlton in Kyoto about which I had heard nothing but good things ….. here is our The Ritz-Carlton Kyoto review.

(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.)

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Comments

  1. Hung like a Horse says:

    “my wife started complaining that she missed the heated seats!”

    You are obviously not getting your wife hot enough.

  2. I’ve stayed at the Courtyard Marriott in Ginza and I thought it was fine. Small rooms but this is Japan. 5 mins from the metro and close to shops & restaurants. Bus to/from the airports was easy. I would stay there again. My colleague rates the Grand Hyatt and said it’s a step up. Would be a good option if doing business in Ropongi.

  3. Which toy do they have?

  4. You should get yourself some Japanese style toilets at home. That’s what we did after staying at the Peninsula Paris! They’re fab!

    • Bariummeal says:

      Yes, I did this also, and if anyone is looking to do this and doesnt want to spend thousands on Totos – buy a Korean one. Seach Washlet with google and there are several UK suppliers – a washlet that washes abd drys is £1k.

      • i was looking in Shinjuku this afternoon – a basic one can be picked up for about ¥22000 – wonder if Qatar will let me take one home with me as luggage 🙂

        • Last year at NRT I saw someone in the baggage check-in queue for one airline (sorry can’t remember which one) who was carrying a box containing a Toto seat so it might well be possible!

          • That could have been me! The check-in agent said that in 20 years he hadn’t seen anybody check-in a washlet. It was beautifully packaged by the staff at Yodobashi Camera, with a little suitcase style handle, and was simply checked-in by Lufthansa. It survived an overnight at Munich due to a Lufthansa strike and arrived safely in Manchester. Cost £250 plus another £100 for a large 230-100 Volt transformer. Our plumber was bemused but fitted it just fine. I’m really very pleased with it, the self-lifting lid when you go in the room never gets old, and the heated seat is probably one of Japan’s best kept secrets of living to 100+, especially on cold winter nights!
            The only downside is everyone now wants to use the toilet in our ensuite when they visit!!

  5. We have stayed at the Marriott near Shinagawa metro (free shuttle from hotel, 5 minutes) & train to Haneda airport. Rooms are fine, suits even better. Western and Japanese breakfast service and Exec. lounge serving drinks and reasonable range of snacks etc. Very satisfactory.

  6. Rob

    I’m about to book Conrad algarve. I found best price was direct and although I have a HH account I have no status with Hilton. Any suggestions on where I should post any reward points straight to HH? I am accor silver but as a family don’t massively stay in Hilton or Conrad. Intact this will be the first time in a Conrad. Thanks

    • I’ve booked using points plus a cash upgrade, to a suite in July, which seemed a good option.
      My last Conrad stay was Rangali last Easter.

      • So if I credit points I gain this time I could use them for points plus cash in future bookings?

        • Gareth says:

          Do a status challenge (you get 90 days in the improved status so time it well) then you will get some perks.

    • Genghis says:

      Or sign up to Amex Plat for a month or so, bag the points and get Hilton Gold. That’ll save a few €€€ on breakfast.

      • There isn’t a lounge at the alagrave Conrad , so the Amex plat route for gold is your best option imo 😉

      • MattyS says:

        How long does HH gold status last for via Amex Plat, assuming not going to be using it often enough to earn it ?

        • Genghis says:

          Depending when you apply 1-2 years

          • when then to apply to get two years?

          • I upgraded my wife to Hilton Gold last week via Amex Plat and it is good to March 2019.

          • MattyS says:

            Thanks Ghengis. Applied for the status 10 days ago, hoping it might last into autumn 2018 for a planned trip.

          • Does anyone know how long does the Hotel Status upgrade take when applied via Amex Platinum benefits. It has been a week but other than initial email I have not heard anything.

            Also for some hotels I let Amex create new account for me.
            Is that going to delay signup to status upgrade?

          • I’d say always best to create the account yourself first, not sure it definitely delays things but definitely can cause problems if they’ve made any mistakes with your data in the initial setup, etc – much better to do it yourself then just give them the membership number to upgrade.

        • Genghis says:

          @Jimmy. 1 Jan is best time. All of that calendar year, all of next, till 31 March year after that.

          • Mikanchan says:

            How long does it take to get the upgrade to Hilton Gold via Amex Plat? I applied over 2 weeks ago and am still waiting. Have a Hilton stay booked for Friday so am really hoping it come through before then…

          • Not sure if there’s a regular cycle (& we were just lucky) but I applied for additional cardholder and it went through within 24h! Worth calling them to chase if it’s been a couple of weeks.

      • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

        Very good breakfast it is too

    • Even if you do ‘points and miles’ you will end up with a pile of points, just fewer than if you did ‘points and points’. As you can now use points for a discount on a room at roughly 0.3p per point I would be ambivalent between ‘points and points’ and ‘points and miles’ although P&P is a bit more valuable to me.

      • Although worth keeping an eye out for regular miles bonuses which can shift the equation in favour of miles. Just be sure to switch mileage earning partner prior to making booking or at the hotel itself, changing your preferred programme on the website after having placed a booking doesn’t count!

  7. We went to Tokyo 3 years ago at this time. I stayed out at Narita as we had 7 day first class train passes. It was not convenient but the cost savings are huge with rooms at the crown plaza all under £60/£70. It takes about 45 mins to an 1 hour to get in and out of Tokyo which is expensive without a rail pass.
    I found keeping away from Central Tokyo Osaka meant costs were not unreasonable especially given the service and quality.

  8. I stayed at InterContinental The Strings a few years ago and liked it. It’s not as central but there’s a walkway to Shonagawa station where the Narita Express stops. You can get to a lot of the tourists sites by train (which is included if you have a JR pass) and the bullet trains stop there too.

  9. We stayed in Hilton Tokyo last November. Was great !
    Upgraded in a suite, nice buffet for Breakfast.
    The Lounge was kid of smallish, but we had plenty of drink and food.
    http://www3.hilton.com/en/hotels/japan/hilton-tokyo-TYOHITW/index.html

    • We also stayed at the Hilton Tokyo for 5 nights in early April this year. Lounge was impressive (in fact 2 lounges) and a good, if not slightly too busy, breakfast offering. Similar to Rob, no upgrade from a standard room even though I’m HH Diamond.

      From memory I think the Hilton is around the 70,000 point mark, so we chose there as it effectively meant we could stay and extra night for the same cost as the Conrad.

      • Im here at Hilton Tokyo now, also for 5 nights – and i agree about the lounge
        Standard room was 50K points per night, and with the HHonors 5th night deal, thrown in for free, though i did get an upgrade

        this hotel is the only Hilton i’ve stayed in, in Japan and it is spotless, the service from all the staff is just amazing, nothing is too much trouble, its very handy to get from/to

        i’f you don’t want the “excitement” of the monorail/subway at ¥650-700, the Airport Limousine (orange/creme buses) service will take to to the door for most hotels – Hilton Tokyo was about ¥1200 and about an hour – though clearly with kids in tow, a taxi was a saner option

        • May I ask, what ages are your kids? I’ve been there many times (love it) but am keen to bring my own family but reckon they’re too young.

          PS How is the new pool/gym/sauna facilities upgrade? I understand they just reopened after 6-8 weeks closure.

          PPS – whats wrong the Exec lounge? Its fab! (and the ‘fresh’ orange juice in the lounge in the mornings is yum – you’ll never drink that tropicana trash ever again – I had it then had full breakfast offering downstairs)

          • 5 and 9. My kids are already used to long flights, though, which may make a difference. I wouldn’t have done it last year when the youngest was 4, purely because he would have been less interested in everything (and his legs were shorter!).

        • We took the limousine bus back to haneda, although I assume the hilton is one of the first hotels on the route, as it took nearly 90 minutes to Haneda, so wasn’t thrilled.

          One small tip we only realised on the last night was that you can access the nishi-shinjuku subway station without actuall walking outside by going directly through the hiltontopia shopping centre. The hotel also do a semi regular shuttle to shinjuku station too which is handy – especially as it’s complimentary!

    • Does anyone have any experience of the Hilton Tokyo Odaiba? I am flying into Tokyo in November planning to stay 5 nights then travel a bit before coming back and staying for 3 nights before flying home. Currently have the Odaiba booked for the 5 nights then then the Hilton Tokyo for the 3.

      • too many nights in Odaiba – its the least appealing part of Tokyo – personally I’d skip it. 8 nights too much in Tokyo fullstop (IMO) – so much to see beyond…including Kyoto, Hiroshima, Nara etc etc etc

        But Hilton Shinjuku is the best Hilton group hotel in Tokyo when lounge, location, price (in points) etc is all factored in.

        • Thanks Jimmy. We are travelling in between and go down to Kyoto, Osaka and Hiroshima. We also plan to use Tokyo as a base to travel out. We were already thinking of swapping the hotel so will do so.

  10. I like the Westin. Ebisu is definitely not the most exciting area, but there are shopping and dining opportunities at Yebisu Garden Place and the far side of Ebisu station is quite bustling. The hotel isn’t very Japanese in design, sure, but the Western chains in Tokyo tend not to be and my rooms have always been decently sized and comfortable.

    I thought about the Park Hyatt for the last trip but the location isn’t ideal and residual familiarity with the Ebisu area won the day.

  11. Not sure why you would want to spend time in a lounge in a city like Tokyo when there is so much great food and things to see?

    We had 4 days there and still didnt see it all. Would love to go back and explore more.

    • Need to pace yourself with little kids in tow.

    • TOTALLY AGREE. Tokyo is awash with amazing food. No Tokyo hotel lounge comes close. Its a sin to sit in one.

      • We found quite a comfortable routine of doing a days sightseeing, visiting the lounge for an hour or so at 6pm for a few drinks, then heading out to a nearby restaurant for dinner. Tokyo can be an expensive city – so it was nice to have a few gin and tonics without thinking about the cost!

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