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.
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.
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:
This is a more cliched stock picture of the exterior:
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 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.
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:
…. and here are my unofficial ones:
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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:
…. 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.
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.
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.
How to earn Hilton Honors points and status from UK credit cards (September 2022)
There are various ways of earning Hilton Honors points from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.
Do you know that holders of The Platinum Card from American Express receive FREE Hilton Honors Gold status for as long as they hold the card? It also comes with Marriott Bonvoy Gold, Radisson Rewards Gold and MeliaRewards Gold status. We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here and you can apply here.
EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.
Did you know that the Virgin Atlantic credit cards are a great way of earning Hilton Honors points? Two Virgin Points can be converted into three Hilton Honors points. The Virgin Atlantic cards are the only Visa or Mastercard products in the UK which can indirectly earn Hilton Honors points. You can apply here.
You can also earn Hilton Honors points indirectly with:
- American Express Gold (20,000 bonus Amex points)
- American Express Rewards Credit Card (10,000 bonus Amex points)
and for small business owners:
- American Express Business Gold (20,000 bonus Amex points)
- American Express Business Platinum (40,000 bonus Amex points)
The conversion rate from American Express to Hilton points is 1:2.
(Want to earn more hotel points? Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)