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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

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

….. 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.

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Comments

  1. We’very stayed at the Grand Hyatt twice and really liked it. I feel it’s better for business than leisure as the standard rooms are a little austere (bathrooms are fantastic, though!) but the level of service is second to none and the fact that it’s attached to the mall is very convenient. Roppongi isn’t my favourite area, though. On our last trip we booked the Shinjuku Granbell and opted for one of their premium rooms as it was still cheaper than the Grand Hyatt. The room and view was fantastic, and we preferred the vibrancy of the area (it’s probably not entirely family friendly, however!) I did miss the service of the Grand Hyatt, but our room was so nice it made up for it. I think we’ll stay there again on our next trip.

    • We loved the Shinjuku Granbell – had a suite with outdoor bath and the views from the floor-to-ceiling windows spectacular!

  2. The Conrad has been a solid option pretty much since it opened. I also like IC The Strings a lot (not the ANA IC, however, a lot of very dated rooms there).

    At the luxury end, the new Prince Gallery and the Andaz are both superb. Never stayed at the RC but it consistently gets good reviews also. You are basically spoilt for choice in Tokyo and if willing to pay cash the list of superb hotels gets even longer.

  3. William says:

    My view is that Hilton could improve its lounge facilities hugely by cutting out the afternoon teas and the early evening hot food. The lounges just become over busy with people scrounging free food. This is what the hotel restaurants are for. Better to have just drinks and small items available all day.

    • Genghis says:

      The Conrad Singapore lounge felt like an old persons home / GP surgery waiting room with people scrounging free (not that good) food

    • “people scrounging free food” – precisely. amazing that people trek half way round the world to Tokyo and then choose to eat cack (because its ‘free’)

      • 1. You’d hope the food in a 5 star hotel would be better than “cack”
        2. If your redeeming for points (which many HfP readers will be) then it’s not automatic that you’ve got incredibly deep pockets and saving £50-100 on a meal out and drinks can mean the funds for other attractions.

  4. @Rob
    Rob, did you consider Hilton Tokyo? I thought that was a more reasonable choice as rooms can be had for 50,000-60,000 points mark?

  5. krys_k says:

    I stayed on a tiny air bnb flat – incredibly small in Shinjuku, worth doing just to see how many Japanese live. It was rather expensive and poor quality. Did the same in Kyoto. Honestly, next time will pay more to get the creature comforts from a hotel. Best place I’ve stayed was a Ryokan in an Onsen village. Better than any hotel anywhere in the world.

    • Genghis says:

      Which onsen village and ryokan? Can you remember?

      • krys_k says:

        Yes indeed. The village is Shibu Onsen, from memory, it has 11 public Onsen and at night the cobblestone streets lit by gaslight are incredibly picturesque. We went there because of the snow monkeys that swim in their own Onsen in wintertime. There are lots of Ryokan in the town and we stayed at Shuman No Yado Sakaeya. It’s marked as three star, and if that’s the case it smashes many a five star hotel out of the water.

        • Genghis says:

          Thanks for the tip. I have been there without realising it since I walked from Jigokudani back to Yudanaka. Beautiful area and a different side of Japan.

          • I can highly recommend Hiiragiya ryokan in Kyoto. Stayed there two nights and the service was out of this world. They struck the balance between being attentive and giving some space and privacy brilliantly.

            The 12 course Kaiseki dinner was also lovely too (think it does or at least did have a Michelin star). Unlike anything I’ve ever eaten.

    • how much was the airbnb in Shinjuku?

  6. What's the Point says:

    The Conrad Seoul has an outstanding exec lounge with amazing views.

    The best heated/automated toilet seat I have ever sat on was the WA in Shanghai – maybe it was the jet lag, but it truly was a highlight of my trip to China.

    • Agreed. Love the Conrad Seoul. Always my go to when in Seoul. Used to be a steal on C+P.

      • What's the Point says:

        You are not wrong, that’s how we booked and I am sure it was around £80 cash plus 32,000 points. But that we pre-brexit vote

    • Curious says:

      My highlight was the Maglev! (amazing dumplings aside)

      Am positive it was faster on the return leg to the airport. Maybe the driver was finishing his shift….!

  7. lucinda says:

    Forget scrounging for a few points/airmiles…if its luxury you want the best hotel in Tokyo for quality and service is the Palace.
    It makes the big brash hyatt ropungi look like a premier inn.

    • Roppongi is a (sleazy tedious ex-pat) Dubai of Tokyo. I appreciate Rob is a fan of Dubai so can understand why he might like the Hyatt there.

      Speak to any Japanese asking for genuine travel tips and you won’t hear the word ‘Roppongi’.

      • That’s like saying you wouldn’t stay in a hotel at, say, Westfield Stratford because boys of Stratford are dodgy.

        There is nothing even remotely dodgy about the Roppongi Hills luxury mall, where the hotel is, or the 5 min walk down to Roppongi subway station.

        • I think Roppongi is really a place of two halves. Luxury hotels and shops, but also one of the spots with highest levels of crime in Japan – very different place at 1am than it is at 1pm!

        • A mall? Sorry I don’t go to Japan to visit a mall, luxury or otherwise. I appreciate others do (and in Dubai also). However if you go out at night in Roppongi, you can’t fail to spot what I was originally referring to.

      • ankomonkey says:

        ‘The Pong’… When I were a lad Shibuya was where it was at. Anyone here been to the Atom nightclub?

  8. We stayed at the Park Hyatt as a family three years ago. Paid money for it, no status.

    We loved it there. Huge room, pool is great and the ‘Lost In Translation’ bar gorgeous. Breakfast lovely but very pricey. There are cheaper options in the basement of the tower building as well as a very good noodle bar (the kids enjoyed them watching them make the noodles).

  9. The Hilton Tokyo is my go to in Tokyo. Much better value for what you get and when you stay there more often staff get to know you in the lounge. Great food and drinks all day in the lounge but this is Tokyo, who is going to try and have dinner in the lounge?

  10. Slight OT but Hilton related. Thinking to go for Hilton gold/diamond 90 Days challenge. However may I ask book a stay booked via Hilton free night certificate or part point and cash option would consider qualify for the challenge?

    Also got friends visiting Europe soon, can I book hilton room for them without my presence but count for the challenge?

  11. When is the next Hilton sale expected?

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