Today, our ‘My Favourite Hotel’ review is from Tokyo.
We are currently running this reader-written feature to provide some positivity and inspiration to Head for Points. You can find all of the ‘My Favourite Hotel’ reviews so far by clicking here. This was scheduled to be a series of about 25 hotels, but a good response from readers means that we have commissioned another batch and are continuing the series.
Today’s hotel is The Peninsula Hotel in Tokyo. It is reader Kieren’s favourite hotel and here is his review:
My partner and I stayed at The Peninsula Tokyo for 8 nights in May 2018. We first visited Tokyo in April 2017 as part of a Japan – Vietnam holiday, during which time Tokyo solidified itself as one of our favourite cities in the world.
Owing to our fondness for Tokyo we were keen to explore the hotel scene while also looking for something that was well situated and gave us easy access to the many sites we wanted to visit. We knew that The Peninsula chain was a leading premium hotel brand but had never yet committed to staying with them. However, knowing that we were visiting Japan’s capital again, having read more than one very favourable reviews and been captivated by the brand and reputation of The Peninsula globally, we decided to book!
Getting to The Peninsula
Tokyo has two major airports: Tokyo International Airport (more well known as Haneda Airport) and Narita. Both offer various ways to get to The Peninsula Tokyo e.g. by train, bus, taxi or private transfer. We arranged a private transfer from Haneda Airport to the hotel which took around 13 minutes (16km).
The Peninsula Tokyo is located in the Marunouchi district, a stones throw away from uber chic Ginza, and (very importantly for our purposes) a 3 minute walk to Hankyu Men’s – Japan’s sensational offering to men who enjoy floor after floor of nothing but the latest menswear. It is also situated directly opposite from the Imperial Palace, with many of its rooms offering a bird eye view of the royal complex.
Upon arrival, we were greeted by two majestic stone lions, the familiar guards of The Peninsula’s hotels. Both lions were flanked by members of hotel staff dressed in pristine white uniforms, who beckoned us into the hotel lobby.
As can be seen in the picture below, the lobby is quite impressive. The walk towards check-in takes you down a central walk-way where you are flanked by hotel guests who quietly go about their business (business meetings or indeed, enjoying Afternoon Tea in The Lobby restaurant). A special comment needs to be made about the hanabi chandelier that guests walk under as they head towards the check-in desk – it really is exquisite.
We were escorted to the check-in desk which was tucked discreetly into the back-left hand corner of the lobby and were greeted by hotel staff with a customary bow and warm welcome to the hotel. After a very efficient check-in, we were led over to the elevators by an elegantly dressed lady who ushered us inside before stepping back from the doors and bowing until the doors closed.
In Tokyo hotel rooms are generally on the smaller side owing to the extreme lack of space and high land prices. That said, we were quite simply blown away by our room!
Upon entering we were greeted by a long and spacious hallway which led to a large bathroom and walk-in closet on the left- and right-hand side, respectively. The hallway ended by opening out onto a very well-proportioned bedroom and living room, with beautiful views out over the roofs of the imperial complex.
There is a short video of the room at the bottom of this review
(EDIT by Rob: What Kieren doesn’t mention, but which I loved when I stayed here, is the two-way wardrobe cupboard which staff can access from the corridor outside your room. You can get undressed at night, place your shirt in the two-way wardrobe, ring down to tell the staff what you’ve done, and when you wake up in the morning you open the wardrobe to find a washed and ironed shirt waiting for you. It is an amazing service and allowed me to survive on just hand baggage for 5 nights.)
As the main purpose for our visit to The Peninsula Tokyo was using it as a base for us to explore the city, we did not use the relaxation facilities on offer but there were many: a spa; fitness centre; and pool are all available to those looking to relax or keep up their fitness routine.
Food and drink
While we tended to eat out of the hotel for most of our meals, The Peninsula Tokyo offers several dining options.
The Lobby restaurant is the first place that guests come in contact with – they walk through it on a central walkway as they enter the hotel.
We ate breakfast there almost every morning, taking advantage of the many offerings available. Diners keen on developing their palette could explore the Japanese option of exquisitely cooked fish accompanied by fragrant rice, pickled vegetables and a restorative broth.
On the other hand, those that wished to indulge their sweet tooth could peruse the many pastries on offer by the expert hands of the waiting staff, or dive into the rich French toast with perfectly sweet and sour fruits (which is a must!)
Another option is Hei Fung Terrace, a Cantonese restaurant designed to mimic the gardens of Suzhou. We visited the restaurant to enjoy Yum Cha (afternoon tea) one afternoon and were not disappointed. Each dish was perfectly presented in its own compartment atop a tiered stand which was a very nice touch to a traditional menu.
Additional options for dining include the hotel’s luxury grill restaurant, Peter, and Peter: The Bar, which offers sensational views of Tokyo’s skyline.
A note on service
One thing that we have come to admire and respect is the Japanese attention to detail. We have been fortunate to have visited some incredible cities and stayed at some of the leading names in the hotel world, but few experiences come close to how things are done at The Peninsula Tokyo.
Whether you are eating at one of the restaurants, or simply passing time by sitting in the lobby watching guests come and go, nothing escapes the hotel staff’s gaze. Staff members were warm and friendly, always on hand to take questions if and when we had any and executed their day-to-day duties with a degree of diligence and precision that commanded admiration.
The Peninsula Tokyo is by far one of our favourite hotels and this is for two important reasons: the Peninsula’s brand (which we have long admired) and the way that its staff represent the brand. There is something quite special about The Peninsula Tokyo which is difficult to describe, but hopefully this article goes some way to communicating the fantastic experience that a stay there promises. In short, we will be going back soon and hope that others will enjoy their stay as much as we did!
The Peninsula Hotel Tokyo website is here if you want to find out more.
How to book
You can get extra bonuses when booking The Peninsula Tokyo if you book via Emyr Thomas at Bon Vivant, HFP’s luxury hotel booking partner.
Bookings made via Emyr come with:
- Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
- American Breakfast at The Lobby for two guests per bedroom daily
- $100 equivalent food & beverage credit, to be utilized during stay
- “Peninsula Time” – Flexible check-in and check-out times to suit your needs
- Complimentary wi-fi
You will pay the same as the ‘Best Flexible Rate’ shown on the Peninsula website, and you pay at the hotel as usual.
Don’t forget that The Peninsula London is currently under construction at Hyde Park Corner, next to The Lanesborough, and due to open in 2021/22.
And a video …..
Kieren took a short video of their room which we’ve uploaded to the Head for Points YouTube channel:
Hotel offers update – October 2021:
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