‘My Favourite Hotel’ review – The Peninsula, Tokyo

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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 PointsYou 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:

Overview

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.

Review The Peninsula Tokyo hotel

Arrival

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.

Review The Peninsula Tokyo hotel

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.

Our room

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.

Review The Peninsula Tokyo hotel

and

Review The Peninsula Tokyo hotel

and

Review The Peninsula Tokyo hotel

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!)

Facilities

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.

Review The Peninsula Tokyo hotel

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!)

Review The Peninsula Tokyo hotel

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.

Conclusion

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.

You can contact Emyr via the form on this page of Head for Points.

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:

(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. Xijia says:

    “We went to enjoy Yum Cha” this was kind of jarring to read. Might I suggest eliminating the word enjoy as we don’t use Yum cha in that grammatical sense 🙂 you could also phrase it as “we went for Yum Cha” and it sounds much better 🙂

    Tokyo is one of my favourite cities and I enjoyed this review, altho I prefer staying at Kabukicho in Shinjuku. It’s crazy, noisy and messy but I find it very charming. Not to mention all the shopping and eating places are all there so I don’t even need to hop on the train! Got all the tourist attractions done the first time so now when I visit it’s definitely for shopping and eating.

  2. Andrew says:

    And the price?

    • I was rather wondering that too

      • It’s Peninsula, if you need to ask ….

        However, they have always run decent free night offers as the other comment mentioned. They also run aggressive deals on suites much of the time. I can’t remember what I paid when I went but it won’t have been hugely out of line with Park Hyatt, Four Seasons etc or I wouldn’t have done it.

    • I also want to know this info, it is useful as a guide whether to explore the possibility that I might afford it or whether it’s out of my price range.

      That said a quick search on Google reveals Expedia, Hotels.com and a few others will book you a deluxe room either double or twin bed for £415 per night for a stay on 7 July. There are some prices as “low” as £361 on some web sites I don’t recognise.

      • A more accurate comparison would be how much more it is than, say, the Conrad / Grand Hyatt / InterCon ANA, as Tokyo prices are all over the place over a 12 month period.

        • Possibly, that’s better than no price indication but that assumes you know the price of the other hotels you mention. I’ve never been to Tokyo or Japan so have no idea of prices except that I know Japan is a pricey country in general.

          • marcw says:

            Japan is not pricey at all – of course, if you want a western like experience, then yes, your bill will increase exponentially (western style food is quite pricey in Japan). The US is way more expensive.

        • marcw says:

          Japan hotel prices are not all over the place. Only for international chains. If you stick to Japanese brands/chains, prices can be quite affordable. AND there are japanese luxury brands as well , like Hoshinoya. And middle tier chains can be quite excellent, especially if they are new-builds (for the Olympics, Japan built so many new hotels). In November 19 I stayed in Oriental Hotel Kyoto Rokujo – paid peanuts, literally (I think 30€ for a double room with breakfast),which was excellent. I’ve stayed in worse Crowne Plazas/Hilton hotels.

          • Quite but that doesn’t mean that a stay at the Peninsula Tokyo is going to be possible for €30. I doubt you’d get breakfast for that, let alone a couple of cocktails at one of its bars. Kieren the reviewer posted that he paid £500 per night which suggests that even £415 that I found online is unrealistic. My point was it would be helpful to know roughly what the prices of the hotel being reviewed are likely to be and comparing to another chain is helpful insofar as you may already know what they charge. Of course you can find a deal, and get it cheaper or go local (my preference). It all depends on what you value something at. Personally I think £415 or £500 per night for a double bed and / or breakfast is pushing it but then again it is the Peninsula. I also tend to do a minimum of 10 nights on holiday and I don’t travel on business so a one night stay isn’t going to do it for me even just to experience it.

          • marcw says:

            AJA – my point was that international chains (in Japan) tend to charge a lot, compared with japanese luxury chains. Check out Hoshinoya… if booked well in advance, you can get a room for about 300GBP. And my second point was, that even middle tier chains, in my experience, tend to offer a better service/product compared to EU or US chains – not that they are comparable to high-end luxury.
            But I agree, an approximate rate, + comparison with similar hotels, would be a good idea (for us, readers) to have a better big-picture.

          • Lady London says:

            Which booking channels are you using for these more reasonable Japanese hotels?

          • marcw says:

            LadyLondon, for Hoshinoya you just use the “not so user friendly” Hoshinoya website. The others, I just used eBookers, Agoda and Trip.

          • Lady London says:

            thanks @marcw

    • Kieren says:

      In Japan, hotels attract an additional 15% service charge and 8% consumption tax on top of your room rate. Many hotels do not include breakfast. We paid just over £500 per night.

  3. That French Toast looks amazing! I love French Toast!!!

  4. Kevin C says:

    We stayed summer 2018 thanks to Emyr who booked.

    The hotel is close by a branch of Bic camera, a huge electronics department store if that’s more your style.

    A buffet breakfast in the cafe downstairs was offered as an alternative to a la carte at weekends (probably not now).

    We used the pool and it’s lovely with loungers around it and views of the Imperial Palace.

    The Chinese restaurant is really expensive. I mean really expensive. The bar on the top floor is beautiful and has a happy hour. There are cheap noodle bars and yakitori places very nearby.

    The hotel is currently running free night offers.

  5. “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.”

    Isn’t this just every single Japanese person?

  6. I have to agree with some of the other comments – it is worth adding a “Rough price figure per night” for each of the hotel reviews, as it helps determine whether it would be worth staying or not..

  7. Patrick says:

    Delighted to see this, the Peninsula Tokyo is easily one of my favourite hotels ever, strong memories over a decade after staying there. I would suggest relying on the concierge for dinner recommendations, they can get you a table at some of the best restaurants in the world, and not necessarily the obvious ones either but small sushi places that Michelin etc might miss; although the meal may cost the same as a night’s stay at the hotel.

  8. Chris says:

    Who chooses their hotel based on the proximity to a specific shop?!?! I mean would people really come to London for a week and choose the hotel that’s closest to Harrods?

    • marcw says:

      People that have plenty of cash.

      • Not necessarily – a lot of people seem to enjoy going shopping on holiday, which I have never understood! A lot of people do it when going to NYC.

        • marcw says:

          I do shopping as well when on holidays… but I don’t chose my hotel based on a specific shop. That’s what Chris was referring.

          • For a lot of people shopping can be an important component of the holiday, so why not book a hotel in close proximity? Is it any different to booking one close to the beach given that not everyone likes sunbathing?! People book hotels based on where they want to be!

          • One of the key reasons I like IC Le Grand in Paris is that it is 30 seconds from Galeries Lafayette ….

    • Plenty of people. That’s why Mandarin Oriental took the lease on the hotel opposite Harvey Nichols (and so 2 minutes from Harrods) and why Dubai hotel group Jumeirah took over not one but two hotels within 5 minutes walk of Harrods.

      • Chris says:

        Don’t get me wrong i understand being close to the shopping district, but who spends more than one day in a single shop?!

        Just feels choosing location to be close to a specific thing you’ll at best go to once during a week long trip is a strange choice

        • Kieren says:

          That is, in general, accurate if you are in a city for the first time i.e. your priorities are likely going to be sight seeing and trying out local cuisines. That was my fourth time in Tokyo. Also, Hankyu Mens consists of 9 floors of everything for men, bigger than London’s Selfridges and Harvey Nichols. There is nothing quite like this store. We normally spend hours in each visit and would return multiple times during one trip. It is really not dissimilar to someone spending the entire week of their holiday within a resort hotel complex and never venturing out or only taking short excursions to local sites.

        • Kieren says:

          Also due to limitation on word count for the article, I did not mention that The Peninsula Tokyo is situated above an underground station. It has one private exit/entrance in the lower ground level which takes you directly to the underground station. This makes the rest of Tokyo very accessible. Summer in Tokyo can be scorching hot, so being familiar with the different exits for an underground station means we can dodge the heat. The private exit/entrance to the hotel is really very handy.

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