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Forums Hotel loyalty schemes IHG One Rewards InterContinental hotels in Tokyo – best option?

  • AndyUK101 55 posts

    Looking at a 5 night stay next year around Cherry blossom season and mixed views on the best IC option for a touristy type stay

    The Strings looks nice but poor feedback on the location for tourists which narrows it to the ANA and the Bay i think

    Will be looking to use a suite upgrade voucher and probably do some day trips to other parts of Japan so close proximity to the Shinkansen would be helpful

    TIA

    SRF. 48 posts

    I stayed in ANA Intercontinental Tokyo about 10 years ago as a tourist. From memory it was a very nice hotel. The draw was it was next to nothing but near to everything – due to very close proximity to an underground station which meant you could easily use the tube, JR and shinkansen.

    Also, anecdotally, it was the receptionist at this hotel that told me about the IHG loyalty scheme – having booked on Expedia – and ultimately started me on this whole points and air miles whirlwind.

    I owe a lot to that man who I think was mainly trying to practice his english 🙂

    Blair Waldorf Salad 1,148 posts

    The ANA has oodles of room types and the entry level rooms look like they haven’t been refurbished since 1988. Yellowing plastic countertops in the bathroom and the tub itself. Overall a retro depressing affair. So you need to go well up the room categories to buy your way out of that. Breakfast buffet is great and varied but runs to some very fussy rules. Overseen by a series of European tall model type women who we labelled the Cup Nazis as they wouldn’t give you a hot drink refill unless you handed over the cup you were currently drinking from. The food prices on-site generally are astronomical. But it is attached to a small shopping/restaurant centre where prices are far more reasonable. There’s an entrance to Tameike-sanno station in that complex of buildings too so easy enough to get around.

    meta 1,459 posts

    The Strings is the only one worth it. Their rooms are newer, but then again not many facility. If you plan to travel elsewhere in Japan, it’s also conveniently attached to Shinagawa shinkansen station. You’re also only 20 minutes from Ginza, but it is far from Shinjuku, etc.

    There is a new Kimpton in Shinjuku of IHG. Will tell you more in a few months if I manage to stay there.

    Otherwise Conrad and Hilton are much better placed than any of the ICs.

    Rob
    HfP Staff
    2,283 posts

    We reviewed the ANA back in 2017 – https://www.headforpoints.com/2017/05/22/review-ana-intercontinental-tokyo-hotel/

    Wasn’t great but apparently the Club levels were refurbished not long after. Not sure about the rest of it.

    AndyUK101 55 posts

    Some quick maths, about £1000 – £1200 ish for a basic room with a couple of hundred pounds of value from a suite upgrade voucher with IHG or top up my HH account for around £700 and book 5 nights at the Conrad for 380k points in an entry-level room

    Diamond in both IHG & HH

    Had ruled the strings and Kimpton out but given the comment on proximity to the Shinkansen and the comments above, they might be an option, visiting in early April so figured a couple of day trips to either Osaka, Kyoto or Sendai would be required

    Thanks all

    BJ 659 posts

    My belated 2p worth: Tokyo or Strings out of IHG. Tokyo is better located and has a lounge but uninspiring rooms. Strings is much nicer but does not have a lounge and apart from convenience for train to/from Haneda, and to other parts of the city /country Shinagawa is far from the best place for visitors to base themselves in Tokyo. I agree with @meta that Shinjuku or Ginza are best as they gice you a better feel for the city and are good for exploring other areas too. My preference is Shinjuku, I have two reasons for that independent of the area itself. Firstly, you can take the Airport Limousine bus service directly to/from terminals to/from Hilton Tokyo; apart from a taxi this bus is IMO the most comfortable and convenient way to arrive and depart Tokyo with bags. Secondly, if you want to visit Hakone/Fuji even if just for a day trip then the most comfortable way to do this is using the Romance Car train service that operates out of Shinjuku Station (note that you cannot use JRpass on this train, I advise you plan trip carefully to check if JRpass works for you. As a rule of tnumb if you plan to go from Tokyo to Osaka or the likes as a return then the pass will work but if uding only one way then check if individual tickets needed are a better option. Local express trains can be fab and are much less expensive and often even more convenient than Shinkasen). Back to hotels. In Shinjuku Hilton Tokyo will cost you 280,000 points tops for 5 nights with 5 for 4 while the new Kimpton would be about 340,000 for 5 nights based on prices I was seeing for our next trip. I was all set to try it at 32k/night on this years trip but it was cancelled, not so happy to psy 68k/night. I can do a lot more damage with 340,000 IHG points elsewhere than I can with 280,000 Hilton points so Hilton Tokyo for me again. If you are not going to be in your room much, want to experience small basic Tokyo rooms in great location, and save your points for another day then I recommend you consider Ibis Ginza. I am seriously considering this, but not telling my partnef until arrival 🙂

    Dace 52 posts

    My belated 2p worth: Tokyo or Strings out of IHG. Tokyo is better located and has a lounge but uninspiring rooms. Strings is much nicer but does not have a lounge and apart from convenience for train to/from Haneda, and to other parts of the city /country Shinagawa is far from the best place for visitors to base themselves in Tokyo. I agree with @meta that Shinjuku or Ginza are best as they gice you a better feel for the city and are good for exploring other areas too. My preference is Shinjuku, I have two reasons for that independent of the area itself. Firstly, you can take the Airport Limousine bus service directly to/from terminals to/from Hilton Tokyo; apart from a taxi this bus is IMO the most comfortable and convenient way to arrive and depart Tokyo with bags. Secondly, if you want to visit Hakone/Fuji even if just for a day trip then the most comfortable way to do this is using the Romance Car train service that operates out of Shinjuku Station (note that you cannot use JRpass on this train, I advise you plan trip carefully to check if JRpass works for you. As a rule of tnumb if you plan to go from Tokyo to Osaka or the likes as a return then the pass will work but if uding only one way then check if individual tickets needed are a better option. Local express trains can be fab and are much less expensive and often even more convenient than Shinkasen). Back to hotels. In Shinjuku Hilton Tokyo will cost you 280,000 points tops for 5 nights with 5 for 4 while the new Kimpton would be about 340,000 for 5 nights based on prices I was seeing for our next trip. I was all set to try it at 32k/night on this years trip but it was cancelled, not so happy to psy 68k/night. I can do a lot more damage with 340,000 IHG points elsewhere than I can with 280,000 Hilton points so Hilton Tokyo for me again. If you are not going to be in your room much, want to experience small basic Tokyo rooms in great location, and save your points for another day then I recommend you consider Ibis Ginza. I am seriously considering this, but not telling my partnef until arrival 🙂

    Strings does have a lounge, I think they added it in 2018.

    As for Tokyo, I have got the Strings booked for April 2023 at 38k points per night. I initially wanted the ANA but after looking at my routes the Strings worked better due to it’s location to the train station.

    Guernsey Globetrotter 602 posts

    If you are not going to be in your room much, want to experience small basic Tokyo rooms in great location, and save your points for another day then I recommend you consider Ibis Ginza. I am seriously considering this, but not telling my partnef until arrival 🙂


    @BJ
    – you are brave ! One of the first reviews I found of Ibis Ginza on Tripadvisor said “I am not exaggerating to state that the double room is not fit for two people with one or two suitcases. I have seen rooms where people have put some of the furniture from the room outside their door. We could not find space to open a suitcase and still move about so had to open one at a time by placing it on the bed. Furthermore, there is no cupboard space and only space for a few hangers on the wall.”

    That certainly would not make for a happy ending if I sprung this sort of accommodation on Mrs T!

    BJ 659 posts

    Thanks @Dace, I didn’t know about The Strings lounge.

    LOL @Guernsey, I know it! I got similar at Prince Shinjuku (I don’t recommend it at all!) about two decades ago and paid a small fortune for it. It was actually worse than my first year uni hall room back in the 80s. My advice to both solos and couples travelling to Japan is to always book a twin room if staying budget, even if it costs a little more. Solos need the extra bed to stow their stuff and couples need it to stow their other half is about the politest way I can think of to put it.

    AndyUK101 55 posts

    I was a little disappointed the Kimpton wasn’t included in the recent IHG flash sale but i’ve spread my bets on this one

    Base level rooms and entry level suites reserved at the Bay and Ana along with a couple of nights in the Kimpton Hakone, IC Osaka and then the Conrad on points as a backup in case the IHG plan doesnt work out

    Thanks for the input all

    Reney 781 posts

    @meta Did you end up trying the Kimpton then? I am interested in feedback on location, it doesn’t sound all that great from trip advisor.

    Hiltons are all sold out apparently…

    I have enough IHG points (at the moment based on today’s redemption prices) for any of the IHG hotels, but all the info here just got me more confused. I am staying in Tokyo for the start and end of my trip so focusing on convenience to get to and from HND and a bit of Tokyo sight seeing. plan to spend the bulk of the middle in either Okaka, Kobe or Kyoto – any suggestions? Stayed in Kyoto before, Osaka has more points options. Thoughts pls.

    meta 1,459 posts

    There is somewhere here my review of it. I’ve now stayed three times.

    I love the rooms and the views from Premium rooms overlooking the skyline, but there are no additional facilities. No pool, no sento, no spa. If you’re staying more than 5 nights, the breakfast can get boring. However, it’s the most civilised breakfast ever in any chain hotel that I’ve been to. No buffets. The buffet is brought to you on the table (similar to Domes during covid) and the quality of ingredients is high. Then you can order one hot dish from the menu. Everything on the list is delicious. For some items you need to pay extra, like latte is an extra ¥300, but hot milk is free so you can make your own. Juice option is ice.

    The staff are really friendly, but they go by the book in terms of benefits. Although, they did give me extra drink vouchers on the second visit. The third time, they gave me a room on the opposite side with no view, so I went back and asked for a new room. Had to wait 15-20 minutes for them to get it ready and I was just keen to get into the room as I had been flying for 14h+ and really dying for the shower and sleep.

    The most important thing and this is what most complaints are about is the location and people not realising that it’s quite a distance to Shinjuku and all the action. You can get quite quickly by walking, but it’s a schlep if you have luggage. I’d take a taxi to/from Shinjuku station. It’s only ¥800-900. The iconic Park Hyatt is also just across the street and people never complained about its location!

    Also there is a bus station nearby which can drop you in Shibuya in 15-20 minutes if there’s no traffic.

    meta 1,459 posts

    @Reney when are you going? If next year after April, Hiltons haven’t released the schedule. Normally at 10 months for Conrad, 9-10 months in advance for Hilton.

    Dace 52 posts

    @meta Did you end up trying the Kimpton then? I am interested in feedback on location, it doesn’t sound all that great from trip advisor.

    Hiltons are all sold out apparently…

    I have enough IHG points (at the moment based on today’s redemption prices) for any of the IHG hotels, but all the info here just got me more confused. I am staying in Tokyo for the start and end of my trip so focusing on convenience to get to and from HND and a bit of Tokyo sight seeing. plan to spend the bulk of the middle in either Okaka, Kobe or Kyoto – any suggestions? Stayed in Kyoto before, Osaka has more points options. Thoughts pls.

    I stayed at the IC Osaka recently. That is a good hotel close to Osaka station so you can get about a bit
    Lounge staff are also helpful, breakfast in the lounge is better than downstairs and the afternoon tea is very good. During the evening you cannot make a dinner out of the food but they do serve Telmont and decent spirits.

    kjt 14 posts

    Had a night at the Intercontinental Yokohama last Tuesday . Great location on Tokyo bay with lots of good food options nearby . Prices are a lot lower than Tokyo (£135)and close to Haneda for the flight home .
    I am diamond Ambassador and got upgrade to premium room with breakfast 4 pm checkout and 2000¥ voucher for drinks.
    We used the limo bus from the hotel to airport .800¥ each .

    meta 1,459 posts

    Just realised you had the second question.

    Regarding Kyoto, I’ve stayed at:
    Park Hyatt Kyoto
    The Mitsui – Luxury Collection
    Ritz-Carlton Kyoto
    Hiyori Chapter
    Crowne Plaza Kyoto

    This is roughly the ranking from top to bottom for me. There is a new Hilton Garden in opening up and also LXR Roku on the outskirts.

    Park Hyatt is in the league of its own. I rank Mitsui above Ritz Carlton mainly due to a great breakfast (it’s either Japanese/American/Vegeterian brought to table) and the possibility to use SNAs which clear into beautiful suites which they call Junior Suites, but are in fact 1-bed ones and the spa is wow. However, Ritz-Carlton is best for location, though with Mitsui you’re in between. It’s also next to Crowne Plaza which is totally dated and breakfast is a bit meh. Hiyori Chapter is similar, but I rank it a bit above because it has nicer and newer rooms.

    In Osaka I stayed only at Holiday Inn&Suites Osaka Station for over 20 days and loved my huge king studio. I booked standard for cash at 7000 yen plus tax (9000 yen) per night and got upgraded to king studio. It’s 10-12-minutes walk to Osaka Station and you’re in Kyoto in less than 30 minutes if you take shinkansen to Kyoto station. £16 rtn. The last one back is around 11pm. However, there is nothing around – no nice restaurants, but two huge supermarkets nearby and two big Daiso.

    AndyUK101 55 posts

    Some great advice already and my 2p worth

    We ended up doing 11 nights in Tokyo, 4 at the IC Tokyo Bay (points) 5 at the Conrad (points) and 2 at the Kimpton (cash)

    Generally agree with all the previous feedback, the IC Bay is a nice modern hotel, basic lounge but decent food and bar options, a nice double upgrade to a spacious bay view room but nothing happening nearby and the facilities close early -the bar and restaurants were closed by 9pm some nights, takeshiba station is close by which gets you to Shimbashi pretty quickly, although not covered by JRPass

    The Conrad was excellent, big upgrade to a high floor bay view suite, slightly better connected with the ability to walk to Shimbashi via the underground from shiodome station, still a little out of the way but a good lounge, great bars and restaurants albeit very busy with locals at the weekend and a few events whilst we were there made it feel a little awkward at times

    Little disappointed in the Kimpton, a small room quite without much of a view and limited facilities, although a few were we talking to did mention some good value packages that we missed, a bit of a walk to the nightlife areas but not really an issue

    Mixture of day trips, nights out, and some time at the hotels relaxing, on reflection I would probably make the following changes next time

    Hilton Shinjuku over the Conrad, the Conrad was excellent but unless I was planning on spending a lot of time at the hotel Id rather be somewhere more central

    IC Tokyo bay over the other IHG properties, even though it is out of the way cabs were cheaper than expected which and it looks to be considerably cheaper than the others on points/cash

    meta 1,459 posts

    Regarding Kimpton Shinjuku – are you a Diamond? You should have insisted they put you in a premium room with a view (floors 10 and above).

    Unless you can read/speak Japanese, you won’t know about packages. They are primarily aimed at locals.

    Reney 781 posts

    Reviving an old thread, my trip is in April and I’m still struggling with my hotel decision.

    For my last 2 nights in Tokyo I have hyatt house in Shibuya booked, was attracted by the washing machine in each room. I also have aloft Ginza booked. I feel hyatt house rooms might be bigger but it is a 10 min walk from the station which feels far, vs aloft rooms likely to be tiny. I’m also already staying at Ginza for one night at the start of the trip so want maybe something different. I do have the IHG points for somewhere else but no location is making me super excited.

    Oh I should mention that I have 2 hyatt cat 1-4 voucher to use hence favouring hyatt place/houses.

    YC 225 posts

    Appreciate some thoughts too for my upcoming trip (infant in tow so aiming for larger-ish rooms):
    1. Osaka – Torn between Marriott Miyako and the W hotel. Cash booking with W about 10% more.
    2. Kyoto – Booked RC on points given raved reviews (also can now use SNAs at RC!) but not sure if I should switch to Mitsui or PH (if points become available)
    3. Tokyo – Booked Hyatt Centric Ginza on points but may switch up Edition Ginza if PH Kyoto becomes available.

    Third world / headforpoints kind of problems. Trying to optimise hotels with limited points. Despite the Yen being weak, the luxury hotels cash prices are nuts. Even looking at local brands, points still is the way to go at the moment. So glad I am in this game.

    meta 1,459 posts

    @Reney There are not many options with IHG other than those already mentioned in the thread. I’d seriously consider one of Japanese chains or GHA hotels. There is a nice Bellustar (Pan Pacific property) in Shinjuku. Of course depends on your budget. You may want to also check PH Tokyo as they have points availability just before they close for renovation. It’s across the road from Kimpton Shinjuku. But really seriously consider Japanese chain in Tokyo.


    @YC
    Osaka. I wouldn’t stay at either, but W is better located. Kyoto – if not on a weekend then PH Kyoto every time. Also you should ask for cash upgrade on points bookings (and do it far in advance for peak periods). Tokyo – how long are you staying? Ginza can be a bit boring after two days.

    YC 225 posts

    Thanks Meta. Osaka – Not sold on both to be honest but trying to push some cash nights to marriott for the double nights. Str is a bit too expensive. I am tempted by the intercontinental if points become available.

    Kyoto – Would u still pick mitsui over RC given SNAs can be used at both?

    Tokyo – There for 4 nights. I do have an amb weekend cert to use up so could split 2/2 with ginza. Although cash rates with the amb is still only slightly cheaper than my current HC on points (bought with the recent glitch).

    meta 1,459 posts

    Both RC and Mitsui are great. Mitsui has better spa facilities – thermal pool area is excellent. RC has better location for sights&food options.

    I wouldn’t bother with ICs in Tokyo. Kimpton is the only IHG hotel I’d consider for tourism purposes. Rooms at the new Indigo Shibuya look small. As I said, I’d pay cash elsewhere. Hyatt Regency Tokyo might be a better option, although the rooms are old.

    LiamG 37 posts

    I stayed at the new Hotel Indigo IHG Hotel in Shibuya earlier this month.

    It’s a great hotel, brand new with nice rooms. Only downside is the odd two tier lift situation (Up to 12 for reception, and only 2 lifts serving that) – then around the corner to go up again the guest rooms.

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