Friday, January 25, 2013

Hilton Tokyo

This was my first visit to Japan and knowing how expensive Tokyo can get, I decided to make use of some of the points I had stashed up. Of the major programs, Starwood and Marriott both had relatively few offerings in the vicinity and all of those were quite high up in category so I decided to stay at the Hilton Tokyo, a Category 6 hotel. This would usually go for 40,000 HH points per night but with the AXON code (for Hilton American Express card members), a 4-night stay was redeemed for just 125,000 points, a discount of almost 9,000 points (or almost 22%)! That meant this cost even less than my Category 5 redemption at the Embassy Suites Montreal! And given that a regular room generally costs at least $300 USD, I was getting pretty much getting 1 cent / HH point which was outstanding value, especially at a top tier hotel in Japan!

The Hilton Tokyo is located near the major Shinjuku Metro/Rail station and almost right next to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, known for its observation deck on the 45th floor, which is free to the public but which I unfortunately didn't get a chance to use this time around.

The Hilton offers a shuttle directly from Shinjuku station (at one of the bus stops outside of the Keio department store) which comes thrice each hour for a short 5 minute ride to the hotel. You can choose to walk to the hotel instead as it is not far, but you may need to get some directions first or you may get lost.

The lobby and check-in area are kept sparkling clean and immaculate and there was always a helpful member of the staff at the door to greet you as you enter the hotel.

St George's bar is situated right in the lobby and executive members can lounge in this area for no additional charge.

Likely the only 'complaint' I have about this hotel are the hallways which seem to be sorely in need of updating. The patterns on the rug are quite nice but feel a bit tired and really draws out the contrast with the blank, white walls.

As I was an HHonors Gold member, I received an upgrade to the executive floor (smoking room, as it was the only type left although there wasn't much trace of smoke in the room but YMMV) which provided a very nice view of the surrounding area. The room itself is quite spacious, especially by Japanese standards and I particularly liked the sliding windows. Two complimentary water bottles are also supplied although you can easily get more from the executive lounge if needed.

Although it wasn't originally supplied in the room, I asked for a yukata which was promptly delivered and definitely added to the overall experience.

The bathroom was quite pleasant, albeit a little small but the Peter Thomas Roth bathroom amenities was definitely greatly appreciated. Definitely nicer than your average toiletries.

Last but not least, the toilets have a bidet which are marked in English so they were fairly easy to use (and try out!). As always, the regular flush knob is always there for you to use.

Gold members also have access to the sauna, take a hot soak in the health club or use the somewhat cramped gym and pool. Surprisingly, there are also two tennis courts available on the rooftop.

As a guest on an executive floor (not necessarily Gold members), we also had access to the executive lounge which we certainly made good use of.  Located on the 37th floor, the executive lounge supplies a decent spread for breakfast, evening cocktails/hors d'oeuvres and dessert.

As we arrived late in the afternoon, there wer just a few afternoon snacks including some excellent cheesecake, and an assortment of fruit. The refrigerator was generally kept stocked with various drinks including Asahi beer.

The evening spread was pretty decent although the lounge did get quite crowded and it did feel almost like a buffet at times. The staff was very courteous and did their best to keep the food well stocked as it disappeared rather quickly.

Here's a city view night shot from my hotel room window on the 34th floor:

Overall, our stay was very pleasant and we made use of all the amenities offered to those on the executive floor. As this was my first time to Tokyo, the Concierge desk was invaluable in getting local information and arranging for any of your needs. Location-wise, you couldn't really improve upon being in the Shinjuku area although I would suggest to leave additional time for the short shuttle bus ride to Shinjuku station if you plan to get anywhere in a hurry. This was definitely one of the best hotel stays I've had, made all the more amazing by the exceptional value in the point redemption!

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