Four Seasons Tokyo at Marunouchi

Overview: A luxurious in-city boutique hotel
Highlights: Service, location, rooms
Drawbacks: Only one dining option, very small gym/spa

I typically make Tokyo the last stop on road shows in Asia.  It is closest to home – and I find myself very much at ease with many aspects of the Japanese culture.  (This isn’t to say I’m uncomfortable elsewhere in Asia, just more so here.)

Whereas earlier this year in Tokyo, I stayed at the new Aman Tokyo (review coming soon!), for this trip, I elected to stay at the Four Seasons.

This property is fairly unique within the Four Seasons portfolio in that it is truly a small, boutique hotel.  Owing to a combination of Four Seasons standards, and the natural service culture in Tokyo, my service experience here was without fault.

The hotel arranged a driver to pick up my colleague and me at Haneda.  Haneda is much closer to the central business district than Narita, and we made it in about 30 minutes, arriving a little after 11pm.

We booked via a Virtuoso/FSPP agent and this hotel looked after us very well.  We were greeted by name in the small street-level lobby by the rooms division manager and a colleague.  They escorted us to each of our rooms.  Though we booked regular rooms, the hotel was able to upgrade us both to full one-bedroom suites.  (I suspect some “encouragement” behind the scenes from my travel advisor may have helped on these upgrades.)

The hotel is located on the lowest floors of a high rise tower, all in the single digits.  While there are no “high in the sky” type views, being low does afford you a more intimate view of the streets around the property.

My escort gave me a brief tour of the suite and then processed the check-in formalities.  I find it quite comfortable to do the check-in work in the suite and not standing at the front desk.  A small, sweet welcome amenity was waiting for me.

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Once those formalities were complete, she asked about what laundry needs I had.

Recall the Conrad in Seoul couldn’t even arrange overnight pressing.  With things now running lean, earlier in the day, I called the Four Seasons from Seoul to see if overnight dry cleaning would be possible.  Indeed, they confirmed they could help with anything overnight.

They had clearly noted in my booking that I would need help with laundry and I appreciated having the person helping me with check-in pro-actively offering laundry service.  I had my suit dry cleaned and a shirt laundered overnight.  Both were returned by 7am the next morning.

Taking my laundry, I was wished a pleasant night by the rooms manager.

The suite itself was quite large, with two full bathrooms, a living room and a separate dining room.

The living room was large, quiet and comfortable.  It was built around a large, circular structural column.

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The desk area was large and well suited for work and calls.

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Off to the side of the living room was the second bathroom.  This can serve as a visitor’s wash room but also has a shower, so, should you have kids sleeping in the living room, they can have a full bath for themselves.

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The living room had 3D/Blu-Ray glasses that you could use to watch movies.  I’d never seen these before and while I didn’t use them, I’m sure kids visiting (and some adults) would enjoy these very much.

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The dining room didn’t have any windows, but was otherwise a very comfortable room.  Beyond dining, you could also easily have a small business meeting in here.

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Sideboard in the Dining Room
Sideboard in the Dining Room

The minibar was fully stocked.  I’m sure the prices were equally full!

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The bedroom was also built abutting the round, structural column.  The room was well designed and quite comfortable.  It was perfectly silent.  I find bringing the headboard up to the ceiling to be visually pleasing.

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Four Seasons Tokyo Suite: PJs provided!

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There were plenty of convenient power outlets and control switches.

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Time to update to the new iPhone jack!
Time to update to the new iPhone jack!

Off the bedroom was a small alcove with a large closet and spot for luggage.

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Beyond that alcove was the master bath.  It is fairly uncommon to see a glassed corner bathroom, and this layout took full advantage of it.  Overlooking the corner view of the bullet train tracks leading into Tokyo station, the tub was a great spot to relax and take in the view or watch TV on the in-mirror TV.

The shower and toilet each had their own closed off, frosted glass areas.  The window shades were operated by a dated remote control (on the counter next to the far sink).

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I visited the gym at the hotel (something I’d missed at the last few properties!).  The gym was small, but clean and had a reasonable range of equipment.  Everything was in very good condition and the large windows provided a nice view of the city.  Even on the early side of a weekday morning, the gym was unused (except by me!).

There was a small spa and the waiting area was part of the very small gym locker room.  This hotel does not have a pool.

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The hotel has just one food and beverage venue, called “Motif.”

Breakfast was included due to my Virtuoso/FSPP booking.  I enjoyed the buffet, which was very nice and of very high quality, but not lavish when compared to other Four Seasons properties in Asia.  Service was very attentive.

Breakfast with a view!
Breakfast with a view!

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In addition to enjoying the items from the buffet, the waitress brought me a small plate with several wonderfully sweet fruits.  The apple was extraordinary!

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Seated several tables away from me was a business associate of mine who lives in my town (population: 20,000) along with his teenage son.  The dad had some business meetings in Tokyo and was able to bring his son along for a little holiday time.  It is always nice to see a familiar face in a faraway land.

Integrated with the restaurant was a small lounge area.  This table, directly overlooking Tokyo Station, was definitely the top lounge seat.

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When I returned from the gym, my clothes from last night had been returned.  Though I’ve been traveling long enough to know to look in the closet for my cleaning before calling the housekeeping department, finding a note confirming the same is another reminder of the thoughtfulness of service at this property.

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The hotel’s corridors are long (as they likely wrap around the elevator core serving the higher floors).  They were very quiet.

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Not very “boutique-y”

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We booked the last flight to New York and knew we would be cutting it close on time as we had a fairly full day of meetings.  The hotel arranged for our tickets on the Narita Express in advance.  More importantly, however, the hotel had a porter escort us the entire way to the train.  When I say “the entire way,” she had her own train ticket and literally escorted us on to the train and stationed our bags for us in the luggage vestibule.  After helping us find our seats, she left the train and waited on the platform until the train pulled out.  Of course, in keeping with tradition for departing guests, she bowed as the train pulled out…then waved.

While this sort of service could be considered a bit excessive, even as a somewhat frequent visitor to Tokyo, I’ve repeatedly struggled with finding my way through the maze of Tokyo Station.  Having an escort took away the risk of getting lost and wasting time.

While we waited on the platform, I was able to speak a bit with the porter.  The young lady spoke beautiful English and she said she had worked previously at the Four Seasons in Orlando.

* * * * *

Tokyo is a very strong city for service.  Due to the culture in Japan, I find even weaker hotels in Tokyo offer a level of service and attention to detail found in few hotels (at any level) in the United States.

Over the years, in Tokyo, I’ve stayed at the Aman, Peninsula, Mandarin, Park Hyatt, Imperial, Okura, the old Four Seasons (at Chinzan-So) and one or two others I don’t recall (which were less memorable), and I’ve never had a bad experience.  Most of these (with the Aman as a notable exception) are reasonably large hotels.

The Four Seasons at Marunouchi is a fairly unique city Four Seasons in that it is sized as a boutique hotel.  In exchange for the small hotel feel, the only things you are really give up compared to a full-scale city Four Seasons are a second dining venue and a pool.  The Aman is also similarly sized to the Four Seasons Marunouchi and is much more of a “wow” property, but often at a moderately higher price point.

If you are looking for a high end boutique experience, you should definitely consider the Four Seasons.

Details
Four Seasons Tokyo at Marunouchi
1-11-1 Pacific Century Place
Marunouchi
Chiyoda-ku
Tokyo 100-6277
+ 81 (3) 5222-7222
http://www.fourseasons.com/tokyo/
@FSMarunouchi

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