Overview: A truly world class in-city luxury hotel
Strengths: Rooms, location, service, F&B
Drawbacks: Shower was a little small? (Not a big issue)
Notable: Lively scene at roof-top venue, Peter
After very nice stays at the Four Seasons Marunouchi and the Aman Tokyo over the past year, I thought it would be nice to go back to the Peninsula during a recent short business trip to Tokyo. I last stayed at the Pen back in 2012, and reviewed it here.
Booking last minute, the only room categories available had twin beds. Their twin is modestly bigger than a twin in the US at least! I booked via a Virtuoso agent, which provided for complimentary breakfast and a ¥10,000 F&B credit (excluding mini bar).
Upon arrival, my colleague and I were greeted by a cadre of door staff who assisted us with our luggage and showed us to the reception area.
Check in was very smooth, and they explained the breakfast benefit and the F&B credit. They did not make mention of upgrade possibilities when I arrived, and I didn’t ask. They did inquire if we needed late check out, which we didn’t.
The desk agent was very friendly and also efficient, which I appreciate.
My room (and my colleague’s room) was on the eighth floor, one of the lowest room floors. We booked Deluxe rooms, which is their second category of room.
The room itself was very nice, and had all of the little touches that Peninsula properties do so well.
A small welcome gift was waiting for me.
While I would have preferred a king bed, the twin beds were very comfortable.
The room had a sofa as well as a small dining table. I find these to be very welcome features in a room. It somehow feels nicer to be eating off of a proper table, not a room service trolley or a desk.
The TV had lots of connectivity options, and the minibar included a full espresso maker. I do wonder how frequently these more complex espresso makers actually get used.
The room has many electronic controls and displays. One feature I like is the ability to control the humidity level in the room.
The solid sliding wooden door, closing the room off from the entry corridor, is also a very nice touch.
Everything in the room was in perfect condition, with nary a scratch to be found. The room was silent and no interior or exterior noise could be heard.
The room had a close-to-the-street view.
The bathroom is reasonably large and has two vanities, a step in shower and a separate tub.
Of course, the toilet had an electronic control panel with lots of different features. I find myself getting more adventurous with the various features of these little devices.
When you enter the bathroom, most of the time, the upper toilet lid opened automatically. This was despite the toilet being in a fully frosted and was a bit bothersome (as it made a noise) if I went into the bathroom for a different reason.
The shower had very nice water pressure, but was perhaps a little small.
I didn’t use the tub, but they have a “spa setting” on the lighting controls for the room which lowers the lights and plays music. I’ll try this one of these times.
There were plenty of electronic controls for those in the tub, too!
The Closet (How often does the closet warrant its own section in a review?)
The closet is quite comfortable, and is more of a small room than a closet.
A very thoughtful feature of many Peninsula properties is the valet box. This allows the valet to pick things up and drop them off in a secure space but without having to disturb the guest.
I sent my suit and shirt in for four hour pressing upon arrival, using the box for the drop off. They completed the pressing in about 30 minutes (not bad for four hour service!), but the suit was actually too long to fit in the valet box, so they called to ask if it was OK to knock on the door with the suit.
Food and Beverage
My colleague and I, along with several other business associates, had breakfast in the lobby restaurant. It was very good and the service was very attentive. Breakfasts were all complimentary as we were all on Virtuoso bookings.
One person at the table ordered cranberry juice. They served freshly squeezed cranberry juice, which was something I (nor he) had ever seen before. He said it was very good.
Many Peninsula hotels have a dining venue in the middle of a traffic area. The Chicago property has something similar, as does Shanghai. I’m not a fan of this as I don’t enjoy eating at a table just a few feet away from where arriving and departing guests are coming through with luggage and parcels. A bit more of a segregated area would be welcome.
Novel in lobby dining area are two balcony-level tables. Perched probably 15 feet above the main floor, these two separate tables could make a nice venue for a romantic – yet visible – dinner.
They have a wooden piece of art as a focus item in the lobby. I’ve never found it to be inviting; perhaps even unwelcoming?
I ordered room service the second morning, which was delivered on time and was pleasantly hot. The quality of the food at both meals was very good.
I had drinks with an associate at Peter’s, which is their rooftop (indoor) bar and restaurant. It was packed, mainly with locals. We just had a few beers. Service was very good despite being so full. One of these times, I’ll eat up here. (It wasn’t suitable to take photos.)
There is also a “Chinese Restaurant” located on a low floor of the hotel. I’ve not been here yet.
On the flight over to Tokyo, I emailed to the concierge about having a hair care item bought at a local drug store and delivered to my room. At first they responded with id need to send a credit card authorization form and run through several other traps. Considering the cost of the item was about ¥300 ($3), I though this was ridiculous. When I raised an objection, they said they would accommodate my request without a signed form. (When I checked in, they had the authorization form filled out and they asked me to sign it.) For a $3 errand, the processing requirements seemed a little overboard.
They took care of shining my shoes overnight as well, also via the valet box, though the shine wasn’t the best.
Pool and Fitness
One morning, I went for a run in the neighborhood and around the palace. This was a great run. I went for about five miles. The second day it was raining very heavily, so I went to the gym for a run.
The equipment in the gym was in very good condition, though the gym itself is small. (There were too many people to take photos in the gym.) After my run, I changed into swim shorts and went for a quick swim. The pool is a very comfortable temperature for both laps and relaxing. (I did some of each!)
My bill was accurate and all of the Virtuoso credits were applied properly without and negotiation on my part. This compares to the Rosewood London or Boston XV, where they took a lot of effort on my part. Sadly, minibar drinks aren’t covered by the F&B credit.
* * * * *
While in Tokyo, one of our local associates hosted a post-meeting dinner at a restaurant specializing in various shark fin dishes. We had an eight course meal which was absolutely delicious.
I know some object to the harvesting of sharks for their fins, though I also understand why others would enjoy eating them! Though the meal was very good, I wouldn’t go out of my way to have this again.
* * * * *
Other than the concierge and the written form for a $3 errand (which was ultimately resolved), every service interaction at this property was perfect. The location directly across from the Emperor’s Palace is ideal. The rooms are great. They have three different dining choices.
Frankly, I was just as pleased with the cost as I was with the property. The rooms were only about $400 per night each. Considering the quality of the property and its location in one of the world’s most expensive cities, this struck me as bargain. By contrast, entry level rooms at the Aman were over $1,000 per night and the Four Seasons was about $600 per night.
Tokyo is a pretty good city for hotels. Between my semi-usual rotation of the Peninsula, Aman and Four Seasons, it really is hard to go wrong. I would say the Four Seasons is the weakest of the three at this point. (Not something often printed on this website!)
I’m still keen to try the Palace Hotel, which I will make a point to do. I haven’t been to the Mandarin in probably eight years, so it warrants a visit again, soon, too. And, once the Okura re-opens, my fascination with that property will warrant a visit at some point as well.
1-8-1 Yurakucho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, 100-0006, Japan
+81 3 6270 2888