After having stayed three times at the New Otani Hotel in Tokyo, my wife and I believe to have a fairly objective view of the qualities and shortcomings of this place. This report is a summary of our experiences during all three stays. The hotel is located relatively close the Akasake-Mitsuke metro station and hence easily accessible by public transport. Just bear in mind that it is quite a walk from the metro station platform to the hotel reception, partly due to the size of the station, but also due to the sheer size of the hotel. If you have a lot of luggage to carry, you are probably better off catching a taxi to drive you to the hotel main entrance. A taxi ride from Tokyo Station to the hotel is about $20.
The first time we used the New Otani, we opted to go for the least expensive room, in the Garden Tower. That room was sufficiently large, definitely to Tokyo standards, but we were nonetheless a bit disappointed by the fact that it looked quite old fashioned. Obviously this type of room had not been renovated for the past 30 years. On the second night of that first stay, we were rudely kept awake by very noisy neighbours. By 3 am, there was still too much noise, so we called the front desk. An attendant was sent up and this guy obviously heard all the noises coming from the neighbours room right into ours and into the corridor. But he did not do anything about it. I suppose it has something do with Japanese etiquette. However, we had paid for a good night's sleep and decided to take matters into our own hands. A couple of solid knocks on the wall and a hard-to-ignore "SHUT UP" quietened things down. The following morning we complained to the front desk manager about what happened during the night. In genuine Japanese style we got a thousands bows and as many apologies, but again, nothing was done to ensure that the subsequent nights would be quiet ones. Only after I got really upset -- something that is unheard of in Japanese etiquette -- did things start to move. We were offered an upgrade to a DeLuxe Room in the Main Building with the guarantee that that room would definitely be a quiet one. The rooms in the Main Building are in an entirely different league than the ones in the Garden Tower. They are as large, if not larger, and are very tastefully designed in Japanese style. It is like stepping from a 1980s Holiday Inn into a contemporary luxury hotel. The subsequent nights in the hotel were absolutely quiet. Our advice is to definitely book a room in the Main Building and forget about the Garden Tower. During our second and third stay at the New Otani Hotel, we automatically booked a room in the Main Building without ever looking back. All the amenities are provided: slippers, bath robe and toiletries.
The hotel itself is very large and sits in beautiful grounds. The Japanese style garden is worth visiting, even if you do not stay at the hotel. There is a myriad of restaurants in the hotel, but we actually tried none of those. They are expensive -- overpriced in our opinion -- and with so many fantastic eateries in the back streets of Sotoboro-Dori (a very short walk from the hotel) it only seemed logical we tried those instead.
The staff are extremely polite, as can be expected in Japan, and master a certain amount of basic English. Most of the staff speak about just enough English to keep things running smoothly. The moment you want to engage in a conversation that extends beyond their hotel vocabulary, things get a bit more tricky. Check-in went smoothly on all three occasions. There were no queues at the front desk and the attendants were courteous and considerate. Interestingly, it is surprising that in a high-tech country like Japan, the hotel still uses regular locks and keys for their rooms, instead of key cards. I cannot remember the last time I saw this in a major hotel. As can be expected from a big luxury hotel, they had no issues with keeping our luggage for two days while we were off to Kyoto. Check-out was just as smooth as check-in. Our luggage was brought to the hotel entrance were a taxi was waiting to bring us to Tokyo Station.
One thing that is a bit annoying about this hotel is its size. Its back entrance is closest to the Akasaka-Mitsuke metro station. From that back entrance you have to take an elevator to the fifth floor of that building from where you can walk to the Garden Tower reception desk. If you stay in the Main Building (which we recommend) it is another decent walk along one of the restaurants and a number of shops before you reach the Main Building reception area. There you can take the elevator to your room. It reminded us a bit of the casino hotels you find in Las Vegas where you have to walk for miles until you get from your room to the street. The plus side of this all is of course that the rooms are isolated from the urban jungle and there is no street noise at all. If you want to be in the middle of the Tokyo buzz, the districts of Shibuya and Shinjuku are only a short metro ride away.
If you are staying in Tokyo, you can do a lot worse than the New Otani. Of course there are the high-end hotels like the Peninsula and the Grand Hyatt, but their room prices are nearly double of what we paid at the New Otani. Value for money, the New Otani is excellent. The Main Building rooms are great and the location is wonderful -- centrally located, but away from the city noises. The size of the hotel is perhaps a bit overwhelming and the impeccable yet sterile service from the staff might be off-putting for some.
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- Also Known As:
- New Otani Tokyo Garden Hotel
- New Otani Hotel Tokyo
- Hotel New Otani Tokyo Executive House ZEN & The Main Japan