If you mention to your Japanese friend that you are staying at the Imperial Hotel or your function is at the Imperial Hotel, your friend would be in awe. The Imperial Hotel is one of the best Japanese hotels in Tokyo. It traces its history to the 1800s and its original facade was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. In many ways, it is the equivalent of the Raffles Hotel in Singapore. Steeped in history, and loved by the locals and foreigners. However, this hotel may not be for everyone.
My first contact upon arrival at the airport was the hotel rep/limo driver. But he was no where to be found. We called the hotel for clarification and soon after the limo driver arrived. We figured we must have zipped pretty quickly off the plane and caught the driver off-guard.
After about an hour's journey, we were dropped off at the main lobby. The bell staff took charge of our luggage immediately and we were ushered to reception. The lobby is large, grand, imposing and cavernous. There is a restaurant on the left and a large meet-and-greet area in the middle, and the long line of checkin, guest services counter on the right wall. Walking into the lobby, one feels transported back to the 1970s/80s. It has a dated look, and yet is a typical lobby style of many local modern hotels that we have stayed in. We noticed that the hotel had a good proportion of Japanese residents to tourists, mostly over 50 years of age.
The Front Office staff greeted us warmly, found our booking and quickly checked us in. After cooling our heels in the lobby for about 5 minutes, the bell hop took us upstairs to a room in the old wing [not the Tower block at the back].
The bell hop told us about the security doors on each floor, and identified the emergency exits. Unusual, but considering Japan's earthquake history, was quite a wise policy.
Our room had a simple, semi-modern look. Room cupboard and desk was made out of a semi-dark wood. The room was small in comparison to other modern international hotels in Japan. The king-sized bed was firm and very comfortable. Auto blinds and room lights function are on a console on the bed side table, which also houses the in-room safe. The room carpet is worn-in, but still feels soft and clean.
Rooms have a large bathroom with a separate shower and bath-tub. My wife loves the Japanese toilet at this hotel with its warm seat and bidet functions, complete with warm water. The usual assortment of bathing products, toothbrush, shaver, comb, shower cap, cotton buds, etc. can be found by the sink. Bring your own moisturiser as the hotel does not supply this. If you require cotton squares to remove your make-up, request for it through housekeeping. There is also no free bottled water.
Rooms have a flat screen TV and free WiFi. Consult the information cardboard next to the remote control to find out how to watch the cable stations.
Imperial houses a gym, spa and pool as well, and you can join an 'International membership' for free and gain access to these facilities.
Service is impeccable. The concierge is resourceful and there is a desk with 3 staff to meet your requirements. Finding a cab or your way to Hibiya metro station is a breeze. Imperial is also very close to the Imperial Palace which you can run a loop outside the grounds. The route is around 7-8km, not 5km as the concierge suggests. Ginza is within striking distance and you will find lots of food, department stores and brand name shops in this area. If you are adventurous with food, check out the restaurants below the train tracks.
I mentioned that the hotel may not be to everyone's tastes. If you like new modern five-star hotels with good sized rooms and amenities, this hotel is not for you. It is very Japanese in every aspect - particularly the hotel decor and service. It would be great to stay for the experience and more importantly, to impress your Japanese business associates.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Luxury hotel by the Imperial Palace. Founded in 1890, has welcomed celebrities by offering impeccable Japanese hospitality. Located in the central Tokyo; 5 minutes to Ginza shopping area by walk, 5 minutes to Tokyo station by taxi, 15 to 30 minutes to Shibuya, Shinjuku, Asakusa, and Ropponngi area by subway, and 45 minutes to Haneda Airport, 90 minutes to Narita Airport by Limousine bus. Free VDSL Wi-Fi connection and 16 restaurants and bars inside the hotel are available. ... more less ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Imperial Hotel Chiyoda
- Imperial Hotel Tokyo Japan