i suppose this hotel must have thought that four college grads on vacation were out of place among the businessmen who frequent it. we were treated with disdain nearly the entire time. my experience was colored by a combination of a language barrier and substandard service.
the following is a horribly detailed account of my point of view.
upon arrival, we were first told that we were at the wrong hotel (which we were not; we had a printout for a reservation there). after the receptionist bumbled about for 20 minutes trying to check us in (i have no idea why it took so long), we found that we were being given smoking rooms. because we like to preserve our pulmonary health, we asked for another option. i suppose we should give them points for attempting to accommodate us, but the result was that we were made to switch rooms three times in four nights (one night in a smoking room) because they were fully booked. again, we DID have a reservation. from the staff, no apologies were made and no sympathies were expressed.
the whole check in process took about an hour, during which we interacted with the same male receptionist who made several other errors (not noticing the type of beds we had requested in the reservation, for example). as my travel companions and i sat in bored dejection waiting for our check-in to finish correctly, the hotel staff stood around and smiled and bowed and offered to carry luggage--for the suited up businessmen. we were completely ignored.
after we were finally checked in, no bellhops offered us any services and we lugged our own stuff up the elevators. not that we minded doing that, but we were also paying customers. why were we not afforded the same respect?
as we changed rooms throughout the duration of our stay, the quality of our accommodations declined. on the first night, we had a nice room with two desks and a comfortable sitting area. the pillows were fluffy, the bathroom was clean, the comforter was nice, and there was a spacious entryway. the next room was slightly smaller in both the entryway and the living area, with awkwardly placed furniture that made it hard to move around. the last room change presented hair in the bathroom; a water boiler that made a strange spitting noise; deflated, grainy pillows; a flat, worn, comforter; no entryway section; and an even smaller size than the previous room. we paid the same rate for all rooms.
calling the front desk to ask for feminine hygiene products was both embarrassing and frustrating. i attempted to explain my plight to the very confused man who answered the phone and kept mumbling something about "item boat." i kept asking for someone preferably female who spoke english, and it took five more minutes of unproductive back and forth before he finally passed on the phone to a lady who resolved the issue in under 15 seconds. i should mention that i had specifically dialed the "ENGLISH" line to begin with as well.
the receptionists we interacted with during our string of checkins and checkouts were not outwardly rude, but they made no effort to be as polite and respectful as they clearly were being to the businessmen. one receptionist looked confused as to why we were switching rooms. the bumbling receptionist who had orchestrated this unfortunate situation for us was standing right next to her, not busy at all. he pretended not to recognize us and left us to explain the situation to her in english. things would have been made much easier had we had a japanese translator, but i guess the available staff was too busy trying to become invisible.
there were a few nice staff members, such as the late night receptionist who came outside to translate and helped us chase down a new taxi driver when our first one didn't know haneda airport (how is a taxi driver not familiar with an airport?! but that's a separate issue). the cleaning staff that we encountered greeted us politely.
i'd rather spend a little bit more money and get some respect for my business elsewhere. i strongly advise casual travelers to STAY AWAY.
- Also Known As:
- Prince Hotel Minato
- Prince Hotel Tokyo
- Minato Prince Hotel
- Grand Prince Hotel Takanawa Tokyo, Japan
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