A new benchmark in luxury hotel has arrived in Tokyo. And it’s the Shangri-la. Opened barely one year ago, this hotel quickly established itself as the new yardstick for luxury hotel standards in Toyko.
After hearing lots of buzz about this hotel, I decided to try out just to see how it measures up. I did not go with high expectation. Past exposure to Shangri-la hotels and my preconceptions dictates that I am expecting a hotel that caters more to the masses with room rate that’s enticing to those seeking mid-tier luxury, that will offer a grand and large lobby but mediocre rooms, service that are efficient but more impersonal and business like. Wrong Wrong Wrong. This Shangri-la really surprised me.
I arrived by taxi right after I had checked-out from the Conrad. As the hotel is so new, the taxi driver was confused. Even his GPS was not showing the hotel’s location. Fortunately, I had a map with the hotel name in Japanese. The hotel is located within a high rise office tower. The ground floor ( arrival lobby ) is on the small side but opulently decorated with large crystal chandeliers and plush carpeting. Sort of like arriving in a very nice mansion. Upon arrival, bell hops quickly took care of my luggage. Check-in was quick. I was escorted to the room and the staff briefly demonstrated the room features.
The room I had booked was a Premier Corner Room with a spectacular and un-obstructed view of Tokyo skyline ( looks even better at night ). All the latest in-room tech is there, including side table power panel with A/V and iPod connections. A large 42” Sharp Aquos high definition LCD TV outfitted with a Bose sound system. Electronic curtains and mood lighting and the minibar even decked out with a Nepresso coffee machine.
Now, the design of the room might not be very groundbreaking. But the comfort factor in this room is off-the-charts here. Starting with the huge King Size bed. If ever there is a hotel bed where it literally made me difficult to get up, this is the one. The mattress has just the right firmness, the high thread count linens are sumptuous and of superb quality. Large goose-down pillows and an assortment of pillows.
Next the bathroom. Decked out in posh marble and the finest of modern bathroom fittings, this bathroom has an advance electronic toilet with proximity sensor and a host of automated features. The large walk-in shower cubicle has an oversized rainforest shower head that gives one of the best showering experience. Water pressure is good. There is a platform bathtub with a view, and to round things up, a high definition in wall TV.
Other commendable aspects of this room is that it’s whisper quiet. The hotel wasn’t far from the Tokyo train station and yet, there is no noise whatsoever. The switches and lightings and other conveniences are all at the correct place where I wanted them. The in-room tech is not as flashy as that of the Peninsula but it works. One feature I discovered is that I could playback high definition videos from my laptop directly onto the LCD TV with the cablings provided. Only nitpick is that they should have provided an iPod dock instead of cablings to connect my iPod to the in-room music system.
The room itself is a testimony of up-scale luxury. Everything thing in this room is of very high quality, from the décor to the in-room fittings right down to the accessories provided. Even the in-wall switches are clad in leather. This is a room that has very high wow factor along with providing supreme comfort. Seriously, only the best hotel suites in Hong Kong can compete with this and no other hotels that I have tried in Tokyo can measure up.
The hotel is distinctively boutique in nature. It only have about 100+ rooms and the smaller, more intimate lobby is unlike the usual Shangri-la grandness, more subdue but still very beautifully decorated. There are only two restaurants and a bar in the hotel. The Italian restaurant serve contemporary western cuisine for lunch / dinner and morning breakfast. The breakfast is good, with nice selection of pastries and other breakfast goodies though I wish there are more selection. The other restaurant is the Nadaman Japanese restaurant, a restaurant chain often associated with Shangri-la. Tried their teppanyaki dinner and it was spectacular. Using only the freshest ingredients and cooked to perfection by the resident chef right in front of me, it’s a wonderful culinary experience of a lifetime for me. Keep in mind even by Tokyo standards, the price is very expensive, but it’s worth every cent.
The hotel also have a Spa, a full size and well equipped gym and an indoor swimming pool that have spectacular views of Tokyo skyline at night.
The service at Shangri-la is fast, efficient yet gracious. Nearly every request was immediately answered. I believed they actually provide a floor butler at each floor because it’s literally seconds after I put down the phone when someone will show up at my door with the things I requested. Another major plus point about this hotel is the English proficiency of the staff. I understand that English is not a first language in Tokyo and most hotel staff I encountered during my previous visits in Tokyo have difficulties understanding more complicated request and very often, I have to repeat many times. In the Shangri-la, based on my experience, everyone from the waiter in the restaurant to the door men have a workable fluency in English which makes things much easier for me. Overall, service is just exemplary, right up there with the very best.
The hotel is located in close proximity ( ie 5mins walk ) to the Tokyo station, the main transport hub of Tokyo. From there, it’s just a subway ride away from most popular destinations. Near the hotel there are also an assortment of department stores, shops and restaurants.
The Shangri-la Tokyo is now my #1 favourite hotel in Tokyo, over-taking the Peninsula which used to be my favourite. If I were to return to this city again, this will be my first choice accommodation. It’s pure indulgence and first class luxury all the way. For all these, one is expected to pay lots of Yens, but then, you can’t expect to get a true luxury hotel experience by paying peanuts. Highly recommended and I am pleased to award it my highest rating of 5 / 5.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The splendid Shangri-La Hotel conveniently located adjacent to Tokyo Station. Guests will appreciate Shangri-La's unique brand of hospitality and service, as well as the very finest facilities and amenities while staying within the comfort and warmth of this luxurious Tokyo hotel. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Shangri-La Hotel, Tokyo Hotel Chiyoda
- Shangri La Tokyo
- Shangri La Chiyoda
- Shangri-La Hotel, Tokyo Japan