I've traveled a bit, and almost entirely for leisure - to around 40 countries in total. For my 40th birthday, I chose two weeks in Japan, and chose to start the trip in Tokyo. All of my friends said they would never, ever, ever go to Japan for the rest of their lives, after watching the horrors in the movie "The Cove", and urged me to not go to Japan. It wasn't the issues of radiation that came up in conversations, it was always the movie "The Cove"... in all honesty, I agree... I don't think we should support a culture that kills dolphins, feeds their people mercury-laden foods, kills whales, eats shark fins, or eats octopus (hey, they're one of the most intelligent animals on earth).... then again, we have a lot of things to be ashamed of in America.
I was working with about 5 top-end hotels to see who could come up with the best combination of room type, amenities, and price. Ritz Carlton Tokyo ended up being my #1 choice, as they promised a room upgrade, birthday amenity, and I liked the fact that it was on top of the tallest building in Tokyo.
So, for these reasons choose the Ritz Carlton Tokyo.
1) The View. When you travel, you should try to choose a hotel with a view from your room that is unmatched anywhere. Whether it is a beach view, a view of a lake, a mountain, or a skyline, you always deserve an amazing view.
2) My previous experience at the Ritz Carlton in Kuala Lumpur, where I was upgraded to a club level room, had a butler that drew scented and salted baths for me, had breakfast in my room, two massages in the spa, and all of my laundry was magically washed and ironed each day - all of these things at no extra charge, so I was expecting these types of surprises at the Ritz Carlton Tokyo.
When we arrived at 6am, the reception was amazing - staff members with perfect English skills, and we were checked into a room on the 47th floor, taller than any building in Tokyo, and had an amazing view. We obviously arrived early, so they put us into a temporary room, with two double beds, and the room was very nice. We were told that our upgraded room would be available at 2pm... so we went to sleep.
When we moved rooms, we were "upgraded" into a smaller room! It was on a higher floor, but it really was not an upgraded room. Still, the view was fantastic. My birthday amenity was 4 chocolates on a plate, which were delicious, but it was a pretty standard offering for a hotel room costing almost $600/night. I would have expected something more along the lines of the Kuala Lumpur: upgrade to a suite, club level, baths, massage. I'm guessing that the suite costs the hotel $0, the massages about $20, etc... so in the grand scheme of things, offering a lot of freebies to a $600 per night room is a great way to retain guest loyalty.
The breakfast each morning was very good, although there was no music at any one of our 3 breakfasts... play some music on the speakers, or have a piano player, or something... but to have a quiet place while dining removes one of the 5 senses from your experience, and makes the restaurant seem like a school cafeteria instead of a luxury restaurant.
Still, this is probably the best choice of any hotel in Tokyo - while here for 4 days, I went to other hotels to check them out - the Peninsula was at first my #1 choice, but I am so glad that I did not stay there. The area around the Peninsula is boring, the views from the rooms cannot match the views from the Ritz Carlton, and the place seemed rushed and crowded with noisy people.
The pool area was fantastic, although the ceiling in the pool area should be painted with a dark blue sky with gold-leaf stars or something... currently it is just a white ceiling, and it could be so much more luxurious. We were a bit disappointed to learn that the steam room cost money to enter - I think it was around $60/person, which was ridiculous.
Here's the true reason for my 4-star rating instead of a 5-star rating: regardless of issues with power availability due to the earthquake, I was shocked to see that the energy this hotel wastes. Not one LED light bulb... not one! This is shameful. All of the bath amenities: bath gel, shampoo, conditioner still come in tiny bottles... this hotel most likely disposes of 500,000 tiny plastic bottles into landfills (or the ocean) each year, almost all still have chemicals in them. This chemical makes its way into the water supply, and back into human consumption. All hotels should use wall-mount product dispensers like those you see in a spa, no exceptions... it is the only way you can respect your country and your environment. The sheets are washed daily unless you place a card on the bed, this should be the opposite, where you only place a card on the bed if you want your sheets washed. How many of us have our sheets washed every day, it's a silly waste of resources. Same goes for daily vacuuming of rooms - a vacuum cleaner uses a lot of energy - and each time it is used, tiny particles of dust, and dead skin, and bacteria are released into the air to settle back down on your clean sheets, your clothes, your furniture, etc. Only vacuum on check-out! Finally, the water kettle was always plugged in - this is extremely wasteful, just one kettle can use $400 per year in electricity! Be better about energy, get wall mount dispensers, include international telephone calls for free (I see this at more hotels these days), and this review would have been 5 stars.
PS - The best concierge I've experienced in my life was Reika Ohsawa - she deserves gold keys, as she was the most polite concierge ever. She was warm, friendly, human, considerate, and always smiled. I will always associate Reika with Tokyo and Ritz Carlton. Thank you Reika! Mayako was also excellent - we only spoke to Mayako once, but spoke to Reika many, many times during our 4 days.
Again, if you're staying in Tokyo, stay at the Ritz Carlton for the views and the service.... just be sure to ask for upgrades... for the price, more should be included in the room, but the view is worth the price alone. And if you're considering other hotels, stop considering them... I looked at the other top-rated hotels and this is #1, again, for the view from the rooms.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- As guests alight from the elevator that takes them to the 45th floor of Tokyo's tallest building, they are greeted by a magnificent sky lobby that epitomizes one of the premier luxury hotels in this cosmopolitan city - The Ritz-Carlton, Tokyo. Occupying the top nine floors and the first three levels of the 53-story Midtown Tower, this five-star luxury hotel is located in the Roppongi District, which transfixes visitors with both its vibrant night life and centuries-old attractions. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Ritz-Carlton Tokyo Hotel Minato
- Ritz Carlton Minato
- Ritz Tokyo
- Minato Ritz-Carlton
- The Ritz-Carlton, Tokyo Japan