If I were to use conventional hotel criteria, I would rate it 2 stars. I am trying to be generous by using hostel criteria. I noticed the hostel self-description only upon arrival, so the shortcomings made more sense.
My wife and I first stayed at a budget business hotel near the Ningrocho metro stations for 2 nights before moving to Sakura Hatagaya for additional 2 nights in Tokyo. Although the 2 places charged nearly the same price per night, the quality of accommodations were night and day. I'm not used to hostels, so I may be judging the Sakura Hatagaya too harshly. Again, my reference point is the fact that I paid the same price for a hostel room as a real hotel with new-looking furnishings located 2 blocks from a Metro station.
Location. Theoretically, it's 2 train stops from Shinjuku, but it involves additional cost and walking distance. The Keio New Line is neither part of the Tokyo Metro/Toei system nor the JR Rail system, so this fare is additional to any JR Rail Pass or Tokyo subway pass. We were lugging two large suitcases from the Shinjuku metro station to the Shinjuku Keio station, not realizing that the walking distance was considerable, especially when some stairs did not have escalator or elevator alternatives. While the hotel is a short distance from the Keio Hatagaya station, the hassle of getting to other parts of Tokyo was considerable.
Condition of facilities. The outdoor cafe seating had a nice feel, but the hotel lobby felt worn and outdated. It felt like time stopped in the 60's or 70's.The walls, furniture and carpeting all could use renovation and updating. The elevator was small, so often it was wall-to-wall with people. The staff, though, were friendly and helpful.
Condition of room. Our room was similarly worn and tired looking. Of the 3 places we stayed in Japan, our Sakura Hatagaya room was the smallest. Literally, we could not open our 2 suitcases on the floor at the same time. We learned to use the space under the bed to store our suitcases. The comforter did not have a separate quilt cover, so I did wonder how often the staff washed the comforters. The a/c was directed right at our faces while in bed, so there was an uncomfortable draft all night. I wish I had duct tape to secure a towel in front of the a/c vents to re-direct the air flow away from our faces. My absolute worst pet peeve was the shower curtain. It was so narrowly positioned that it was inevitable that it would adhere to my body while I was trying to soap up or rinse off. It reminded me of the old days of cruising when ships had tiny shower stalls with nylon curtains that would wrap themselves to one's body. It helps to open the shower curtain half-way when you're trying to soap up.
Breakfast. It's literally white sliced bread, sliced french bread, dinner rolls, soup/broth of the day, juice of the day, generic coffee and tea bags. Toasters were available for breads and rolls. We managed by supplementing our breakfasts with yogurts and fruits bought at nearby convenience stores and markets.
The Sakura provided a 24-hour lounge space (breakfast room) for those who want to surf the Internet or work at their laptops (given rooms have no desks). Outlets are available at a couple of tables.
In my opinion, I much prefer a budget business hotel rather than a hostel (given relatively the same cost). Ironically, it probably takes less time to get to Shijuku/Shibuya from a cross-town hotel near a Metro station than from the Sakura Hatagaya.
For me, the Sakura barely gets a 3-star (even for a hostel).
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- Also Known As:
- Sakura Hotel Shibuya
- Sakura Hotel Hatagaya Shibuya, Tokyo