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As part of a 10-day trip to Asia, TPG Editor-in-Chief Zach Honig spent three nights at the Park Hyatt Tokyo last month. Here’s his review of Hyatt’s most famous property.
After an uneventful flight and limousine bus transfer from Narita (NRT), we arrived at the Park Hyatt Tokyo. My mom had a very bad headache after not sleeping on the flight, so I called the hotel from the bus to request that we be assigned a room that would be available when we arrived around 12:30pm. The representative I spoke to couldn’t have been more understanding or polite as she explained that the previous guests had not checked out yet, but that she’d do her best to accommodate us.
When we arrived, our Park Twin Suite was ready, which really sums up the experience — a fantastic staff consistently make the Park Hyatt Tokyo one of the best five-star hotels in the world.
Booking the Park Hyatt Tokyo
Our stay was in September, but I had made the reservation back in February to take advantage of an expiring Hyatt suite upgrade that I had gotten from a status match in 2014. The rate at the time of booking came out to 51,229 JPY, or about $425 based on the current exchange rate. It wasn’t an awful rate, but it’s definitely more than I usually pay for a hotel room.
Had I been a member at the time, I could have booked the FoundersCard rate of 37,000 JPY (about $310), which is actually quite a bargain for this hotel. Alternatively, I could have booked a fourth night for free using my Citi Prestige card, a benefit I’ve already taken advantage of for three stays this year, though I may not have been able to apply a suite upgrade.
As I mentioned, we were able to check in early, just before 12:30pm. The hotel’s regular weekday check-in time is actually 1pm (3pm on the weekends) —which is quite generous — and checkout is at noon. I was a Diamond member during my last stay, so the check-in was processed in my room. This time, we sat at reception and completed the process there.
Unlike every other hotel I’ve stayed at over the past few years, the Park Hyatt doesn’t issue keycards. Instead, you’ll receive two physical keys that you must, of course, return when you check out. Personally, I found the keys to be a hassle, especially if you’re used to walking around with a wallet and nothing else.
You can also book the Park Hyatt Tokyo using Gold Passport points. PHT is one of just seven Category 7 properties, alongside the Park Hyatt Sydney, Park Hyatt Paris and Park Hyatt Milan, requiring 30,000 points per night, or 15,000 points + $300, if Points + Cash rates are available. Note that you can transfer points instantly from Ultimate Rewards, earned with cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred. However, TPG values Hyatt points at 1.8 cents each and Ultimate Rewards points at 2.1 cents each, so in most cases it makes more sense to book the Park Hyatt Tokyo with cash.
Park Suite Bedroom
Hyatt Diamond upgrades allow you to confirm a Park Suite at booking, which is a very nice perk. You can use each upgrade for up to a seven-night stay. Park Suites are nearly 1,100 square feet, so there’s a lot to see. We’ll start with the bedroom.
As I was traveling with my mom and sister, we ordered a rollaway, which the hotel billed at a rate of 10,136 JPY (about $85) per night. My sister drew the short straw and ended up with the rollaway bed, which wasn’t nearly as comfortable as it looked. I called down to request a mattress pad and just a few minutes later we had one installed, which really made a big difference.
While generally spacious, the bedroom ended up feeling pretty claustrophobic with the rollaway bed, so we moved it into the living room; the bedroom felt much roomier after this move. I’ve also stayed in this same suite type with a king bed instead, which takes up even less space than the two doubles.
Park Suite Living Room
Since the only place to sit in the bedroom is on a bed, you’ll probably spend most of your time in the living room. The design and furnishings are top notch.
The living room can accommodate five people between the sofa and chairs, and four more at the dining table.
There’s a 42-inch TV, but with few English-language channels, we didn’t end up using it very much.
Considering you’ll be on the top floors of Tokyo’s Park Tower, the views are fantastic. We could see Shinjuku from our window, with the rest of Tokyo and the new Skytree off in the distance.
I’d first seen PHT’s mini-bar somewhere on social media — Twitter, if I recall — long before my first stay. If it’s not the most photographed mini-bar in the world, I imagine it’s somewhere near the top of the list. I ended up buying several of these same whiskeys at the BICQLO store in Shinjuku for about $6 each — but if you can expense the mini-bar charge of 2,200 JPY ($18) apiece, go to town!
There’s also a mini-fridge with more beverages. Prices range from 600 JPY ($5) for a soda to 8,100 JPY ($68) for Champagne.
The snacks here are 800 JPY apiece (about $6.50); you’ll be much better off stocking up at the Family Mart down the street.
Hot tea, however, is free. There’s an electric tea kettle constantly keeping the water hot, so you can make tea instantly, whenever you wish.
The room had several books I didn’t touch, including a dictionary, atlas and encyclopedia, all of which I could see coming in handy if the Wi-Fi didn’t work so well.
Wi-Fi performance, however, was excellent, and the service is free for all guests.
I did have quite a bit of trouble locating a free power outlet, however. After a few minutes of searching, I decided to look in one of the cabinets — score!
The room even has an iPhone A/V adapter, which is already connected to the TV. I didn’t use it to stream any content, though it certainly came in handy for charging my iPhone.
Park Suite Bathroom
Just like the living room, the bathroom is very spacious. You can enter through the bedroom or through a second door next to the suite entrance (which my sister used, since she was staying in the living room).
You’ll find a variety of Aesop amenities, in addition to regular Asian hotel goodies, like tooth brushes and razors.
There’s a nice soaking tub by the window, with its own set of Aesop amenities, plus a jar of bath salts (which are restocked twice a day).
Then, there’s a separate shower — and the water pressure is excellent.
There are even more bottles of Aesop soap, shampoo and conditioner in the shower, carefully placed with the labels facing up.
And no Japanese hotel room is complete without an electronic toilet.
There’s a large vanity area at the other end of the bathroom.
And a separate storage closet, with plenty of room for several bags. You’ll also find two sets of pajamas tucked away.
The hotel has a two-level spa/pool/gym facility, with an entrance on the 45th floor. The gym and pool are free of charge to guests, but the spa facilities require a payment of 4,200 JPY (about $35) per use, which is unfortunate. Diamond members receive spa access for free.
Another freebie (available to all guests) is the “Good Night Sleep Stretch,” available every Thursday and Saturday from 9-9:30pm on the 47th floor.
My sister and I were the only guests each time, so we ended up getting a private stretching session for free.
Guests can also use the gym free of charge, though a hair cap may be required.
Like the rest of the hotel, the pool level offers fantastic views of Tokyo.
There are two rooms of cardio equipments and weights, so you shouldn’t ever have trouble getting the machine or gear you want.
Treadmills and elliptical machines have built-in TVs, though the English-language selections are limited.
As for the other amenities, there’s a library between the restaurant and reception, with plenty of books available (note that they’re all locked up, so you have to ask if you’d like to borrow something).
And then there’s the main restaurant, Girandole, where the buffet breakfast is served, in addition to lunch and dinner.
Food and Beverage
I have free Hyatt Platinum status from my Hyatt Visa card, which isn’t nearly as beneficial as Diamond status, but does get you a pretty neat perk at the Park Hyatt Tokyo — the opportunity to order complimentary coffee, tea or both from room service each morning. I recommend calling the front desk to place your order, though; when I called room service directly a charge was added to my bill (which the staff removed at checkout).
Speaking of room service, at PHT you can expect a restaurant-level experience in your guest room. The delivery person doesn’t just roll up a tray — if you’d like, they’ll set your table and clean everything up once you’re done with the meal.
The presentation was fantastic. I’d expect this attention to detail if we were dining in a restaurant, perhaps, but not in our own hotel room. We ordered a club sandwich with french fries (2,000 JPY or $17), an udon soup (2,200 JPY or $18) and a catch of the day (3,700 JPY or $31).
Everything was delicious, but my favorite was the hearty udon soup.
Even better than dinner is the breakfast spread. Several set menus are available for 4,200 JPY (about $35), including the Japanese feast seen above. There’s more than enough to share.
I had the same Japanese breakfast in Girandole the next morning, but ultimately I preferred eating it in the room; the price is the same, regardless of where you eat. Note that if you’d like a Japanese breakfast, you need to order one in advance the evening before.
There’s also a buffet spread if you’re in a hurry (4,200 JPY, or about $35). It’s fantastic as well, but I prefer the Japanese set menu. Diamond members receive free breakfast in the restaurant.
No trip to the Park Hyatt Tokyo is complete without a visit to the famous New York Bar on the 52nd floor.
We originally planned to order a few cocktails and then head somewhere else (cheaper) for dinner, but we decided to stay after realizing that the prices are actually quite manageable with the current exchange rate.
We ordered scallops (4,600 JPY or $38), pizza (2,700 JPY or $23) and crab cakes (3,300 JPY or $28) — and all were fantastic.
Then, exactly at 8pm, a jazz band came out to play. A 2,200 JPY (about $18) cover charge applies once the music begins, but hotel guests can stay for free.
While the hotel prices seem reasonable with such a great exchange rate, you’ll still save a bundle by eating outside, such as the sushi bar in the basement of the attached Park Tower office building. The sushi there is delicious, and if you’re coming for lunch you can eat there or take it to go (the to-go spread isn’t available at dinner).
Honestly, you can’t go wrong with the Park Hyatt. Tokyo has plenty of fantastic five-star hotels, but even though I also love the Conrad and the Westin, I keep coming back to the Park Hyatt. Unfortunately, I no longer have Hyatt Diamond status, which definitely helps reduce the costs of “extras” like breakfast and spa access, but even without those perks (and a free suite upgrade), I wouldn’t hesitate to stay here again. Next time, I’ll be staying four nights and booking through Citi Prestige. Even after the introduction of the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is still a fantastic choice if you want to avoid the Reserve’s $450 annual fee, earn 2x on all travel & dining and earn a 50,000 point sign up bonus.
Even after the introduction of the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is still a fantastic choice if you want to avoid the Reserve’s $450 annual fee, earn 2x on all travel & dining and earn a 50,000 point sign up bonus.