Why Did I Have to Leave? A Review of the Conrad Tokyo
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To The Point
The Conrad Tokyo was the most incredible hotel I’ve ever stayed at — it’s exactly what a five-star hotel should be. Pros: Exceptional service and staff, beautiful decor and a top-notch Executive Lounge. Cons: Those prices are not for the faint of heart.
There is no other way to say this: This was the most incredible hotel I’ve ever stayed at. Everything about it was as close to perfect as you could get. From the thoughtful design to the location, not to mention the most amazing staff, I never wanted to leave.
It’s a bold statement, I know, but I think it’s totally warranted. Here’s why.
We booked this hotel directly through Hilton, getting the Honors advanced rate of $545 a night. If you’d rather pay in points, rates start at 95,000 points per night, worth about $570, according to our latest valuations. It’s steep, yes, but it’s worth hoarding your points for. The plus side is that with the Amex/Hilton-branded credit cards are offering welcome bonuses, a stay here or at one of Hilton’s other properties could be closer than you think.
Let me preface this by saying that Tokyo is absolutely huge — and as one of the world’s most populated cities, that shouldn’t really come as a surprise. Technically, it’s a prefecture made up of 23 wards, each of them known as their own city. The areas that you’ll likely spend a lot of time in are Ginza, Shinjuku, Shibuya, Roppongi Hills and Taito.
The Conrad Tokyo is in the Minato District and steps from the Shiodome subway station. It’s right next to Tokyo’s famously glitzy Ginza district (think: Fifth Avenue in Manhattan), which is also home to the best sushi I had in Tokyo at Sushi Ya. It’s about a 25-minute car ride to Haneda International Airport (HND) and an hour ride to Narita International Airport (NRT).
The hotel itself overlooks the beautiful Hamarikyu Gardens — described to me as what was once an “old, rich person’s private garden” by the staff — and is close to popular tourist destinations including Tsukiji Market (the outer market is still open!) and interactive art exhibit teamLab Borderless. It’s fairly centrally located, although I prefer the Shinjuku and Shibuya areas more.
Now I don’t know about you, but I’m one of those people where checking into a hotel evokes a mix of anxiety and frustration. Are they going to mess up my reservation? What if they don’t actually have a room for me? Am I going to get upgraded? I mean, it’s not like it doesn’t happen.
Instead, from the second I got off the LimoBus from NRT (can’t beat a $30 trip!), I was treated like a queen. In fact, it actually seemed like the staff was expecting me. I’d venture to say it was either due to my top-tier Diamond status or the fact that I had emailed the concierge so many times that they knew my entire itinerary. Your guess is as good as mine.
The doorman asked if I were staying at the hotel and if I knew how to get upstairs — I replied yes to the first question and no to the second — and he escorted me to another person who took me up the elevator to the main lobby …
… then to another person who brought me down the hallway …
… and then to yet another person who took me up another elevator bank …
… and, finally, to the lounge on the 37th floor. Even in my jet-lagged haze, I knew I was in for something special.
During check-in, one of the staff members brought me hot tea while another informed me that I was being upgraded to a bay-view room from a city-view room. She also printed out copies of my dinner reservations that I had been emailing back and forth with them about. Not a bad start, not a bad start at all.
I never thought I’d say this, but the check-in experience was so pleasant that I wasn’t even ready for it to end — and keep in mind I just got off a 13-hour flight. The staff was so incredibly friendly and welcoming that I felt like I was hanging out with long-lost friends. As we were wrapping up, they asked me if I wanted a snack from the beautifully presented snack bar, but I declined.
From there, a staff member helped me with my carry-on and escorted me down to my room. Pinch me.
I’m a sucker for a beautiful hotel room, and my room at the Conrad was certainly that. Let’s go on a little tour, shall we?
The bed was soft and comfortable. It felt like sleeping on a cloud.
I spy with my little eye … a welcome gift! It’s the little things. And yes, this little duck now lives on my desk at the TPG office.
The TV was directly across from the bed. I admittedly wasn’t watching much TV during my stay (and if you are, you’re doing it wrong), but it was fairly large and sleek.
File this one under: “Not a bad view to wake up to.” There was also another small welcome gift waiting for me, and it included chocolate truffles.
The room also had a Nespresso machine, even though I opted for coffee at the buffet instead — more on that later.
As for the bathroom, there was a clear window that separated it from the bedroom, with an option to put down the blinds for privacy.
Name something better in life than a fluffy hotel robe. Go ahead, I’ll wait.
I was traveling solo, but appreciated how the bathroom had double sinks.
If you’re paying attention, you might have noticed my charger in the photo above. My one (minor!) complaint about the hotel was that electric outlets were few and far between. At the end of a long day, the last thing you want to do is go hunting around your room for an outlet, you know?
Ultimately, I found one in the bedroom … here. A speaker next to the bed.
The plus side was that the bathroom had a giant vanity mirror with extra lighting built in. Good lighting is key.
There was even a high-quality hair dryer. One of my biggest pet peeves is when high-end hotels skimp on amenities like hair dryers and clothing irons, so the Conrad got major points for this.
The shower passed the TPG shower test with flying colors — so much so that it doesn’t even fit in the photo frame. That’s when you know. It was fairly spacious, but nothing too fancy. Just very sleek and clean.
I use special shampoo and conditioner, so I didn’t try theirs out, but the body wash was refreshing. It was interesting, though, that it was infused with mandarin tea.
They also had a scale in the bathroom, which I strategically avoided because … ramen.
This may have been one of the coolest things in the room: an automatic toilet! The seat cover would pop up automatically when I walked into the small room. The attention to detail in Japan is next level.
The double closet was large, good news if unpacking during a trip is your thing.
Clearly, it is not mine.
It also housed a small iron and ironing board.
Overall, my room was chic, classy and modern, without being too over the top. It wasn’t large by any means, but there was more than enough space for myself and all of my many belongings to feel at home.
Food and Beverage
Ask anyone who knows me, and they’ll tell you that I spent almost as much time researching where I was going to eat during my trip to Japan as I did redoing TPG‘s new Beginner’s Guide. That said, I knew I wanted to check out the hotel’s breakfast buffet situation, because I am powerless before a breakfast buffet — especially when it’s free.
The Conrad has a total of five restaurants plus the executive lounge. The breakfast buffet was in Cerise, its casual, all-day option. Drum roll, please, for this spread …
So! Many! Carbs! Word to the wise: Get the matcha marble cake.
Plenty of options for meat lovers and vegetarians alike.
More hot bar options, including waffles and poached eggs. Can I live here?
They also had lighter options if you’d rather save your appetite for all of Tokyo’s delicacies.
A gorgeous selection of fruit, although there was definitely a lack of berries.
Of course, it wouldn’t be complete without a handful of Asian options, too.
OK, maybe “handful” was an understatement.
There was also a selection of juices and flavored water.
Now here’s the part where I tell you that this wasn’t even all the food. They also had menus at each table with options like omelets, truffle poached eggs, Hokkaido butter pancakes and waffles. And, yes, it was all free.
I had a minor snafu when I went to order my actual entrée. Even though I was full from the buffet, I ordered the truffle poached eggs because I love anything with truffles. I’m not sure if the waiter just didn’t hear me correctly, but what he brought out was this …
Definitely not poached eggs with truffles. I ended up just having a bite not to be rude and finished up my coffee. The coffee was strong but a little too thick for my liking, but that’s characteristic of Japanese coffee overall.
One thing’s for sure: You definitely won’t go hungry here.
The Conrad Tokyo is a five-star hotel and has the amenities to prove it. My schedule was jam-packed, so I didn’t have time to try much of anything, but I definitely spent a little time checking them all out.
The gym was plenty large and well-stocked with numerous machines.
There was only one other person working out when I was exploring, and it looked pristine.
Twenty-nine stories up isn’t a bad spot to swim some laps, either.
One of my favorite amenities, as you might have guessed, was the executive lounge. There was an area with food and drink and another with comfortable tables and couches on either side of the hallway.
It’s always comforting to have a little home away from home when you travel.
They always had a selection of food out. I swung by after breakfast just to see what they were offering.
The views weren’t half bad, either.
The biggest perk, though, was the hotel’s concierge. When I say that in the weeks leading up to my stay I sent them about an email a day, I’m not kidding. They always got back to me within a few hours and were incredibly gracious and helpful. In fact, they got me a reservation at Seirinkan, the famed pizza spot in David Chang’s “Ugly Delicious” — and when David says it’s the best pizza in the world, you go. Spoiler alert: It was, and was easily one of the highlights of my trip.
I hope they know how appreciated their hard work was.
I can’t recommend my stay at the Conrad Tokyo enough. I fell in love with Tokyo during my trip, and a big reason why was because of this hotel. The staff were some of the warmest, most welcoming people I’ve ever met, which I especially appreciated as a solo female traveler. The hotel is in a convenient area with plenty of amazing restaurants, shops, and more right around the corner. It’s sleek and sophisticated without being unapproachable. You’ll have to shell out a fair amount of cash or points to stay here, but I can almost guarantee you that it will be one of the most memorable hotel experiences you’ll ever have.
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