When the Park Hyatt Tokyo opened its doors in 1994 in Shinjuku, it marked the very first luxury hotel of an international chain in the city. More than twenty years later, Tokyo now has plenty of big name hotels to choose from. Tourism has also grown exponentially with international arrivals growing 5 to 6x since that period. Twenty-three years is a very long time and with the deliberate stance not to renovate, one would initially think that the hotel would have fallen out of favor with all the competition in Tokyo’s hospitality scene. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. Today, the Park Hyatt Tokyo is generally recognized as one of the city’s (if not one of Asia’s) legendary hotels. The film “Lost in Translation” of course, played no small role in cementing this status. I must admit, scenes of Bill Murray walking along the halls of this calm city oasis came to my mind as I first entered this Hyatt category 7 property.
Tip: While there are many ways to get to Park Hyatt Tokyo from Haneda Airport, the best balance between convenience and price is the airport limousine bus which gets you to the hotel from the airport in just under an hour.
The hotel itself is not among the most conveniently located in Tokyo. The nearest train station is more than 10 minutes walk away but the property offers a free shuttle bus starting at 9AM up to 9:20PM with departures to Shinjuku station every :00, :20 and :40 of the hour. Alternatively, guests can also borrow bicycles, free of charge. I had arrived in Tokyo via Haneda Airport and took the airport limousine bus which dropped me right at the hotel’s doorstep.
Upon alighting from the bus, the bellhop was quick to offer to take my bags and escort me to the lobby which is located at the 41st floor. Upon entering, I was greeted with the hotel’s iconic triangular pattern windows and an indoor garden fixture. The bellhop was quick to point out that it was still a bit of a walk before we reach reception and while on the way, he pointed out the various facilities we passed by such as Girandole where breakfast is served.
Park Hyatt Deluxe Room
For this particular stay, I had booked a Park Deluxe King which is one notch above the entry level rooms. I was handed the room key which was an actual metallic key on a Tiffany key ring. I have this tendency to lose key cards when staying in hotels and I paused for a moment to ponder what would happen if I lost the key to my room at the Park Hyatt Tokyo.
At 55 square meters, the room is a spacious affair with a partition for cabinet and storage immediately visible as I entered. I could also make out parts of the bathroom which are opened from the side of the wardrobe and from the side facing the bed via sliding doors.
In keeping with the Japanese style, the room looked calming and minimalist, with a noticeably low bed (common in Japan) as well as warm shades of beige. As refurbishments were deliberately not done, the room gave off a slightly retro vibe which I thought was part of the charm. Personally, I have no qualms about having a “dated” feel as long as the furnishings are clean and don’t look worn.
The bed itself is very comfortable and fluffy with Egyptian cotton sheets and those iconic bedside lamps on either corner. If there’s any complaint I have, it’s that there didn’t seem to be any power outlet by the bed. The hotel was built long before mobile phones became an ubiquity.
In front of the bed is the TV, bookcase and minibar set in a long dark wooden cabinet. The style reminds me very much of what you’d find in a traditional Japanese home except at a bigger scale.
The minibar is quite grand and has a selection of different whiskeys (from Suntory, of course!) such as the Hibiki and Yamazaki. That scene in the movie where Bill Murray uttered, “For relaxing times, make it Suntory time” immediately entered my mind as I surveyed the cabinet that also contained Bombay Sapphire and Bacardi.
For something not alcoholic, I also spotted some interesting flavors while running my fingers through the complimentary tea bags – with the likes of Orchid Ginger Tea alongside the more conventional Green Tea.
The desk is set parallel to the window and it is here where one can find some power outlets for charging of devices. The room is obviously done with the business traveler in mind (for a minimum of US$700 per night for a room, I wouldn’t by surprised) with a stationery set tucked away in a small cabinet by the desk.
The views from the Park Deluxe are spectacular and on a clear day one is supposed to be able to see Mt. Fuji. I was in Tokyo during the typhoon season and it was cloudy but the views were stunning nonetheless.
The bathroom is elegant and it is perhaps the most retro thing about the hotel. While you get a nice bathtub as a centerpiece, small fixtures such as the faucet or the showers definitely give reminders of the 90s.
The shower area is spacious and while there is no rain shower fixture here, the shower head is adjustable and can be set high enough if one so wishes. The Aesop toiletries are fantastic. The hotel provides conventional (and thick!) bathrobes alongside traditional kimonos.
Park Hyatt Tokyo deserves special mention for all the bathroom amenities provided that go above and beyond your usual shaving and dental kits. I also spotted a comb, mouthwash, a vanity kit and even a cleaner for glasses.
Breakfast at Girandole
Tip: If your room stay comes with breakfast, opt for the ala carte dishes or the Japanese breakfast rather than the buffet. You won’t go wrong with eating local!
Breakfast is served at Girandole which is located at the lobby. For room stays that come with breakfast, guests have the option to either have the breakfast buffet, Japanese breakfast or order ala carte up to a maximum of 4,200 Yen per person. I opted to go with the latter as the buffet was rather meagre – though fresh juices are provided. You can view the full breakfast menu at Girandole here.
The ala carte menu on the other hand features a wonderful assortment of Western and local delights. For a more traditional experience, I went with the very hearty Japanese breakfast which featured some grilled fish, plenty of small appetizers, a towering bowl of tofu in soup as well as rice. Needless to say, it was more than enough to keep me going for the morning (and the afternoon!).
I also tried some of the Western breakfast items which were nicely presented. While I normally like to try Eggs Benedict for my morning meal, the wait staff recommended the Salmon Bagel with Spinach, Avocado and Fried Egg which didn’t disappoint.
New York Bar
Tip: Cover charge is waived at New York Bar for staying hotel guests.
A visit to the New York Bar is practically customary when at the Park Hyatt Tokyo. Featured heavily in the film “Lost in Translation,” the layout and furnishings look exactly the same as in the movie so you can recreate those moments between Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson if you wish.
Even those who couldn’t care less about the film would be bowled over with the sweeping views which are about as high as you can get at Park Hyatt Tokyo. The food and drinks are wonderful. I tried a couple such as the Lobster Roll and the Pork Ribs Tortilla – all of which did not disappoint.
It is worth noting that the New York Bar has a 2,500 Yen cover charge from 8pm onwards from Mondays to Saturdays and from 7pm onwards on Sundays (waived for hotel guests). This is however, well compensated for by the American jazz band that comes to play onstage in the evenings, adding to the wonderful ambiance to the place especially as you see the surrounding buildings lighted up.
Wellness facilities at Park Hyatt Tokyo come in the way of Club on the Park, an integrated spa and fitness facility for hotel guests as well as Tokyo residents who have signed up as members. When booking a stay in this hotel, it is worth noting that while fitness facilities such as the pool and gym are inclusive, there is a separate 4,000 Yen charge to use the sauna. After visiting Japan for quite a number of times now, I’ve noticed how the locals place a great emphasis on cleanliness and personal hygiene. Even in the smallest hotels, you can find a sauna whereas the concept would be alien in several other Asian countries. Nonetheless, the sauna at Park Hyatt Tokyo is more than just that. I was unable to take photos inside (for obvious reasons) but the facilities are quite plush. The dressing areas are elaborate and one could even find a small theater inside!
Unless you foresee yourself spending quite a bit of time in the hotel, the 47th floor fitness facility is probably more than enough for most guests’ wellness needs. The gym is divided into two sections and separated by the indoor swimming pool. For folks who prefer evening swims (such as myself), it is worth noting the pool here closes pretty late, at 10pm.
Twenty-three years on and despite the deliberate decision not to renovate, the Park Hyatt Tokyo remains to be one of the most luxurious options in Tokyo. Service was excellent with a genuine desire to please and there was absolutely nothing that got lost in translation here. The aesthetics may not be the most cutting edge in today’s world of tech-oriented design hotels but I found all furnishings to be immaculately maintained and more importantly, clean and lacking of wear and tear. If anything, the slightly retro feel was kind of cool and offered a rare peek at 1990’s sensibilities. If there is any negative aspect I could think of, it would probably be the distance to the nearest train station but it’s an inconvenience that is easily solved by the free shuttle bus every 20 minutes.
Park Hyatt Tokyo
3-7-1-2 Nishi Shinjuku, Shinjuku-Ku
Tokyo, Japan, 163-1055
Tel: +81 3 5322 1234