Tried & Tested

Hotel check: Conrad Tokyo

1 Feb 2006 by business traveller

What's it like? Open since last July, the Conrad Tokyo's position on the top 10 floors of a37-storey building makes the views a special selling point, with one side looking over the city and the other over Tokyo Bay. The base of the building is used for conferences and meetings and there is even a wedding chapel (an increasingly common feature in new Eastern hotels).Reception is on the 28th floor and joins onto the lounge bar, which has floor-to-ceiling views over the city. There are over 400 staff and service is excellent – especially at the lobby desk if you need directions or advice on train times.

Where is it? In the heart of the new Shiodome district (Shinbashi underground), which has risen from the disused docklands in the last three years and now resembles a scene from a cleaner, more positive Blade runner. High walkovers and raised train lines channel people across the busy roads and between the towering new-builds. The hotel is five minutes' walk from both the JR (Japanese Rail) line and the underground. Narita airport is 80 minutes by road (a "limousine" bus will drop you at the door for around £15) or an hour by train to Tokyo underground station on the Narita Express for the same price.

How many rooms? 290 with a minimum size of 48sqm. There are 172 garden and city view rooms, 50 executive rooms, 63 suites, four deluxe suites and one royal suite which has its own bar, a steam shower and spa bath, a telescope,sound system and office facilities.

Room Facilities All rooms have modern Japanese decor with oriental cherry blossom detail on the beds, fabrics with floral designs and Japanese tea sets. Each room has a 37-inch plasma screen TV, DVD and video,wired and wireless internet (Y1,500/£7.40; cables available forY2,000/£9.85), wireless phones that can be used throughout the hotel,iron and ironing board, mini bar and electronic safe. My room was a garden room with pale green decor (the city view rooms are decked out in red). I overlooked the Royal Hamarikyu Gardens, and Rainbow Bridge on Tokyo Bay. The room was full of gadgets: I had a surprise when I visited the black granite and white marble bathroom to find the toilet seat was heated (it can be switched off), and there were various buttons to press for adventurous squirts of water, bidet-style.

Electric wooden blinds between the bedroom and bathroom allow you to watch TV from the freestanding bath tub. There was also a large separate rain shower with shower attachment. The toiletries are designed for the hotel, and I was slightly disappointed that they were not replenished each day although the comprehensive range of extras were; in small black boxes I found a hairbrush, ear buds, cotton wool balls and pads,a hair band, nail file, toothbrush kit and razor with gel.

There was a nightly turn down service, which involved a pillow change and the leaving of fresh fruit and biscuits. Guests in executive suites can use the executive lounge on the 28th floor, open till 10pm, which offers cooking facilities, tea and coffee and internet access, with a log fire and easy chairs overlooking the city side. When I visited it was peaceful and cosy.

Restaurants and bars The bar and lounge "Twenty Eight" plays live music and serves a good range of cocktails. You can reserve the seats by the window to get the best view over the bay. There are four restaurants, including China Blue with its eight-metre walk-in wine cellar (the hotel stores over 3,000 bottles); and Kazahana, a Japanese restaurant with a sushi bar where you can watch your order being freshly made, equipped with both a traditional seated Tatami area and a modern seating area and three private dining rooms. Then there is Gordon Ramsay at Conrad Tokyo (see review, opposite page) and the brasserie-style Cerise by Gordon Ramsay.

Business and meeting facilities The business centre by reception offers internet access and charges Y500 for 15 minutes. I found the Japanese keyboard slow to use, having to type with one hand while holding down another key to keep it in English; it may be worth asking if there is an easier way. I usually asked reception when I needed help, and they were very thorough in finding out the information.

Leisure facilities The hotel has a 25-metre pool with a glass roof, which is busy in the mornings and costs Y2,500 (£12). Spa treatment rooms are arranged in a circular space with 10 rooms meeting in a central area.There is also a double spa room with menus for men and women. There is a fully equipped gymnasium, open 6am to 10pm. 

Verdict A hotel in a great location with excellent service and beautiful clean decor.

Prices Telephone rates for a midweek stay in February started at Y44,800 (£221) for a standard room with city view, rising to Y75,000 (£369) for a garden suite. Best available internet rate was Y45,000 (£222) for a standard room with city view. All rates room only.      

Contact Conrad Tokyo, 1-9-1, Higashi-Shinbashi, Minato-Ku, Tokyo, tel +81 03 6388 8000, conradtokyo.co.jp.

Felicity Cousins

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