Since I have visited Tokyo several times before and my purpose was to get a bit of eating and shopping done, I chose to be situated in Shinjuku. The numerous department stores including easy access to restaurants at all times of the day with plenty of airport buses made Shinjuku a great base for a short transit stay.
First off, I arrived late at night via the Haneda Airport Limousine Bus, and I was dropped off directly with my luggage on the porch. Check-in at the reception desk was straightforward and as a big city hotel, the lobby was still quite busy even at close to 10pm. Guests who have reserved an executive floor room could enjoy the check-in at the 37th floor as do Hilton Diamond members. While the check-in process was standard, there was no mention of upgrades for Hilton Diamond members but the agent did explain all the benefits including lounge access and the 3 different types of breakfast available to us at no extra charge.
The Hilton in Shinjuku is a large business hotel and located across the street from the Hyatt Regency which I have reviewed in past stays. As a tall building, it can be worth it to ask for a room in the higher floors but this was not necessary for us as my friend and me have both been to Tokyo several times before.
On the lobby floor, there is a concierge desk, a desk for shipping and courier services, a patisserie with artisanal chocolates and the Marble Lounge restaurant.
Room No: 1917 Category: Executive Premier Twin Room
For the assigned room, it was not the closest to the elevators but not that far either and with a central corridor, it was easy to locate the room. Right upon entry, the room is irregularly shaped with the wardrobe on the left and a minibar cabinet with 2 bottles of water that was replenished daily on the right. There is also a tea-brewing set on the cabinet with packets of Japanese green tea.
Inside the bedroom, there are 2 twin beds, comfortable enough for one person each and two pillows are included as well. The room has conveniently located light switches in the center of the twin beds but it only has one power outlet by the beds so guests have to share when sharing the room.
Across from the beds, there is a glass topped work desk with 2 armchairs and a ledge for more storage space. A flat screen TV hangs above the ledge.
There is another lounging armchair nearer the bed beside the window with a sofa that is perfect for having friends over in the room. With this setup, I also found it nice that the windows have an easy slider ‘doors’ instead of curtains. This makes it more convenient to close and open.
The bathroom itself is as nice as the room with the entrance beside the minibar cabinet. Insdie there is a simple countertop with one sink and a backlit mirror.
The best part of the bathroom is that it has both a shower area and a separate bathtub. While the bathroom has a glass window that opens out to the bedroom, there are privacy curtains to cover it up.
Unlike other Hilton hotels I have stayed in, this room is supplied with Crabtree & Evelyn toiletries. I think they are slightly more pleasant than the usual Hilton amenities by Peter Thomas Roth.
With this room facing Shinjuku station, the views are those of the surrounding skyscraper so it was nothing to shout about. Guests with club access could get slightly better views since it is located higher up.
Breakfast was included in our stay courtesy of the Hilton Diamond membership and as I mentioned, it was possible to have it in the lobby restaurant at the Marble Lounge or the Executive Lounge. Alternatively they could opt for a Japanese breakfast at the Junisoh restaurant on the second floor. This option requires reservations the night before with the staff at the club lounge but I do suggest fans of Japanese cuisine to go this particular route. Junisoh is also the hotel’s in-house Japanese restaurant.
Breakfast at the Marble Lounge
For guests who prefer a diverse variety or families with kids, the breakfast at the Marble Lounge might be the preferred choice as they have the widest variety served in a buffet style. Breakfast at the Marble Lounge is served from 6:30am to 10:30am on weekdays and until 11:00am on weekends. Since this was in Japan, there was the usual pickled vegetables with grilled fish and seaweed for consumption with rice.
Since noodle is an East Asian staple, there was also udon, ramen and soba with boiled eggs in the buffet.
Being a Hilton, there seems to be more Chinese dishes on the buffet as well since there was congee, fried noodle and steamed dumplings. Stir-fry vegetables and fried rice was also found on the buffet.
The rest of the buffet was standard breakfast fare with assorted vegetables for a salad bowl, a nice charcuterie selection with cheese and an egg station with the ingredients listed for guests so they can easily order their favourite omelette.
Other hot dishes on the buffet includes hash browns, scrambled eggs, sausages and bacon.
Continental choices in the buffet includes various cereals in large canisters, nuts and dried fruits with an assortment of yogurt and sauces.
The pastry selection was pretty good as well and for those who like their sweets in the morning, there are pancakes, waffles and french toast with strawberry, chocolate, maple syrup or honey as toppings.
Individually packed yogurts are available for guests to enjoy on the go if they are in a rush along with fresh smoothies. There is even a juice station for guests to make their own healthy vegetable juice. Coffee and tea was offered by the server while one may also make their own cappuccino or latte from the espresso machines.
Breakfast in the Marble Lounge definitely was adequate for a large hotel but it can get busy in peak breakfast times between 9-10am on weekends. Other dining options in this large business hotel includes the Metropolitan Grill serving western cuisine and Dynasty which is a Chinese restaurant. St. George’s Bar and Zatta Bar and Lounge are two venues for drinks and snacks in the evening. Hilton Diamond members gets drinks voucher to be redeemed at the 2 bars inside the hotel.
Hilton Executive Lounge
Another spot to relax and unwind would be the at the Executive Lounge located on the 37th floor, just one floor below the top level. The lounge has its own small reception area where guests can check-in and check-out, or make restaurant reservations. The Executive Lounge serves breakfast from 6-10am every day with pre-dinner drinks served from 6-8pm. Afternoon tea is served between 3:00pm and 5:00pm. Other useful services in the lounge includes a printer and computer for guests to use as well as as a range of DVD that can be loaned to guests.
There is snacks and light bites along with alcohol served in the evenings daily. Red and white wines along with a choice of sake are available from the self-serve bar.
On the food side of things, there was salad and meatballs for light dishes on top of snacks like pretzel sticks and nuts.
Breakfast is also served in the lounge for guests staying in an Executive room or Hilton Diamond guests and they seem to be a more concise selection of what was available below in the Marble Lounge. The quieter surroundings here are nicer for those preferring serenity when having their breakfast.
The Japanese selection for breakfast is available in the lounge as well and guests could even make their own freshly squeezed orange juice here.
Otherwise, the dishes seems more or less standard breakfast fare in hotel buffets, with hot dishes and cooked eggs available in the lounge as well.
The lounge has more seating variations compared to the Marble Lounge restaurant and is thus more suitable for smaller groups and single travellers. It is also smaller in terms of size with limited seating space. All this contributes to greater privacy and a more peaceful environment to start the day.
Japanese Breakfast at Junisoh
Finally the third choice for breakfast is perhaps of most interest here as it is a Japanese breakfast set served in limited quantities, with a choice of 3 seatings at 7, 8 or 9am. The breakfast is described as a ‘Healthy Japanese Breakfast’ with a “delightful 3-layered bento box filled with a rotating menu of fresh salad, fish, soup, and rice, and the accompanying green tea and apple vinegar juice promise it to be a healthy affair, closing on a sweet note with your choice of coffee or tea paired with dessert.” During the summer season when the hotel is more busy, guests should preferably reserve ahead if they want to enjoy this.
The Japanese breakfast set is served on a tray at the counter in the Junisoh restaurant located on the 2nd floor above the lobby. I would probably say this breakfast set is nearly similar to what one might get in a Japanese ryokan stay, so guests seeking a fresh cultural perspective on how locals like their breakfast could opt for this set. Inside the set, there is usually an array of starters containing an egg dish, a stewed dish, and other light cold starters. The main course would usually be a grilled fish and rice with miso soup, laver and pickles accompany the whole the set.
After finishing the main dish, a small bowl of fruit is served with a shot of yogurt. Japanese tea is served as the main beverage though guests could still enjoy a cup of coffee afterwards at the lounge if needed. Since the food here comes in a set with most of them served cold, they might not be to everyone’s taste. But if you are a fan of Japanese food, I say to give this a try when staying here if your room entitles you to it.
As a large city centre hotel, the Hilton has several floors of meeting space including a large ballroom to host weddings with an on-site chapel. Wellness facilities are situated on the 5th floor starting with a nicely equipped fitness centre that is bright.
Aside from the fitness equipments and the numerous treadmills and stepping machines, there is a small studio space for stretching activities.
An indoor swimming pool is found next to the fitness centre with natural light filtering inside. This makes the pool useful even during winter season, though this is meant to be more of a lap pool and not really comparable to the large pool at the Park Hyatt, located in Shinjuku as well.
There are open showers and lockers for guests to use in the area with a small refrigerated cabinet selling drinks, though there did not seem to be any attendants around so I surmise payment is done on an honour system here.
There is also an outdoor tennis court that is visible from the room. As a dense metropolitan city, there is a need to extract every acre of space to make it useful and this hotel does it well.
One night here can range between ¥22,000-32,000++ ($220-320) depending on the season. While prices are certainly higher than the average tourist hotel, the free shuttle to Shinjuku station, the convenient location and the nice lounge and diverse breakfast selections make it easier to stomach the cost. Comparing it to the Hyatt Regency, I liked it somewhat better, but it would not beat the standard set by the Park Hyatt which usually costs nearly twice per night. For a couple of nights in Tokyo where I am out of the room most day, I would choose this hotel again, but if I were to spend more time using the facilities, the Park Hyatt might be worth it. (Disclaimer: I am somewhat partial to Park Hyatts)