Palace Hotel Tokyo, Japan | HOTEL REVIEW
One of Tokyo’s most iconic hotels, with a history dating back more than half a century to its opening in 1961, the 23-story Palace Hotel Tokyo is dear to many locals, and in the heart of some of the city’s most exclusive real estate.
Date of stay: July 2019
Room: Grand Deluxe Room #1723
Reviewed by: Aaron Yeung
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PHOTOS AND VIDEOS by CHINMOYLAD
WHAT WE LOVED
- Location. Situated at 1-1-1 Marunouchi, Palace Hotel Tokyo is 15-minute walk from the Tokyo Train Station. Although Marunouchi is the economic and retail hub of Tokyo, the hotel’s location next to the Imperial Palace and its gardens lends it an air of solitude.
- Views. In line with its location, the views from the hotel’s restaurants, common facilities and rooms are stunning, and guests get to experience both the bustling metropolis and serenity. The Imperial Palace and its gardens offer tranquility and greenery (and while the rest of the city shines brightly around it, especially come the evening.
- Design. The interior is envisioned by globally renowned architect Terry McGinnity to exude a “grand residence”, Palace Hotel Tokyo was designed to bring about authenticity with its sophisticated approach to understated luxury. The rooms and suites are soothing and comforting, with leafy carpet motifs and earthy colour palettes throughout, taking inspiration from the Imperial Palace and gardens. The end result is a clean, simple contemporary luxe aesthetic with hints of the traditional that is very, very soothing.
- Rooms/Suites. There are 290 rooms at the hotel, including 12 suites:
- Rooms. There are three room types ranging from 45m2 to 55m2. We stayed at the Grand Deluxe King Room, which has an additional walk-in wardrobe and the largest balcony facing the Wadakura Fountain & Imperial Palace Plaza. It should also be noted that Grand Deluxe Twin Room does not come with a balcony, but instead comes with separate dining area and work desk, and is more suitable for business travellers.
- Suites. There are six suite types ranging from 75m2 to 250m2. The signature Palace Suite can be booked as a one or two-bedrooms unit by connecting with a Club Deluxe Room.
- Bathroom. Anne Semonin amenities are standard in the rooms, but Bamford amenities are available at Clubs & Suites. The bathrooms are very generously sized, ours at Grand Deluxe Room has a combined walk-in bath and shower combo. Many of the baths have stunning views.
- Service. Overall, service at Palace Hotel Tokyo was excellent and efficient, even with the hotel running at over 90% occupancy which was incredibly admirable.
- Check-in/check-out. The check-in desk is neatly hidden at the corner of the hotel lobby. We had our check-in in our room, and both check-in and check-out were very efficient.
- Turndown Service. The usual such as bath ropes and slippers were well prepared, including remembering our preferences for side of the bed. They also offered eye-masks and pillow mists of various scents.
- Club Lounge. We arrived late for afternoon tea at the club lounge, and the staff were starting to put the snacks, cakes and drinks away, but upon seeing us arrive, managed to prepare some snacks for us.
- Hotel lobby. The lobby is both classic and elegant, with a large floral display at the lobby centre – a signature Japanese design addition. The hotel has over 1,000 fine art pieces and some of the finest can be admired at the lobby. The shopping arcade with a variety of boutiques and restaurants below the lobby is connected to the subway station.
- Food. There are ten restaurants and bars/lounges at Palace Hotel Tokyo, which speaks to the popularity of the hotel locally, but also offers a little bit of everything catering to all tastes for in-house guests:
- Grand Kitchen. The all-day dining restaurant for daily breakfast, lunch and dinner. Grand Kitchen is a popular venue for breakfast business meetings. Breakfast is served semi-buffet style with specialty/hot items and eggs made to order, as well as a-la-carte. However breakfast service is restricted to in-house guests over weekends and public holidays which is very much welcomed, as city hotel food and beverage outlets can become overcrowded as a result of popularity within the community, sometimes to the detriment of in-house guests. The restaurant features a moat-side terrace which hugs the Palace grounds, one of the city’s most popular outposts.
- Wadakura (kaiseki), Tatsumi (tempura), Sushi Kanesaka (sushi), GO (teppanyaki). Wadakura is the signature Japanese restaurant, open only for lunch and dinner. The restaurant is actually a group of separate restaurants that each focuses on a different part of traditional Japanese cuisine. Apart from the main dining area, Wadakura features nine elegant private dining rooms. During our stay, we had the opportunity to experience a Nodate Kaiseki, with an appetiser, sashimi, kaiseki box, seasonal rice, clear soup, pickles and dessert.
- Other restaurants include the soon to open (November 2019) Esterre by Alain Ducasse, and Amber Palace, a one Michelin-starred Chinese restaurant
- Royal Bar (main lobby), The Palace Lounge (main lobby), Lounge Bar Prive (6th floor). The Royal Bar’s bar counter is a meticulous restoration of the one from the original Royal Bar in 1961 and also hosts the finest cigars and top-shelf liquors. The Lounge Bar Privé offers very different atmosphere with the view of Imperial Palace gardens.
- Club Lounge. The Club lounge is on the 19th Floor, and is open exclusively to Club Room and suite guests from 7am to 10pm, serving complimentary buffet breakfast (7:00am to 10:30am), afternoon tea (2:00pm to 4:00pm), evening cocktail and canapes (5:30pm to 8:00pm). In-lounge check-in and check-out service is also available. The lounge was never too crowded even with the hotel running at close to full occupancy, and the snacks and canapes were also excellent.
- Pool. The 20m x 5m indoor pool offers ample opportunity for morning laps. Access is only for in-house guests, and there are restrictions on when children can use the facilities. Although not an infinity edge, at night time the floor to ceiling windows offer fascinating views of the lit-up city.
POINTS TO NOTE
- Evian Spa. Palace Hotel Tokyo is the only hotel in Japan to have an award-winning Evian spa, and its one of the three Evian spas outside of France. Complimentary yoga sessions are also available at Evian Spa every Tuesday and Saturday morning. On a clear day, you can even see Mount Fuji from the spa – which lines up well with the spa’s Alpine-inspired theme. Although it is clearly by design, to us, the spa’s ambiance and overall feel, with its overly whitewashed tones (in particular upon arrival/reception), does feel a bit more medical or clinical in nature (like some of the Swiss medi-spa clinics) rather than relaxing (although the spa rooms are much more subtle in style/colour tones). It is something guests will want to be aware of when choosing a spa during their time in Tokyo.
- Room allocation. We suspect this is because of the structure of the hotel and its split between rooms with/without balconies, but there is no dedicated ‘club floor’ for rooms, and as a result, club access rooms are scattered throughout the property: rooms with club access can be on the same floor as standard rooms. Guests who are accustomed to booking club-level rooms, in particular for the ‘hotel inside a hotel’ concept or for the more secluded ambiance, might not enjoy the same experience here.
- Weddings, lobby and popularity. The Palace Hotel Tokyo is a very popular wedding destination among locals, hosting up to 1,000 weddings and ceremonies every year. With its 10 food & beverage outlets, and its iconic standing among the local populace, the lobby and common facilities of the hotel can occasionally feel crowded taking away a bit from the exclusive ambiance. However, despite this, service never slipped and once at the room enjoying the balcony or in the club lounge, it’s back to solitude.
- Japanese breakfast. Despite being a Japanese hotel, there is only a very small section at the buffet and on the menu dedicated to a Japanese-style breakfast, which would have been very welcome.
GENERAL INFORMATION AND GETTING THERE
- Palace Hotel Tokyo is located at Tokyo Station, and is 90 minutes’ drive from Narita International Airport.
HOTEL FACT SHEET
- LOCATION: Tokyo, Japan
- OPENED: 1961 (initial opening), 2012 (following extensive refurbishment)
- HOTEL ROOMS: 290
- RESIDENCE VILLAS: 0
- RATES FROM: USD 600/night
Rates are only an approximation and subject to change and availability
OFFICIAL HOTEL PHOTOS AND VIDEOS
© Palace Hotel Tokyo
Special thanks to Palace Hotel Tokyo for hosting us