Ritz-Carlton Tokyo, Minato Review

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  • Value For Money

nottinghamfella's review of Ritz-Carlton Tokyo, Minato


“We have stayed twice this year at the RC Tokyo. Both...”

Written on: 05/12/2010 by nottinghamfella (41 reviews written)

We have stayed twice this year at the RC Tokyo. Both visits were perfect.

Our first visit to the RC Tokyo was also our first visit to Japan. We arrived at Tokyo's Narita Airport minus our baggage due to the incompetence of British Airways!

After spending over an hour filling in lost luggage forms we finally made our way to the Arrival Concourse.

We had thought about getting the Limousine Bus from the Airport to the Hotel as this seemed the easiest option without getting a taxi or hotel car service which were both very expensive.

I have no problem paying good money for services when they represent good value but £180 for a one way transfer from the airport to the hotel is not good value when you can get there via public transport for about £25.

We approached the desk for the limousine bus and enquired about the journey to be told there wasn't another bus to our hotel for nearly 2 hours as they are timed to coincide with arrivals. Unfortunately they aren't timed to coincide with British Airways losing your baggage and having to stay behind filling forms in.

We therefore decided to make our way to the Narita Express Train. This is just one of a number of train services that operate from the airport to different parts of Tokyo.

We approached one of the automated ticket machines and followed the instructions. Simple enough, or so we thought. We then approached the ticket inspection only to be stopped and told we had only purchased a reservation and not the actual ticket.

We did read up about this before we left the UK but of course after a long flight and problems on arrival we had gone and forgotten. We went back and this time went to the staffed ticket desk, there we were greeted by the always fantastically pleasant member of staff who issued us an additional ticket and off we went.

The Narita Express train station is directly under the terminal, there are two stations, one at each of the two terminals and it is just as easy as the Heathrow Express. The noticeable difference is that the staff are friendly, helpful and the trains are spotless and leave bang on time.

Our journey into Tokyo was quite long, about 60 minutes, through typical industrial land until you reach the outskirts of Tokyo itself when you start to see the bright neon lights, even in the middle of the afternoon.

On arrival at Tokyo Station we disembarked our train into a station that handles over 4,000 train journeys a day. If you think of the size of the new St Pancras, plus the size of Kings Cross, plus the size of Euston then you will be getting near to the size of Tokyo Station.

The station is located in the Marunouchi business district near the Imperial Palace and the Ginza shopping area. The station handles most of the Shinkansen (Bullet) High Speed Trains, Local and Regional Commuter Trains as well as the Tokyo Metro (Underground) network.

If you intend to use the train, then there is one piece of advice I would recommend before travelling to Japan and that is to get hold of a Map of Tokyo Station before you leave. You will defiantly need it otherwise you will never get out of the station.

Thankfully the RC Tokyo were kind enough to post us in advance a copy of the map and with that in hand we tried to find our way to the Metro Station.

Even with a map we had to ask several people before we finally ended up in the right location. (A big thank you to everyone that helped!).

If you intend to get to the RC Tokyo by Metro then you need the Marunouchi Line (Red Colour) from Tokyo Station, one stop getting off at Ginza where you change to the Hibiya Line (Silver Colour) from Ginza to Roppongi (4 Stops).

The next problem was getting a ticket. We were at the entrance to a long corridor leading down to the Marunouchi Metro Line from within the Station. There were ticket machines all around us and also ticket booths.

We assumed we needed a ticket from one of these booths to be able to get on the train, wrong!, if you see the green machines with JR or Japan Rail on them then these are for the Commuter Trains not the Metro.

Continue down the corridor and eventually you will reach the main Metro Station Concourse where there are a large number of automated ticket machine (they take coins and notes) where you can purchase a ticket.

The first time you use the metro the best options is to purchase the cheapest ticket then when you arrive at your destination, just insert your ticket; it will tell you if there is an excess fare to pay. If there is just look for the machine marked "Excess Fares" or similar. Just insert your ticket and it will tell you how much to pay.

The good thing with the ticket machines is that you can put your ticket in any way you like and it always takes it and produces it at the top, perfectly pressed and facing the right way, go on try it (the simple things always amaze!).

On arrival at Roppongi station you will be greeted with numerous exits. If you take any of them you will end up right in the middle of a busy street with your entire luggage, instead follow the signs for connections to the Odeo line. You will basically walk along nice wide underground walkways until you see the signs for the Midtown Shopping Complex, follow these signs and you will arrive into an upmarket shopping centre where you should start to pick up signs for the Ritz Carlton. Keep making your way to the outside plaza where you will find the Ritz Carlton entrance in the corner.

This is a side entrance but it certainly beats walking all the way round the complex to get to the main car entrance.

From the side entrance you follow the signs to the lift and make your way up to the 42 floor, this is where the main lobby and reception is located and where the Ritz Carlton Luxury begins.

As soon as we walked out of the lifts we were greeted by members of staff and escorted to the reception desk. As you take the short walk to reception you start to notice something very special. Every member of staff in the lobby seems to stop and bow at you, a polite bow back is greeted with a second bow and a smile of appreciation.

At reception the escorting member of staff introduced us to the reception team, all of which bowed again and we were then welcomed by Josephine the Rooms Division Manager (on secondment from the RC Hong Kong whilst it undergoes renovation).

As soon as we gave our names we were immediately recognised as being resident on the Ritz Carlton Club Floor and we were escorted up to the Club Lounge (53rd Floor) by a member of staff who then introduced us to the Club Lounge staff who handled our check in.

We were immediately offered a complimentary drink, we both chose their recommended Cherry Blossom Cocktail which was champagne with a delicate taste of cherry, very welcoming after the long journey. We were also given some hot towels to refresh ourselves.

The check in process was perhaps not as quick as some of the more business orientated hotels but it was certainly more luxurious and relaxing with everything being handled for you whilst you enjoy your refreshments and a view of Mount Fuji from what is Japans tallest building.

When we were ready we were escorted to our room. The member of staff introduced us to the facilities and checked to see if there was anything else we needed. They had already picked up on the fact we had only two small bags and asked if our luggage had been lost, from that moment they handled everything with British Airways, telephoning them constantly for the five days we were without luggage. They even communicated with our next hotel the Ritz Carlton in Osaka and made sure they were aware of the situation offering to transport the luggage on should it arrive.

The room we had booked was a Club Deluxe Room, again located on the 53rd floor just round from the club lounge.

The room itself was fantastic and very well furnished. The hotel was celebrating its first birthday whilst we were there and they provided us with a bottle of very nice Bordeaux together with a RC Tokyo 1st Birthday Corkscrew in a small presentation box and some delicious chocolate truffles.

The room itself had two large double beds (American sized doubles), these were of the usual high RC quality, two large wardrobes one with a laptop safe the other with integral drawers and a valet box for your overnight shoe shine.

In the entrance hallway there was a side unit containing not a mini bar like some 5 star hotel provide, the RC provides an honesty bar build into the unit with fridge containing everything from the finest Remy Cognac through to the classic Japanese Sake, next to the fridge were drawers full of fine red wine, a selection of different snacks together with the facilities to mix your own cocktail.

On top of the unit was a traditional Japanese tea set, the rest of the equipment such as kettle and tea or coffee, were located inside the unit.

There was an additional unit inside the bedroom which contained a 40" Sony Bravia LCD TV with the normal interactive functions such as internet access, movies, music, etc.

The room also contained a decent sized desk together with two desk chairs, lamp, stationary, power outlets including international adaptors, etc.

There was also a coffee table together with a selection of western and Japanese periodicals including a book (together with a detailed map) about the sculpture / public art around the Midtown area (worth a walk around to get your bearings).

The bedside tables contain a good bedside lamp together with an electronic control panel; this controls the curtains, the blind and all of the room lighting including the bathroom. It also has a do not disturb button which puts a little red light on the door outside.

The bathroom was huge, bigger than the whole room at a recent supposed five star hotel we stayed at in Manchester.

You enter the bathroom through a pair of wooden double doors, inside there are two large vanity units each with its own wash basin and set of drawers containing towels, hair dryer, various toiletries such as toothbrush and paste, hair brush, mouthwash, body location, mending kit, etc.

There is a large deep bath that has the perfect recline for enjoying a glass of wine whilst you relax watching the TV. Yes the bathroom has its own 20" LCD TV. Not only that but like all technology in Japan, it far exceeds our own TV's in Britain because this TV just like the one in the bedroom can at the press of a button translate everything that is said into another language. I don't just mean subtitles, it mutes out the normal speech and replaces it with that of your chosen language. Fantastic. Of course there is the usual selection of international channels there as well, watching BBC world presenters talking Japanese is very strange, but not as good as watching Japanese presenters talking in English.

The bath has a handheld shower should you wish to wash your hair in the bath. There is also a separate shower room with large rain shower head.

The bathroom toiletries on the Club Floor are all Bvlgari The Blanc (45ml bottles) which we enjoy.

You may be wondering where the toilet is (or maybe not!) well once again those technology experts of Japan don't just have toilets they have TOTO.

TOTO is in its own little room. It has a heated seat, automatic flush and special "cleaning" function. Think bidet, upside garden sprinkler and blow dryer all in one! All controlled from your touch button control panel. (As I previously said with the ticket machine at the Metro Station, the simple things always impress!).

The bedroom also contains a small table and two arm chairs or in some rooms there is a window seat. The view out of the window is amazing; we looked right down over the Imperial Palace and most of Tokyo.

I am told that the rooms at the RC Tokyo are the largest in Tokyo, I don't know how true this is as we haven't staid anywhere else in Tokyo but they certainly compare well with other 5 Star Deluxe Hotels we have stayed in.

Back to the Club Lounge, this is open I believe from as early as 6am through to about 10pm, every day of the week.

The lounge provides complimentary refreshments throughout the day including a breakfast buffet of western and Asian foods, mid morning cakes and coffee, a light buffet lunch selection, an excellent afternoon tea buffet, an evening pre dinner canap selection followed by late evening drinks and desserts.

The buffet always contained a mixture of western and Asian foods and it was constantly restocked. If you are only a light eater then there is more than enough to provide for you throughout your stay. We did find that late evening we were wishing for something a little more substantial so we did use room service a couple of times.

The food is all presented on a large central tables and a number of side tables. You are requested to help yourself from the buffet. Drink orders are taken from you by the Ladies and Gentlemen serving in the lounge and they are then brought to your table.

Champagne (I am unsure of the vintage) is free flowing so feel free to ask for it. There is a selection of different loose leaf tea and coffee is also available at anytime and is served in the finest Wedgewood china.

The lounge contains a selection of sofas, comfy chairs and tables together with a small library area with newspapers and magazines as well as coffee table books. A rare Wedgwood Portland vase is on the book case.

The lounge staff will do anything for you and provide all of the normal concierge services you would expect.

After your first introduction at check-in it appears that every member of staff remembers your name and always makes you feel welcome.

The problem we had was we only had the clothes we had travelled in together with a pair of jeans each in our hand luggage. The staff were very understanding of this and didn't mind us using the lounge for the time being in our jeans and trainers.

I would say that I would not personally as a guest like people to use the hotel or the lounge with such clothes in an evening. Whilst T-Shirts and Jeans are fine for sightseeing they do lower the class of a hotel in an evening. With this in mind we set about finding some suitable clothes and went into the shopping centre next door. The problem we had was that Japanese clothing sizes don't quite accommodate our western physiques!

We therefore went back into the hotel we were again immediately greeted by Josephine who instantly recognised us. We told her of our predicament and she immediately sprung into action by ringing round clothing stores for us. She then provided us with a clear map and directions together with opening times and escorted us down to the main entrance.

Within a few hours we at least had a change of clothes we could use within the hotel without feeling too out of place. We just had to pray the holiday insurance would pay out as the Japanese prices for clothes were worse than Sloan Square!

We enjoyed room service a number of times throughout our stay, on each occasion the food was delivered quickly and presented on a small dining table brought to our room all set up for dinner together with starched white table cloth, small square vase with an flower in, cut crystal glassware etc.

The food was very fresh and of excellent quality and quantity, kept hot in special heated boxes so none of the problems of cold food like some hotels seem to be good at!

It was also explained to us on each occasion to phone down and they will remove the table straight away as they knew they can sometimes get in the way. We tested it and within 3 minutes of the call it was gone!

I did use the hotel gym during our stay; it certainly puts every UK gym I have ever been to shame.

The gym is located on the 54th floor and has all the latest Life Style fitness equipment, together with a warming up area, smith machine, benches, free weights, barbells, dumbbells and a varied selection of resistance machines. The cardio machines overlook the City skyline and have televisions built into the machine showing the same channels as in the bedrooms together with various western and Asian music channels and radio stations. All the gym staff are friendly and approachable and welcome and greet you personally whilst you are in the gym (at shift changes new staff even greeted me)

If you are in any difficulty whilst in the gym, there are discreet camera dotted around the suite, so if you are in any difficulty whatsoever, a member of staff will appear and help you; I was having difficulty in using the Smith machine and after several minutes on working how to screw more weights onto the machine, a member of staff appeared and helped me.

Throughout our stay the hotel staff were fantastic, they anticipated our needs at all times such as providing double the amount of toiletries on the second day as they had found out our bags were still missing.

Perfect. Harmony in a very busy City.

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