We, a RWCup Tour Group, stayed here twice – 4 nights, then Kyoto for 3 nights, then here again for 5 nights, so we got to know it quite well. We came by Coach from the Station (Bullet train from Osaka to Tokyo) and it quickly became apparent, due to the numbers of Police & Security Personnel, that something was amiss – it transpired that the Pan-Asian Summit had just finished & about 60 Countries’ Heads-of-State, Royalty, Premiers, Presidents & Dignitaries, were all decamping from the Hotel.
The 1st impression is its scale – 1500+ Rooms and 39 Floors in Twin Towers, incorporating a Office Block, innumerable Restaurants, Bars, Meeting/Conference rooms, a veritable Shopping Mall, a Rolls-Royce showroom, Gym (expensive Extra), Outdoor Pool, enormous gardens with super water features & hundreds of huge Koi Carp – the Lists goes on and on. Oh and Location - excellent
Rooms, which were a challenge to find, as one had to be certain to use the correct Lift in the correct Tower (there were several banks of them), were extremely good, well-appointed and all with fabulous views over the City, if a tad snug.
Breakfast was a tale-of-2 extremes – First was in the Restaurant in the main cross walk between the Twin Towers, the Shops and both Receptions (Yep – both) with a gorgeous view over the Gardens (window seats were much prized). Buffet style with No Cook-to-Order Chef for eggs was disappointing, as was service, selection/ choice, quantity (they could not keep-up, though I admit the Hotel seemed at capacity, but then again - that was hardly a surprise, what with a world Cup in town). Bottom-line was quite poor, exacerbated by the lengthy queue.
2nd in the Restaurant (to one side of the Northernmost Reception) was so completely different, it was as if we were in a different Hotel. Still ostensibly Buffet-style, but queue (5 mins in 7 visits), excellent service, far superior quality of items, broader choice (fruit, yoghurts, Juices, Bakery items), Chef ‘On Duty’ for eggs-to-order etc. Very well run and staffed.
Trader Vics - booked a Non-Smoking table for an adult Cocktail before going out to dinner. Arrived, shown to our Table, ordered our drinks, only to find 6 gentlemen sit down at the next table and light-up. Query to the server elicited the following – “You’ve got it. This is it.” The other 18/19 tables are ALL Smoking, so we were surrounded. We drank-up rapidly and left, reeking of nicotine, & quite disgusted. How absurd.
Restaurants – we looked, read the Menus, saw the prices, gasped, and left.
Gardens were superb, proved a very photogenic setting, delightful scene, stunning backdrop for the posers & selfies – you name it.
Location – Hotel is in a super spot with an enormous array of Sights, Places or Attractions within walking or short tube ride distance. Staff were incredibly knowledgeable, helpful and many spoke incredibly good English. We did not always ask the Concierge, as they invariably had a queue.
In Summary – Very Good, but if it was not for the aforementioned caveats, it could, and frankly should, have reached Excellent. For the Business traveler on expenses, it’s a no brainer. For others, I would still commend it, since the Pluses way out scored the caveats and the Location scored very highly.
A suggestion - make it all Non-Smoking ? The Smoking Rooms off the main walkway enable a powerful aroma of nicotine to pervade everywhere.