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Our favorite hotels when we are traveling in Tokyo

Tokyo can be expensive. And so it depends on how you want to do it…5 star hotel experiences are definitely available. We like the Grand Hyatt Roppongi for a truly luxe hotel experience. But we also discovered you don’t have to spend a fortune on hotels (save it for 5 star dining!). And in less expensive category, we like the Granbell Shibuya. Here’s why:

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The Grand Hyatt Roppongi
¥43,000 – 50,0000 / night ($430 – 500 USD) for a double / king room for 2 people

This high-end hotel is well-situated in the hopping Roppongi district of Tokyo famous for its international dining and nightlife and right next to the exclusive Roppongi Hills Mall, so you won’t be far from the action…. that is if you want to leave the hotel. It’s truly stunning.

The rooms themselves are plush, chic and extremely comfortable. They have thought of every detail in terms of where you would want to place a water glass or a book, switch on a light or plug in a computer…and while these things may seem trivial on the surface, they are super annoying when not properly done. And despite Tokyo’s space challenge, the room is rather ample…really perfect if you are on a long trip with lots of luggage.

Beyond the room, there is an amazing gym and spa…and even though you are in bustling Tokyo, you should really make a point to take some down time here. The fitness center features the absolute latest in high-tech equipment from Life Fitness and its spotlessly maintained. And the NAGOMI spa offers a really luxurious spa experience should you want to splash out on a decadent treatment.

We actually cannot comment on the restaurants as we took most of our meals outside, trying to get in as much of Tokyo as possible. I will say though that every time we walked by a restaurant in the hotel it was totally packed, so I am guessing they are up to the same standard of excellence as the rest of the hotel. And we did really enjoy our room service breakfast every morning.

Which leads me to my next point…service. The service was impeccable, world-class even. From the details considered in delivering our room service to the absolutely tireless assistance of the Concierge, who helped Paul get tickets to the Tokyo Giants, we were impressed. I stay in a lot of hotels (and Grand Hyatt’s in particular) in a lot of cities and the service in this particular Grand Hyatt pretty much outshone them all.

Insider tip: Right next to the hotel is a liquor store, Suzusake (Phone: 03 3408 5851). They have an amazing selection of international beers, wines (US / Austrailian / Italian / French / South American) , cigarettes and other…at notably reasonable prices. Vueve Cliquot for ¥5180 ($52 USD), a bottle of Hoegaarden for ¥375 ($4 USD), a Duvel bottle for ¥572 ($6 USD), etc…

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The Granbell Shibuya
¥15,000 – 18,000 / night ($150 – 180 USD) for a double room with double bed for 2 people

The Granbell Shibuya is one of those small, mod boutique hotels that every major international city is now quite saturated with. Clean, sparse and modern design can also be cost efficient thus leading to better prices for the visitor. This is a trend that Accidental Epicurean adores…thoughtful aesthetics and attractive prices, what is not to like?

Two people recommended this to us before we booked….my friend Matthias who is often in Tokyo on business and a Japanese friend Emu who is from Tokyo. I have to admit (sorry Matthias) that it was the our Japanese friend with local knowledge who really pushed us over the edge to book it.

The Granbell Shibuya is also well situated just a couple of blocks away from the famous Shibuya intersection and the Hachiko exit featuring the well-known dog statue Hachiko that is now a symbol of loyalty in Japan. You will be surrounded by major department stores like Isetan and x, not far from a Don Quixote or Krispy Kreme, and just a short stroll to our favourite yakitori place. Point is…its pretty darn central to everything.

The rooms themselves are small in basic. But they have made some nice design choices, like partially clear walls for the bathroom and built-in closets that lend a feeling of spaciousness to an otherwise small space. And the clean colour schemes and graphics keep it looking tidy.

Internet and breakfast are included. Breakfast is pretty basic…no choices except Japanese or Western, and you just get what you are served. We skipped it most days and went to the local Doutor Coffee or Good Honest Grub.

The service is OK…probably a case of you get what you pay for. There is no Concierge but the Front Desk can help you with taxis and transfers. Their English is fairly limited so don’t expect detailed descriptions.

Overall though, I while it might come off as a little pale in comparison to the Grand Hyatt above, honestly it was a lovely little place to rest one’s head. A very good value in a very expensive city.

Insider Tip: a few interesting tidbits about this hotel neighborhood

  1. Since it is right around the corner from the posh Cerulean Tower Hotel you can walk next door and treat yourself to a cocktail in the Bello Visto bar with a panoramic view of Tokyo
  2. there are a surprising number of serious guitar stores in this neighborhood with the best prices Paul has seen outside of America… no joke
  3. directly across the street there is a hair salon where they do really amazing blow outs at a good price, and the salon owner speaks English

So if the fear of expensive hotels was holding you back from visiting Tokyo, check out the Granbell Shibuya. And if you are looking for luxe (or are on expense account 😉 ) the Grand Hyatt Roppongi is a must do.

I personally cannot wait for our next trip to Tokyo.

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Shibuya Granbell Hotel
15-17 Sakuragaoka-cho, Shibuya-ku
Tokyo, Japan
Telephone: +81 3 5457 2681

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Grand Hyatt Roppongi
6-10-3 Roppongi, Minato-Ku,
Tokyo, Japan
Telephone: +81 3 4333 1234

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