Omotenashi at 52 Floors Up
One of the goals of Navigating Japan is to introduce visitors to Japan to a wide variety of accommodations for your stay. There really is no wrong way to experience Japan. Whether you’re staying at a traditional ryokan, immersing yourself in a neighborhood with AirBnB, or soaring in a tower hotel far above the ground.
But when it comes to Tokyo, there is no shortage of opulent 5-star hotels to choose from. As a result, the rates can be as high up as some of the rooms are from the ground. However, there are also incredible point and loyalty program redemptions to help stretch your budget.
In addition to world-class rooms, dining, and amenities, these Tokyo properties infuse the uniquely Japanese concept of ‘omotenashi’. Omotenashi is a dedication to customer service, craft, and etiquette that elevates an already luxury experience to something next level. Therefore, on our list of dream stays was a night at the Andaz Tokyo and it did not disappoint.
Arrival and Checking In
Andaz Tokyo is located in the Toranomon (literally Tiger’s Gate) neighborhood, a high-end business and residential district close to the Imperial Palace and Tokyo Station. Occupying the top floors of the Toranomon Hills Mori Tower, the tallest building in Tokyo, you’ve officially made it to the ‘peak’ of Tokyo luxury hotels. Toranomon Hills Mori Tower is connected by underground passageway to two Tokyo Metro Stations. The closest are, Toranomon Station (Ginza Line) and Toranomon Hills (Hibiya Line). It’s also a 15-minute walk from JR Shimbashi Station.
Upon arrival on the first floor, there’s a small entrance lobby decked out in the hotel’s signature design. From there an elevator whisks you up to the 51st Floor lobby for check-in. Upon stepping into the main lobby, you can catch your first glimpse of how far the city sprawls beyond.
A receptionist greeted us at the front desk and steered us to a small private booth for the check-in process. For anyone coming from the United States, where even at luxury hotels check-in is usually a highly transactional and quick process, it’s a bit more drawn out in Japan. Within seconds of sitting down we had welcome tea in front of us and started to receive our paperwork.
We had booked a Deluxe King, Park View but since we had booked using the American Express Platinum Fine Hotels & Resorts Program, we received a room upgrade to a Deluxe King, Tower View. In addition to the room upgrade, we received early check-in and guaranteed 4:00pm check-out. Since this was a one-day “staycation”, we were thrilled to have extra time at the property and ensured we’d be able to use the $100 USD property credit we also received as part of the program. This credit could be used at any of the four on-site restaurants, the spa, bar, or for room service.
The check-in gave us a comprehensive overview of the property and while we did it entirely in Japanese, most of the staff spoke excellent English and communication was never an issue. The receptionist dropped us off at the elevator so we could head down to our room on the 50th floor.
Wowza – Tokyo Tower View, King Room
In a city famed for its capsule hotels space is at a premium and even some higher-end rooms can be fairly small. That is NOT the case at Andaz Tokyo where we had ample living, resting, and bathing space with an unparalleled view.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is worth a few more, so check out our video:https://youtu.be/iBdC0ud-R-k
The room was tastefully apportioned with any any all amenities you could need. At the same time they were discreetly tucked away adding to the minimalist design aesthetic. A favorite touch was that the walls were an homage to traditional ‘shoji’, Japanese paper walls. This was one of a number of traditional touches throughout the room.
It was a foggy day so the initial view of the tower was a bit obscured. Through the day it would clear up and provided an amazing focal point. A welcome dish from the pastry shop on the first floor was so stunningly good we were left wanting more!
When the sun was out the room could get a bit bright. Thankfully there were remote controlled privacy and blackout curtains that allowed for customization.https://youtu.be/0eFZCPJM6L8
A personal favorite was the soaking tub in the style of a Japanese onsen and the waterfall shower. The hotel provided yuzu lemon bath salts and the tub was a perfect place to relax for a staycation or after a long day of sightseeing in Tokyo.
Compared to luxury hotels in the United States, beds in Tokyo tend to skew a bit more on the firm side. Andaz provided a relatively softer bed, but the linens and pillows were heavenly and it was an incredibly peaceful night sleep, even if it was difficult to pull my eyes off of the skyline and finally turn in.Previous Next
Swimming in the Sky – Andaz Tokyo Pool / Gym
While we could’ve lounged in the room for our entire stay, we wanted to take full advantage of all of the amenities. On the 37th Floor is the AO Spa, Pool, and Gym and the facilities are all truly excellent. If you didn’t remember to bring gym clothes, they have free workout gear and shoe rentals and you can also rent a swimsuit for 880 yen.
Due to COVID 19 restrictions, Andaz is restricting the number of visitors at the pool and a reservation is required. The pool itself is a three-land 20m lap pool, two jacuzzis, and one smaller pool. The gym is well stocked with cardio equipment and weights and with the views out over the city, you might be able to push for that extra mile on the treadmill given the captivating views.
We didn’t take advantage of the spa as we wanted to use our $100 American Express credit for Rooftop Bar, but they offer a full suite of services and I am tempted to go back and visit next time. The gym is open from 6:30am to 22:00pm so you can easily get a workout in before starting the day or at the end of the night if you’re inclined to try and fight off jetlag through exercise.
Rooftop Bar Andaz Tokyo – Outside at 52 Stories!
Where the Andaz truly shines is the breadth and depth of food offerings they have on site. The Toranomon area has hundreds of excellent restaurants but for tourists adjusting to the time difference or for business folks who want to stay in to get some extra work done, the options on site are incredible.
Starting at 18:00 to 20:00 in the lobby, the Andaz has a complimentary cocktail hour for all guests. There was a selection of Japanese beer, wine, a yuzu sake cocktail and snacks. Given it was all free, you could forgive a hotel for skimping on the details, but Andaz goes above and beyond providing amuse bouche in a presentation that wouldn’t be out of place at a Michelin star restaurant.
The restaurants are, The Tavern (steakhouse on 51F), Bubu (burgers on 1F), the SUSHI (52F), and Rooftop Bar on the 52nd floor. Having done drinks at the New York Grill during a previous stay at sister property, The Park Hyatt Tokyo, we wanted to compare the rooftop bar experience and we were not disappointed.
Immediately upon walking out of the elevator we realized that part of the 52nd Floor was exposed to the elements and even though it was a fairly chilly winter evening, there was something so refreshing and exhilarating about being partially outside so far up. Upon entering the restaurant there were plenty of indoor spaces to stay warm and heated blankets at all outdoor seats.
We opted to dine indoors and then finish up our drinks on the balcony and the staff was more than accommodating. Rooftop Bar Andaz Tokyo is so sought after that there’s a service fee of 2200 yen after 20:00 during most of the year, but that fee is halved for guests of the hotel. Given that this is the highest bar in Tokyo, the night views alone could be a draw. Their menu of creative cocktails and excellent snacks make this the perfect place to have a quick bite or a full meal.
Rooftop Bar specializes in tea-based cocktails and I ordered the signature, Hyohime Amazake. It’s a Grey Goose, yuzu, and matcha powder-based drink which looked like it could’ve come directly from Hogwarts (in a good way!). My partner got a Whisky Sour with a yuzu twist, bringing a Japanese element to a classical favorite.Previous Next
While the food menu at Rooftop Bar is billed as ‘snacks’, both sandwiches were more than hearty enough to make a full meal and we were thrilled that between drinks and dinner we were only slightly above our $100 American Express credit. It helps that if you’re visiting Japan right now, the USD to JPY exchange rate is very favorable and so it was more like $110 off in the local currency.
the SUSHI is an eight-seat omakase sushi counter off of Rooftop Bar and if the sushi appetizer we ordered was any indication, if you’re looking for a marquee omakase experience this could be the one.
The next morning we received our final benefit from American Express, a complimentary breakfast for two at The Tavern restaurant. We were able to order a main and also got access to a robust buffet and free flow (non-alcoholic) drinks, including a mango juice I’m still dreaming about. Located only a floor below Rooftop Bar, the view by day is entirely different and the city spans out in all directions providing inspiration and excitement for whatever your day brings. Breakfast does not require reservations, but the hotel recommends having them. As a result of COVID restrictions, seating is limited and we also recommend calling ahead.
Booking Andaz Tokyo
As previously mentioned, this was an excellent use of our annual American Express Platinum $200 Fine Hotels and Resort credit. It brought the room rate down and we also enjoyed a full suite of benefits that added significant value to our stay. Since Japan’s COVID 19 inbound travel restrictions are still limiting international travel, the rates are fairly competitive with entry rates at $300 – 400 USD/night. (subject to change).
For World of Hyatt members, Andaz Tokyo is a Category 7 hotel and will take 30,000 points/night and 35,000 points during peak period. As international travel demand resumes and rates go up, this is a very compelling use of World of Hyatt points.
A Dream Staycation
The Toranomon location is perfect for sightseeing or business and as more high-end hotels enter the area (The Edition Toranomon!), it’s becoming quite the place to see and be seen. The location itself becomes something of a sightseeing experience itself with the expansive views from every floor.
From our Tower View room, we were left blown away by how the city can change from day to night. To the west we had a view of Mount Fuji which was partially obstructed by another building, but other rooms along the west of the building should have an unobstructed view.
Given we were using this as a staycation, it would also work perfectly for tourists who want to be in a convenient location while also being able to retreat from the bustle of the city to a peaceful retreat.
Coming up next on Navigating Japan, we’re going to do a report on sister property Park Hyatt Tokyo of Lost in Translation fame and see which of these high-end Hyatts takes the crown. But rest assured, a stay at Andaz is truly a dream and is an excellent place from which to take on Tokyo!