Finding a Base in Tokyo
When it comes time to plan your trip to Tokyo, the variety of Tokyo accommodation options can be dizzying.
From luxury brands to locally run ryokans like Andon Ryokan, you’re spoiled for choice from both a cost perspective and a location perspective.
We’d thought long and hard about where to stay in Tokyo, but after reading glowing reviews from the likes of I Am Aileen and seeing photos of their artist rooms, spending a few nights there seemed like a fait accompli.
A Fantastic Location
One of Park Hotel’s biggest selling points has got to be its location.
While names like Shiodome and Shimbashi might not leap out at first time visitors as ‘must see’, you’re at the beating heart of Tokyo – just a short subway ride from iconic landmarks such as the Tsukiji Fish Market, Akihabara, Asakusa, and Shibuya.
Coming in to Tokyo on the JR train from Nagoya, we spent less than $15 USD to get from the station to the hotel.
With two subway stations (Shimbashi and Shiodome) also walking distance from Park Hotel, we could easily have saved ourselves some money if we hadn’t been wrangling so much luggage.
While Park Hotel has a number of dining options within the hotel proper, Richelle and I ate most of our meals in nearby Shimbashi.
If you’ve seen Blade Runner, you might be able to picture the buzzing neon, narrow streets, and bustling eateries set against the periodic roar and rattle of trains passing overhead.
The salarymen in their sweat-soaked suits throw back beer and sake while sucking fried morsels from skewers or slurping hearty servings of ramen, while girls in schoolgirl outfits and skimpy clothing try to lure punters into their basement bars.
It’s at once both seedy and charming – a snapshot of the various images of modern Japan that are prevalent around the world.
To be able to get a filling meal of fresh sushi, spicy udon, or greasy dumplings so close to your glamorous retreat is a fantastic contrast.
With Shimbashi and Shiodome subway stations both walking distance from the Park Hotel Tokyo, it’s criminally easy to get around and see the best Tokyo has to offer.
You’re a short subway ride from the bright lights and otaku culture of Akihabara in one direction and a slightly longer ride to the lolitas and madness of Harajuku in the other direction.
The popular Tsukiji Fish Market is almost walking distance, while you can take a longer ride to historic sites such as the Imperial Palace or Senso-Ji.
Put simply: Park Hotel Tokyo couldn’t be in a better location for exploring Japan.
With its proximity to Tokyo Station, and you’ve also got a perfect location from which to make day trips to places like Mount Fuji and historic Nikko.
The Luxury Experience
The Park Hotel Tokyo treats its guests to a western luxury experience while paying homage to its Japanese roots.
From the decor to the breakfast to the art that adorns every spare bit of space, the hotel caters to its predominantly foreign guests while making them at home in Japan.
Located on the 25th floor of a towering skyscraper, Park Hotel Tokyo seems a world apart from the city below.
Entering the vast lobby is like walking into an art museum. Sculptures and paintings adorn every spare inch of space, while guests lounge about reading the newspaper or enjoying a cup of coffee.
The smiling staff, all of whom speak flawless English, are quick to hurry over and welcome you.
After check-in, we’re shown to our stunning artist room (more on that later) and invited to enjoy complimentary drinks in the lounge.
There’s nothing quite like enjoying a glass of wine before heading out to explore Tokyo’s often dizzying nightlife.
‘Breakfast included’ is such a loaded promise. In so many instances, it equates to dry toast and a disappointing variety of cereals served with room temperature milk.
Sometimes, you’re lucky and they throw in eggs served with bad coffee.
The included breakfast at the Park Hotel Tokyo does not disappoint. A fantastic variety of both western favourites and Japanese delights.
You’ve got your cereals and your eggs and your coffee, of course, but you’ve also got cheeses and deli meats, build-your-own-miso, baked goods, fresh fruit, fresh seafood, and more are at your fingertips as you prepare to start your day.
Fitness and Wellness
While I didn’t avail myself of the spa or the gym offered at Park Hotel Tokyo, it would be remiss of me not to mention them.
No luxury hotel experience would be complete without working up a sweat in the gym and then unwinding with a massage, and Park Hotel Tokyo offers both a small gym and the lavish THANN Sanctuary.
The Park Hotel Artist Room Experience
Location and luxury are both huge selling points of the Park Hotel Tokyo, but what sets it apart from the other luxury hotels in Tokyo is its dedication to promoting local artists.
Each of the Park Hotel’s artist rooms is a different window into Japanese art culture. From samurai to mythical beasts to breathtaking vistas to modern Tokyo, each room is an entirely different experience.
The Zodiac Room
Black and white needn’t be boring, and the Zodiac Room is a wonderful demonstration of how simple colours can be used to create something amazing.
With all twelve of the Chinese Zodiac on display, the room offers a whimsical interpretation of the traditional Zodiac. Horses gallop, pigs wallow, and cats prowl, with some of the room’s residents even seeming to burst out of the wall.
The mesmerizing view of Tokyo Tower from the room completes a stunning visual experience.
The Geisha Goldfish Room
Ever since she first read about the Park Hotel’s artist rooms, Richelle has been in love with their Geisha Goldfish room. Hell, her gorgeous tattoo takes a little inspiration from the brightly coloured, fan-tailed fish that adorn the walls and roof of this room.
A riot of bright colours that combines two enduring images from Japan, the Geisha Goldfish room was our base for two nights.
There’s something going on everywhere you look.
Fish swim overhead while a pair of maiko plays cat’s cradle on the wall. However, the alluring face of a geisha dominates the room much as a single glance from a geisha can captivate a man.
The Other Artist Rooms
While we had the pleasure of sleeping in two very different artist rooms, we were also afforded a tour of the many other rooms that make up the Park Hotel’s famed floor.
My personal favourite was the Yokai Room, where creatures from Japanese mythology frolic on the walls and roof while making their way towards a doorway in the sky. It put me in mind of Spirited Away!
Elsewhere, there were bright colours, elements of traditional Japanese culture, iconic landscapes, and more on offer.
You could stay in a different room every night for a month and have a totally different experience every night.
The Perfect Tokyo Base
We loved our stay at the Park Hotel Tokyo.
The super comfy rooms made a great place to get some rest after a long day of exploration, and we even spent an entire day just relaxing in the room and getting work done after our epic Kumano Kodo hike.
From the delicious breakfast to start our day to the complimentary wine to end the day, Park Hotel Tokyo was an absolute pleasure.
While it might be a bit pricey for budget travellers, its artist rooms make it a destination in and of itself.
Couple this with the great location and you’ve got one of the best bases you could want for exploring dynamic Tokyo.
Have you ever stayed in a hotel that blended comfort with art?
All photos in this article are from Adventures Around Asia’s Park Hotel review. My photos weren’t nearly as good!
DISCLAIMER: Our stay at the Park Hotel Tokyo was provided in exchange for this review. All opinions are, as always, my own.