Tokyos essential hotels

From five star luxury to love hotels, lie back and think of Tokyo

Tokyo’s essential hotels

Fearsome room rates were once a major tourist deterrent for Tokyo, but those days are long gone. The capital still isn’t a backpacker destination, but it does offer the full spectrum of accommodation, from dormitories to luxury suites in the sky. There’s a crowded field of five-stars to choose from, but for a truly traditional experience the ryokan, or traditional Japanese bed and breakfast is a must. Everything from service to decor to dining options is distinctly Japanese, and if you don’t mind sleeping on a futon or taking a communal bath these inns are highly recommended. Other options are capsules and love hotels, which aren’t ideal for extended stays but do promise to provide experiences to remember. Ryokans and capsules aren’t geared to peaceful slumber, but both are cheap and memorable. Whatever style of accommodation you’re looking for, and whatever your budget, here are our ten top recommendations for where to lay your head.

Best rooms…

Peninsula Tokyo
The New York Times described the Peninsula Tokyo as having ‘what may be the world’s most fully thought-through hotel rooms’ and it’s hard to disagree. The impressive high-tech amenities include everything from the genius (a hotel phone that becomes a regular mobile phone as soon as you step outside the premises) to the superfluous (fingernail driers). Designer Yukio Hashimoto created rooms with unusual emphasis on bathroom space. arguing that hotels are for sleeping in, not living in an that bathrooms serve a more functional purpose. With the Peninsula’s plum location between the Imperial Palace and the luxury heartland of Ginza, he’s probably right. The hotel is perfectly situated to allow easy access to some of Tokyo’s premier areas.
Address: 1-8-1 Yurakucho, Chiyoda-ku
Telephone: (03)6270 2888
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Best for opulent luxury…

Occupying 12 floors of Tokyo’s tallest skyscraper, the Ritz-Carlton arrived in spring 2007, signalling its clear intent to top Tokyo’s luxury lists. The largest suite clocks in at ¥2,000,000 per night, the amenities come from Bulgari, and the bar’s priciest cocktail? Just ¥1.8 million (for a vodka martini – although it is served with a Bulgari diamond).
Address: Tokyo Midtown, 9-7-1 Akasaka, Minato-ku
Telephone: (03)3423 8000
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Best bargain…

Hotel New Koyo
A backpacker joint with facilities that put more expensive places to shame (kitchens on each floor, laundry machines, a Japanese-style bath), the New Koyo may offer the cheapest overnight stay in Tokyo. The rooms are tiny, however, and the hotel is a long way from the action.
Address: 2-26-13 Nihonzutumi, Taito-ku
Telephone: (03)3873 0343

Best authentic experience…

Ryokan Katsutaro
In a backstreet on the northern side of Ueno Park, Katsutaro is a small, friendly ryokan with the atmosphere of a real family home (which it is). Rooms can hold up to four people, at an extra charge of roughly ¥4,000 per person. The owner does speak a little English, but you’ll need to have a phrasebook handy if you want the conversation to progress. Just a short walk away is the more modern Katsutaro annex.
Address: 4-16-8 Ikenohata, Taito-ku
Telephone: (03)3821 9808
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Best for peace and quiet…

Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Chinzan-so
Inconveniently located in the wilds of northern Tokyo, this is a breathtakingly opulent and beautiful hotel popular with locals on weekend escapes and celebrities seeking privacy away from the bright lights of the city. Take a stroll around the Japanese garden, which has its own firefly population and is filled with ancient statues that come from Nara and Kamakura.
Address: 2-10-8 Sekiguchi, Bunkyo-ku
Telephone: (03)3943 2222
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Best for being in the heart of the action…

Granbell Hotel
This small and welcoming hotel a few blocks from Shibuya station offers minimalist rooms with a big splash of pop art. The single rooms are small, but great for the price; the suites are sumptuous and equally good value.
Address: 15-17 Sakuragaoka-cho, Shibuyaku
Telephone: (03)5457 2681
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Best old school survivor…

Hilltop Hotel
The Hilltop deserves praise for retaining its old-fashioned charm, with antique writing desks and small private gardens for the more expensive suites. That said, its seventh storey, called the Art Septo Floor, offers funky furniture and decor. Known as a one-time literary hangout, the Hilltop tries to boost the concentration of scribes by pumping ionised air into every room.
Address: 1-1 Kanda-Surugadai, Chiyoda-ku
Telephone: (03)3293 2311
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Best designer digs…

Hotels don’t get any more exclusive than the Claska. Add the funky designer vibe and you have one of the trendiest spots in the city, albeit one of the least accessible – ten minutes walk from an obscure station. There are 18 rooms occupying four floors, and each room is styled differently; the most expensive one has a 41sq m (441sq ft) terrace. The building also features a hip bar/restaurant, a gallery and a dog-grooming salon.
Adress: 1-3-18 Chuo-cho, Meguro-ku
Telephone: (03)3719 8121
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Best for a night to remember…

P&A Plaza
A top-end love hotel near Shibuya Station, the P&A offers a peculiarly kitsch version of luxury. One room comes with its own swimming pool, and the eighth-floor Moroccan-style suites are so lavish you’ll be reluctant to leave when they kick you out at 10am.
Address: 1-17-9 Dogenzaka, Shibuya-ku
Telephone: (03)3780 5211
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Best capsules…

Asakusa RiversideAsakusa Riverside
Just like climbing Mount Fuji, only a fool would miss the chance to try a night in a capsule, and only a fool would want to do it twice. The Asakusa Riverside capsule hotel is one of the few to accommodate women, and though the riverside location is entirely meaningless when you’re lying in a windowless fibreglass box, it’s nice to stumble out and be just a couple of blocks from the area’s greatest sights.
Address: 2-20-4 Kaminarimon, Taito-ku
Telephone: (03)3844 5117
Please note: All information is correct at the time of writing but is subject to change without notice.


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