One of the things I really like about being sponsored on a trip is that I get to stay at really posh hotels. It’s something I usually don’t have the luxury for when traveling on my own since they cost as much, or probably more, than my whole trip expenses combined.
Sony Philippines was generous enough to host us at one of the nicest hotel around Tokyo, the five-star Okura Hotel in the city’s Minato ward. The area is pretty quiet for my taste, being surrounded mostly by office buildings and foreign embassies (49 embassies to be exact). Good thing it’s just a hop away from various train terminals so getting around through subways isn’t a problem at all.
It’s also a bonus that some of Tokyo’s iconic landmarks is just a stone throw’s away from the place. The Tokyo Tower is around ten minutes by foot; the Japanese Imperial Palace and Shibuya Crossing also looked accessible by foot (if you like walking as much as I like to that is, haha).
From the outside, Okura Hotel doesn’t look that interesting at all; its architecture seemed dated and forgettable. But the story changes once you step inside. Its lobby is one of the nicest I’ve seen; its elegance might be understated, but its there. And the service; bar none, they have the most helpful, polite and not to mention cutest, staff around.
The hotel has three wings and it felt like Tokyo’s microcosm. I was almost constantly lost inside its halls, looking for the proper exits when taking a walk outside, and the elevators when accessing my room. It’s so big it has its own mini-mall inside.
Please pardon my slacked jaw, I’m really not used to staying at such opulent places, being mostly familiar to hostels and backpacker inns when out traveling.
And my room was to die for! I love Sony for providing each one of us with a private room. I was originally expecting to have a capsule room, like what I saw from An Idiot Abroad’s Japanese episode (not that it would be bad, I actually liked to experience sleeping in one, truth to say), but this one really takes the cake. A have a whole freakin’ ¥27,000.00 room that’s good enough for two only for myself while in Tokyo!
There were all sorts of beer and alcoholic drinks on the mini-bar but they were unfortunately not part of the package. I have to shell out my precious yens for such. Luckily my fellow Japan Sony winner, L, was willing to share his alcohol with me. :)
I also love the turtle and crane origami items made from colorfully printed papers that the hotel gives out to guests. It’s a very personal and very Japanese touch that geeks like me appreciate. In fact, I liked it so much that I brought it home with me as a memento.
But the best part of Hotel Okura is surprisingly their toilet. Seriously! A fully automatic, push-your-preferred-button toilet rocks! The only thing missing really are the pre-heated toilet seat and the water flushing sound effect that are present on the more updated versions of these. I just have to say that a hotel experience doesn’t get more Japanese than this.
Okura Hotel Tokyo
Address: 2-10-4 Toranomon, Minato-ku, Tokyo 105-0001, Japan
Contact Number: +81-3-3582-0111
Room Rates: Click Here
GPS Coordinates: 35.666955,139.74427
View Location on Google Maps: Click Here