I feel that that most of the previous reviews fairly represent the hotel and my own experiences earlier this month, though of course tastes differ – particularly with food and service. I was in Asia on a mileage run to maintain that all-important 1K level on United for 2012.
This hotel is the smallest Four Seasons (FS) property that I have ever visited and probably the smallest in the chain. The one FS that I have the most experience is with the Istanbul-Sultanahmet property and this hotel has only 65 rooms. Ergo, the Marunouchi property is not a typical FS. The hotel is indeed a boutique property - meaning it has only 50+ rooms, one restaurant and the staff consistently addressed me by name. It is located in an office building - with its own entrance but not well marked - and next to Tokyo Station (which, of course, is great for the Narita Express). The spa and gym facility is small but so is the hotel, and I rarely encountered another guest in the spa or the gym. I loved the onsen and used it three separate times to sort out a bad back. Incidentally, during my three uses of the onsen, it was my private bath since I never saw another person.
I did receive an upgrade to a junior suite (room 506) which overlooked the train station, but the train noise was inaudible and I enjoyed watching the trains arrive and depart. The bathroom was large with a separate bath and shower, and toilet was in true Japanese tradition - you needed a PhD to figure out all the buttons. The bathroom amenities were "standard" FS - l'Occitane. One reviewer complained about the difficulty using some of the room's gadgets but I had no such problem with the two TVs and the window curtain, though I remained puzzled about the toilet (don’t worry – there is a handle). There was also an upscale coffee machine in the room
I did not have room service or breakfast in the hotel. Dinner was very good and cheaper than the $200 meal the next night - but just as good. I did take the free morning coffee and pastry on the ground floor, which I think is served until 8:00am. The lounge is divided into two parts - smoking and non-smoking - and both overlook the train station. The restaurant is non-smoking. I despise smoking but this is par for the course in Japan, and seemed less of a problem at this FS. I met the new F&B manager, who is a Japanese-speaking Aussie.
My experience with the onsen was already noted. I took the FS bicycle around Tokyo with no problem, with the exception that the helmet was too small – even for my bald head. I enjoyed the Japanese reaction seeing a "gringo" riding around the streets of Tokyo. By far the best experience was having the hotel’s general manager – Daniel Simon – provide me with a personal tour of the Tokyo fish market … at 5:00am. I had a couple of chats previously with Mr. Simon when he was the hotel manager in Sydney but this act was far beyond any service that I have ever experienced at any FS hotel – and I considered it exceptional, even by FS’s legendary standards. While you should not expect a personal tour of the fish market from the GM at 5:00am, it indicates the type of service that you should expect.
Lessons Learned in Tokyo:
- Carry cash. Many places do not accept credit cards and bank ATMs – even those of major international Japanese banks – did not seem to accept US ATM cards. The post office ATMs did accept my two US ATM cards.
- Take advantage of the complimentary FS “greeting” service offered upon arrival at Tokyo Station. I did not. I was confused leaving the train station, which was made worse since it was at rush hour. Also don’t be cheap … take the Narita Express for a few extra bucks instead of the local train.
- Anywhere I went I had the hotel write in Japanese my destination and/or exactly what I wanted – such as kabuki tickets. I found English proficiency limited, even amongst the young. This is not Hong Kong. Language was never a problem at the hotel, but particularly when the Japanese-American woman from Chicago was working at the lobby entrance.
- After a day I figured out the convoluted Tokyo subway/underground system but never could figure what priced ticket I needed. I just paid the minimum fare and then paid the difference upon exiting the station – no penalty.
- Tokyo is an expensive city.
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- Also Known As:
- 4 Seasons Hotel Tokyo At Marunouchi
- Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo At Marunouchi Japan
- Four Seasons Chiyoda
- Chiyoda Four Seasons