Ambiance & Vibe:
Driving up to the hotel, after a short 15 minute taxi ride from Tokyo Station, you’ll pass a barrage of ritzy boutiques on the street leading up to Grand Hyatt Tokyo’s upmarket perch in Roppongi Hills. The French Kitchen restaurant sports a beautiful outdoor terrace which opens up at the front of the hotel where locals and guests dine in the sun amidst leafy landscaping, while inside, the high-ceilinged lobby buzzes with a mix of an international crowd of business types as well as well-heeled expat families on holidays and locals.
Design & Style:
This is a fairly large hotel with a sense of spaciousness throughout, from the vast lobby to the many restaurants with al fresco seating. With the huge sculpted head artworks in the lobby to the unique red granite swimming pool, the hotel showcases an elegant mix of modern Japanese and Western design. There is extensive use of dark woods and atmospheric lanterns throughout and 200 pieces of modern artworks adorning the property.
Adorned with warm woods and blond marble, each of the property’s rooms including 28 suites offers contemporary luxury, with reasonably spacious rooms and bathrooms with separate rain shower and tub. The 45 sqm standard rooms are clean-lined and elegantly understated and feature contemporary décor, with warm woods furnishings, minimalist nature-inspired artworks, flat screen televisions, DVD players, writing desks, rain showers and limestone soaker bathtubs. Japanese yukata robes and mineral water are also provided at no additional charge. Views feature the Tokyo skyline and all rooms have remotely controlled blackout curtains, dimmable lights, Bose stereos and free high-speed internet. The beds are comfortable with Frette sheets.
For extra space and a view of Mt. Fuji we recommend the Grand Executive Suite or for a further splurge, the Ambassador’s Suite, which comes complete with a tatami mat room boasting views of Mt. Fuji (on clear days) plus a private Japanese garden.
Bathrooms are quite spacious, with large, circular mirrors and angled counters to give it a touch of style. There is a small LCD screen in the bathroom as well. Each bathroom has a rain shower, separate soaking tub and an enclosed Japanese toilet.
With an impressive array of ten onsite restaurants in its repertoire, (including Japanese, French, Italian, American Steakhouse and Chinese) serving a wide variety of authentic Japanese and international cuisine, guests are spoilt for choice. No less than four restaurants have terraces for alfresco dining.
Roku Roku: an atmospheric Japanese sushi restaurant serving Edo-mae-style sushi and sashimi made using premium quality seafood from local markets.
Shunbou: rustles up exquisitely presented traditional and seasonal kaiseki banquet style meals featuring market fresh ingredients grown and prepared specially for Japanese cuisine.
Keyakizaka: An innovative teppanyaki spot serving up an array of seasonal meats, seafood, poultry and vegetables, Keyakizaka mixes and matches with an international selection of flavours and influences. The fresh produce displayed inside the restaurant is a great idea as diners can select whatever looks good and the chefs will use the ingredients you picked in your meal. Ask for a seat at the counter in front of the main chef in the middle and try a set menu.
The Oak Door: a lively and trendy modern American steakhouse & bar serving premium meat dishes complemented by an expansive New World wine collection with an open kitchen. Popular with the smart set!
The French Kitchen: on clear days, the terrace outside the Grand Hyatt’s main brasserie teems with activity. This all day dining venue opens early for a buffet breakfast before moving on to a lunchtime buffet (with the option of ordering a fixed course or à la carte if you prefer). The legendary weekend champagne brunch is a local society fixture with guests enjoying the food and atmosphere while shuffling between the open kitchen, bar and terrace areas. The intimate bar area is a great spot for afternoon tea and evening cocktails.
Fiorentina – casual Italian restaurant on the ground floor. It serves a basic variety of the dishes you’d expect on the menu. Food is good, recommended for a quick lunch. Serving light breakfast, lunch and dinner, Fiorentina offers guests the chance to enjoy authentic Italian cuisine with a focus on seasonal ingredients.
Chinaroom – serves authentic regional Chinese specialties in an elegant setting.
Maduro: this gorgeous jazz lounge is perfect for ending a night out on the town with a few nightcaps. With its opulent and intimate décor matching its rare whiskeys (try the elusive elixir – 18 year old Yamazaki on the rocks) and expertly-mixed cocktails and selection of fine cigars, this lavishly designed and uber trendy nightspot is a gem in the crown of the Grand Hyatt. Only thing is you’ll need to find it first: after navigating your way through the lobby and myriad hallways and elevators, you’ll need to cross through a mysterious passage that feels like walking on water before arriving at the bar’s heavy wooden doors, beyond which you’ll find the international jet set floating around a total of 108 seats and semi-private rooms.
Fiorentina Pastry Boutique: located in the lobby, this award winning pastry shop sells a mouth watering selection of cakes, pastries and chocolates all of which can be enjoyed at the café next door or at home in take-out form.
Executive Club Lounge: the Club Lounge, which we enjoyed every morning and evening, offers a breakfast buffet (this is limited compared to the full spread at the French Kitchen) and early-evening cocktails combined with hors d’œuvres. The evening cocktails is a perfect time to chill out after a day of sightseeing and mingle with some of the other guests to compare notes on Tokyo. The Club Lounge is kid friendly and in fact has a special adjoining kids room with games and crafts to keep the kids busy while the adults have a drink and a nibble. There is also a nice alfresco area where one can go out to have a cigar while enjoying the views of the skyline.
The fantastic array of gastronomic dining options at the Grand Hyatt Tokyo:
During our stay, we used the Club Lounge, ate at the Roku Roku restaurant and had drinks at The Oak Door and Maduro, and found the food and service at all locations to be exceptional. While dining at the Roku Roku sushi restaurant, as some guests in our group were vegetarian, and some of the kids were picky in terms of their food preferences, the staff and chefs went out of their way to prepare a customized meal for us, which included bringing in some vegetarian and more kid friendly dishes from the next door Chinaroom restaurant.
Many of the staff speak good English so you can communicate exactly what you want and more importantly what you don’t want to eat. Our experience while checking in and out was also very efficient, with the GM and his senior manager there to greet us and in fact our check in was in-room, a pleasant surprise for a hotel this size. The complimentary welcome amenities in the form of a bottle of Bordeaux and fresh Japanese strawberries awaiting us in the room was another wonderful gesture. However, the championship ring in terms of service quality has to go the indefatigable and friendly concierge team, which are no doubt among the busiest and best in Tokyo. We witnessed the concierge team juggle wide ranging requests from multiple guests at the same time, and they managed to process all requests with speed and aplomb. We used the concierge service extensively, from recommendations for the best walks, food tours, cultural attractions, restaurant reservations, directions, subway instructions to planning day tours to see the famous snow monkeys near Nagano and to ski resorts by Shinkansen.
The “extra mile” level of personal service we witnessed at the hotel was on full display on two particular occasions: On a particular request, where a friend staying with me at the hotel wanted a very rare bottle of Japanese scotch, the concierge team arranged for the hotel to sell it to him from the hotel bar inventory, since it was not available anymore in the market! Upon checking out, the GM and his senior manager were there to wish us farewell, and an unexpected surprise was the complimentary hotel limo that the GM arranged to take us to Haneda airport, since we were running a bit late for our flight.
Facilities & Activities:
Facilities: The hotel offers a wide range of conveniences including airport and rental limousines, a hairdressing and beauty salon as well as easy access to the 200 upscale shops and restaurants in adjoining Roppongi Hills complex. Competing with all the entertainment on the hotel’s doorstep is fifth floor spa Nagomi, a serene space with Japanese-inspired treatments. A highlight is the Nagomi massage, which uses a delicious oil blend of ginger and “yuzu” (a sweet, zesty Japanese citrus fruit). Other treatments include massages with acupressure and hot stones; facials using LED red light, impulse micro-current therapy, anti-ageing creams and caviar! The heated ret granite hotel lap pool is a highlight and very inviting to do a few laps after a long day of sightseeing. There is a nice steam and sauna and a distinct circular luminous white jacuzzi, in which to rejuvenate the body. The well equipped gym looks out onto the pool.
Activities: Tokyo, the largest megalopolis in the world, mixes the ultramodern and the traditional, from neon-lit skyscrapers and the world’s busiest pedestrian intersection in Shibuya to the ancient Senso-ji Buddhist temple located in the historic Asakusa neighborhood. Must see attractions include the opulent Meiji Shinto Shrine which is known for its towering gate and surrounding woods and the imposing Imperial Palace with its huge public gardens. The hotel’s ace concierge team will help you plan your itinerary and transportation to see the city’s many cultural attractions, public parks, as well as organize food tours, cooking classes, bookings for sumo wrestling, fine dining restaurants, nightclubs as well as day trips to Mt. Fuji and nearby ski resorts or onsens.
The hotel is located in the upmarket confines of Roppongi Hills, the city’s most cosmopolitan entertainment complex, with 200 designer boutiques and restaurants, along with a modern art museum, city observatory and movie theatre. The tony Roppongi Midtown shopping complex is just a short distance away, as are the must-see neighborhoods of Harajuku, Aoyama and Omotesando. While not a traditional “Japanese” district, The Roppongi location is excellent, very convenient, and rooms on the hotel’s west side have views of Mt. Fuji. The hotel is about 15 minutes by taxi from Tokyo train station, 30 minutes from Haneda Airport and 90 minutes from Narita International Airport. You can also take a rapid train from Narita and a monorail from Haneda to the city, and then take a subway or taxi to the hotel.
What We Love:
- Settling in the gas-lantern-lit Maduro bar with a rare Yamazaki whisky while listening to live Latin jazz ringing from the piano.
- “Hands-on” presence of the GM and his frequent interaction with guests along with the highly efficient and knowledgeable service from the superstar concierge team.
- We love the location as part of the Roppongi Hills complex with a plethora of upscale restaurants and shopping available.
- Incredible variety of gastronomic options with over half a dozen world class restaurants, many with al fresco seating.
Breakfast options in The Grand Club Lounge could be wider and the official hours for evening cocktails could be extended (5.30pm to 7.30pm – although they continue to serve till about 8pm).
If you prefer big breakfasts, one item to look out for if you book a room with breakfast is to make sure that the breakfast is in the French Kitchen, and not only limited to the lounge, (which has a limited spread and no live counters) especially if you book a club lounge room.
Best Time to Visit:
The best time to visit Tokyo is during the popular Sakura season between March and April, and again from September to November. Autumn ushers in colorful foliage and comfortable temperatures. Spring brings in much of the same, but instead of vibrant fall hues, the foliage you’ll see here are cherry blossom trees in full bloom. Sightseeing, outdoor activities, parks and gardens are at their best during the Spring and Autumn seasons.