After quickly clearing customs and picking up our bags, we walked over to the Airport Limousine Bus desk in the arrivals hall and bought our tickets to the Hilton Tokyo.
We paid our JPY3000 apiece for the ride and went outside of baggage claim. We had to wait half an hour until the next bus would be headed to the Hilton. No problem, it was nice to walk around outside and stand up for a spell. Standing nearby the pickup spot for our bus we were questioned by police who asked for our passports as an airport security measure. They wrote down passport numbers and asked our occupations, but I must admit this was the friendliest questioning by police I’ve ever experienced and I didn’t mind a bit (though the thought did cross my mind, “how do I know these are really cops rather than people playing dress-up who would take my passport?” paranoid, I know).
Our bus departure was 4:25pm, which put us into Tokyo right at rush hour unfortunately. The trip took a good two hours before we pulled up at the Hilton.
No mention of rate glitch, only that when I mentioned I’d be checking out early that the room was prepaid by Expedia and they wouldn’t be able to refund unused nights.
The Executive Lounge is closed for renovations until mid-summer, so they’ve set up a temporary lounge for checkin/checkout ont on the 30th floor. Breakfast is served as a complimentary buffet in their second floor French restaurant. Afternoon tea time is in Brasserie “Checkers” on the second floor. And cocktails are in St. George’s Bar on the first floor, with the cover charge also waived for executive floor guests.
I was given a Queen smoking room, despite my request for King non-smoking. The room didn’t smell of smoke at all, and I only knew it was a smoking room by the presence of an ash tray. The queen bed was fine, just meant I was closer to my wife, though it was a bit hard for my taste. At my $3 rate I just didn’t have it in me to argue.
There was complimentary water in room and complimentary high-speed wired internet also as part of the executive room package. But there’s no cord, thankfully I bring my own cord and router.
Tokyo is an expensive city to be sure, but then many large cities are. In reminds me in many ways of Manhattan. The basic Hilton room should have been $300, not $3, and was hardly special in any way. Room service was actually reasonable, coffee was JPY900 per person but that’s an “all-in” price.
Anyone wanting to save money on food can always eat at the Denny’s across the street from the hotel.
Late one evening we were hungry and didn’t want to head out far from the hotel. We walked across the street to check it out. Now, I never eat Denny’s at home. But I admit I was hugely curious, and there was something bizarre about going to Denny’s in Tokyo. It wasn’t that I wanted a ‘piece of home’ just the sheer irony and curiosity of it all, and I was reasonably rewarded.
It turned out to be a fabulous experience for what it was. Food was MUCH better than anything you’d get at a similar place in the US. It’s Denny’s serving mostly Asian fare. Service was very good and prompt (there’s a buzzer at your table to call a waiter, saves them time moving around the restaurant looking for who needs help and lets them keep fewer folks on staff). And quite reasonably priced, dinner for two was about JPY2900.
We checked out Tokyo Disney, since my wife has never been to any Disneyland, anywhere. We took the direct bus from Shinjuku (JPY600 apiece each way, 50 minutes). It was a Tuesday and there were no lines, which was surprising as I’ve seen this described as the busiest theme park in the world.
We also made a quick trip to Ueno Park for the ‘real’ Cherry Blossoms, none of that DC blossom stuff we’re used to at home.
Additional photos after the jump…
Elevator Hallway on the 33rd floor
The Entrance to ‘Hiltopia’ — the underground shopping area at the Hilton. The name is unfortunate because the shops are rather limited and desolate.