December 17, 2001
Hotel Miyako Tokyo is a 500-room semi-luxury (‘business class’ would be a good way of describing it) hotel affiliated with the Radisson group. It’s about six km. from the city center and Ginza, roughly equidistant from the Shinagawa and Meguro railstations. The hotel compensates for its somewhat inconvenient location by providing free shuttle-bus service every 15 minutes to one or the other of those stations. Counting the shuttle ride, commute time from hotel to downtown was about 25 minutes via the Yamanote Line.
Caution: There are two ‘Hotel Miyako’s within a few kilometers of each other. An English-speaking railroad officer was at a loss for helping me until we could find out which hotel Radisson’s U.S. reservation service was sending me to. Once we found out, a pink bus marked ‘Hotel Miyako Tokyo’ was parked exactly where my ‘guide’ said it would be. (The other one was ‘Hotel Miyako Mita’.)
My first impressions: a massive and modern, new or almost new, building ... impressive but not opulent front entrance and lobby, flooded with natural light ... unfailingly polite employees and lots of them. (I’d hauled my backpack for miles through airports on my way from Palau to Guam to Narita to the hotel, but the petite ‘bell-girl’ refused to let me carry it inside.)
The concierge staff also deserves special mention.
My initial room was unsatisfactory, as residents of a nearby apartment building could see directly into it from less than 50 yards away. The staff unhesitatlingy transferred me to a room above the hotel’s Japanese garden, with views of a nearby university and the Tokyo skyline.
The room was tastefully furnished --- dark woods were this hotel’s preference --- and, though not overly large, equipped with a huge desk and anything a business person would need. It was also equipped with the most elaborate toilet I’ve ever seen: A built-in bidet that could spray from every conceivable angle --- with electronic pressure adjustments, yet --- a seat-warmer and even a massage attachment.
Hotel Miyako had Japanese, Chinese and Continental restaurants, an informal all-day cafe serving light meals throughout the day, and a huge sitting-room/lounge where one could order sandwiches or light entrees while lounging in overstuffed chairs and gazing out onto a traditional Japanese garden. (The building’s two-story-high picture windows had much to do with its overall appeal. So did the generous amount of open space surrounding the lobby and reception desk: This was a very relaxing place to be in.)
Both a fitness center and indoor swimming pool were available but, although hotels frequently charge for use of health clubs, this was the first one I’ve encountered that charged guests for swimming. (U.S $8, which I’d have gladly paid had the pool not closed at 9 every evening.)
Food was very good in the two restaurants that I sampled although were was a severe language barrier in the Japanese one. The Cle d''Or, the class of the dining rooms, was superb and will be reviewed separately.
From journal Tokyo: 3 Days Aboard the Bullets