Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Satisfaction Restored

We felt we needed time to adjust as we left the tranquil Hiramatsu resort in the countryside of Hakone and checked into our hotel in metropolitan Tokyo for 2 more nights. I normally prefer staying in Shinjuku for its proximity to the shopping district and major train lines, but this time we decided to visit The Ritz Carlton in Roppongi for a change.

With the not-so-pleasant experience still in our mind when we stayed at another property by the same group in Japan a few months ago, they certainly exceeded our (lowered) expectation this time - check-in was swift and service was friendly despite the hotel was packed throughout our stay. The snacks and goodies bag filled with maps, travel tips and a handwritten note they left in our room was a nice gesture. We also appreciated the breakfast takeaway bag they delivered to our room on both mornings with pastries and drinks for a quick bite on the run. The concierge team was also helpful in dealing with a few restaurant reservations we had arranged prior to our trip, which made our lives a whole lot easier.

Even their standard room was of decent size, somewhat a rarity in Tokyo and given their high floor location, all the rooms featured wonderful view of Tokyo and beyond. A few times we got a glimpse of Mount Fuji from afar from our room when the cloud cleared up a little bit during the day. Surreal to have this iconic sight throughout our journey from different angles. The room was also well-equipped as you could imagine from a luxury hotel chain, despite a slight show of age in the interior - after all the hotel is over 10 years old and does need a more complete revamp at some point.

Thanks to our friend J who moved to work at the property recently, they have extended access to the Club Lounge for us which was a big plus (in addition to an impromptu hotel tour that he gave us) Food and drink was available throughout the day at the lounge taking up half the floor on the top of the hotel (with the same panoramic view as our room). Breakfast offering was quite standard (egg station plus other items available at the counter) but their weekend afternoon tea was certainly a highlight and a popular one with sweet and savory snacks served on a silver tray with harp performance in the dining room.

The hotel is part of the Tokyo Midtown development project completed with shopping mall, office, hotel, parks and museum, so there's no lack of things to do even if one opted to stick with this neighborhood throughout. The supermarket and a few shops at the basement provided all we need to replenish our own home kitchen. The 6-week Mino ceramics ware exhibition they ran since mid-September at The Suntory Museum of Art right inside the mall was exactly my cup of tea with fascinating collection of antique Japanese tea wares and a leisure stroll in the park nearby in the morning was just as enjoyable. The Roppongi branch of Blue Bottle Coffee was just right across the street tucked behind a commercial building which provided just the right caffeine fix with the laid-back atmosphere.

So, our stay did restore some of our confidence with the service and experience in the hotel group and it's a great venue to unwind in the middle of the city.

The Ritz-Carlton Tokyo: www.ritzcarlton.com/en/hotels/japan/tokyo

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