I’m writing this blog entry to remind me of tips when booking the next trip to Tokyo.
Last April, I booked our trip same time as the Diaz family, from April 12-18.
I should’ve checked the hotel rates first because I didn’t know it was cherry blossom season!
Hotels were bloody expensive!
Before booking your trip, check the cherry blossom calendar. All of Tokyo will have high hotel rates until it ends.
Right after cherry blossom season is Golden Week, which marks the week of the Emperor’s birthday. That means everyone’s on holiday and hotel rates are up.
Hotel rates normally drop after May 5. So next time, book your trip after May 5 because hotel rates are down by half price. That means you can stay in Japan longer!
Unfortunately I forgot to check all of that. Since I excitedly booked 6 tickets on Delta that had expensive rebooking fees, we had no choice but take the trip and pay high hotel rates.
The trip going was super smooth. We took the 9 AM flight on the upper deck of Delta. They kept the shades down the whole time, so I got to sleep.
The kids loved it. Also on the upper deck were two pilots in uniform on the passenger’s seats. At first I thought they were backup pilots in case there was a scary incident but it turns out they were returning home from training military pilots in the Philippines.
One thing the kids look forward to is having meal at the airport after arrival. This ensures nobody is hungry on the shuttle bus or upon reaching the hotel, so we can relax more.
Waiting for the shuttle bus to Tokyo. It’s Christian’s first time in Japan.
Through my friend Char Vilchez of Agoda.com, I was able to book two connecting rooms at Park Hyatt in Shinjuku. Not bad.
The last time I stayed there was at a Gap event in 2009.
My first two choices were Peninsula Tokyo and Ritz-Carlton, but both were bloody expensive. I booked Park Hyatt because I remembered the bathroom.
This is what will greet you at the entrance
It looks like the head of Bacchus, god of wine. My kids found it creepy.
Park Hyatt is well known for being the backdrop of Sofia Coppola’s Lost In Translation.
This is the upper lobby, daytime
This restaurant was mostly deserted
This way to the reception area and the rooms
This was Jeroen’s and my room
There was a nice walk-in closet, that was hard to photograph.
And here’s the bathroom, starting with the perfect bathtub on one end
Separate shower stall right next to it
TV to keep you company
The chuva-approved sink, with flat counter top and no protruding bowl
Separate high-tech Japanese toilet stall
and most important, a makeup counter!!
The boys loved the super-fast internet.
Although the rooms were perfect, here’s why I will not go back to the Park Hyatt:
1) Location. There is nothing in Shinjuku for me. Nothing is walkable, unlike Ginza or Shibuya. There is a hotel shuttle to Shinkuju station, but nobody told us about it until the last day. Too bad because we could’ve saved some taxi fare!!
2) The nearest convenience stores are quite a walk away. That means if you’re really hungry, you have to settle for hotel food.
3) Hotel food is not good and so expensive. I would spend Php 4,000/meal for room service. No problem if the steak was even as good as Tsukiji‘s Php 4,000-peso steak, but it’s not.
There are food choices in the building’s basement but only Saboten was acceptable, which the kids got tired of on the second day.
P.S. There is a convenience store at the basement, but doesn’t have the takeaway dishes the kids like from the typical Japanese 7-11 or Family Mart.
So no more Park Hyatt for us. I think Shinjuku is best for business travelers, not families or shoppers.
(To be continued)