TOKYO: Royal Park Shiodome Tower

During a quick trip to Tokyo, I had the pleasure of staying at the Royal Park Shiodome Tower hotel.

Located in the Shiodome district in the Minato-ku area, it is convenient to the famed Ginza district, has views of the Tokyo Tower, and is adjacent to stations that serve several train and subway lines.

With its three restaurants, a lobby lounge, and a variety of amenities including the Mandara Spa, the Royal Park Shiodome Tower, however, could be a destination unto itself.

The property is beautifully done in a decidedly Japanese motif, but without taking the minimalist approach too far. Halls are done elegantly, with dark woods and carpet accented by low lights.

Room 3428, a standard double
Guest rooms can be small; it is, after all, Tokyo. However, even my basic standard double room was luxuriously appointed and well equipped.

In just 20 square meters, it contained a desk and work station with both wireless and very fast wired internet access, a queen sized bed, a lounging couch, a modestly-sized flat-screen TV that fit the scale of the room perfectly, bottled water, a hot pot with china tea cups, and an assortment of teas.

Japanese dressing gowns were waiting in the bedside table, and slippers were tucked under the luggage rack in the open closet area.

The bathroom was complete with a deep Japanese soaking tub, a TOTO toilet with heated seat and bidet function, a heated mirror so one could see after a steamy shower, a hair dryer and a variety of individually packaged amenities, including a razor, toothbrush and paste, and hairbrush.

Ceilings were just over 9’ high, contributing to a much more open feel than one would expect given the limited floor space.

According to the hotel’s web site, a basic standard double room starts at ¥18,000 per night plus tax, or about US$220, plus taxes of about 16.65%.

View from the lobby staircase
As I’ve noted elsewhere, great service can make a so-so hotel memorable, while the experience at an otherwise beautiful hotel can be severely diminished by poor service. The Royal Park offers the best of both.

Arriving after a 10-½ hour flight from Seattle followed by a 90-minute bus ride from Narita airport, the members of our small group were ushered to an area where we were presented with our room keys, Wi-Fi access codes and breakfast coupons without having to stop at the front desk. This enabled us to head to our rooms quickly so we could freshen up before going to dinner.

Our hosted dinner in the Harmony restaurant was a buffet of primarily Japanese-style dishes, artfully prepared and presented, and delicious. The attendants were the perfect blend of attentive while not being intrusive, making sure we each had the nibbles we needed, and whisking used plates and glasses away virtually as soon as they were set down.

After dinner, and despite my lack of sleep, I determined to go on a photo safari of Tokyo’s Ginza district. The concierge was busy with other guests, so a front desk attendant beckoned me over and offered to help. He provided advice on what to see, noting that many department stores would already be closed because it was after 9 p.m., and gave me handwritten instructions on which train lines I should take to get to my destination.

Virtually every hotel employee I encountered, whether assisting me directly or passing in the hall, would give that slight Japanese bow, offer a “Gozimasu!” or, at the very least, a pleasant smile. It was Japanese hospitality at its finest.

Several of the Japanese breakfast items
Attendants at the buffet breakfast the next morning displayed the same high level of hospitality. Gracious yet efficient, they seated guests quickly and kept tables cleared.

Offerings included both Japanese and Western-style items, with a station that made omelets, scrambled eggs, and fresh-cooked waffles to order.

The Royal Park also strives to accommodate its guests who smoke, which appeared to be much more common in Tokyo than in the U.S. or Canada. Accommodations included an open-door smoking booth just off the main lobby. It was so well ventilated that I wasn’t aware of the smell of cigarette smoke when I walked by just a few feet away.

Like the hotel’s lobby, the Harmony restaurant, the Xenlon Grand China Grille, the Lobby Lounge, the Pastry Boutique, and the gift shop are on the 24th floor and provide great views of the Tokyo river. The Mikuri Kurumaya restaurant on the 25th floor offers “traditional Japanese food.” Guest rooms, which are on even higher floors, provide the best views of the city.

Based on my brief experience, I highly recommend the Royal Park. Given the opportunity, I would definitely go back.   

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Photos by Carl Dombek
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