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8 Apr 2017

Two luxury hotels in Tokyo (Conrad and Park Hyatt)

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CONRAD TOKYO

A sleek hotel in the sky overlooking Tokyo Bay
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Having stayed at the Conrad before, we were crossing our fingers (and toes) for an upgrade to a suite for our one night stay here, given that we were both Hilton Diamond members at this stage. Well, they came through for us and we were pleased to have been upgraded to a junior suite with views over the bay.

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Conrad Tokyo, Japan, luxury hotels
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Conrad Tokyo, Japan, luxury hotels
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Conrad Tokyo, Japan, luxury hotels
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Conrad Tokyo, Japan, luxury hotels
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Conrad Tokyo, Japan, luxury hotels
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Conrad Tokyo, Japan, luxury hotels
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Conrad Tokyo, Japan, luxury hotels

Staying in a suite meant we also had access to the Executive lounge on the 37th floor, which included complimentary breakfast, afternoon tea and evening cocktails. We headed down for some light snacks and a G&T or two and ended up eating our fill of a pretty extensive range of food on offer, negating any need to head out for dinner! The canapés were provided as we sat down:

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Conrad Tokyo, Japan, luxury hotels

Then came the serve-yourself food; a delicious pasta bake, even more canapés, cold cuts of meat, cheese and crackers, cake, chocolate...I won't go on. 

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Conrad Tokyo, Japan, luxury hotels
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Conrad Tokyo, Japan, luxury hotels
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Conrad Tokyo, Japan, luxury hotels
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Conrad Tokyo, Japan, luxury hotels

Breakfast at the Conrad includes one particular a la carte dish that Jarv never misses - the perfectly cooked eggs Benedict - freshly toasted muffins, poached eggs and a hard shell of hollandaise encapsulating it. He still dreams longingly of this dish.

But it's time to move on, because next we were heading back to an old favourite in Tokyo - the Park Hyatt.

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PARK HYATT TOKYO

A truly 5 star luxury hotel in the heart of lively Shinjuku
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Though we've stayed here before as Hyatt Diamond members and had access last time to the whole executive lounge shebang, this time was a different matter entirely. We were upgraded to a Park Suite. This suite is no joke. It's bigger than my flat in London (not that that's particularly difficult to achieve). 

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Park Hyatt Tokyo, Japan, luxury hotels

Above: the gorgeous library area on the lobby floor. Walk to the end, turn right and the lifts and check-in area are found here. Below: the entrance to our suite...

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Park Hyatt Tokyo, Japan, luxury hotels
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Park Hyatt Tokyo, Japan, luxury hotels
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Park Hyatt Tokyo, Japan, luxury hotels

There's an entire entrance room/hallway for taking off shoes, storing coats and jackets, etc. Walk into the next room and ... there's another hallway. Turn right and it leads into the lounge and dining area (below). Turn left and there's the bathroom.

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Park Hyatt Tokyo, Japan, luxury hotels
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Park Hyatt Tokyo, Japan, luxury hotels
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Park Hyatt Tokyo, Japan, luxury hotels

Attached to the living room is the bedroom - a serene oasis of tranquility with low-light lamps, wood panelled walls and a super plush bed. The bathroom can also be accessed via the bedroom (obviously).

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Park Hyatt Tokyo, Japan, luxury hotels
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Park Hyatt Tokyo, Japan, luxury hotels
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Park Hyatt Tokyo, Japan, luxury hotels

Breakfast is not only included, but is quite the affair:

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Park Hyatt Tokyo, Japan, luxury hotels

Then there's the view. Last time, our room faced a different perspective but on this occasion we were treated to a gorgeous view of Mount Fuji. The sunsets were especially breathtaking:

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Park Hyatt Tokyo, Japan, luxury hotels
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Park Hyatt Tokyo, Japan, luxury hotels

Other perks of Diamond status: Happy Hour! Hours, I should say. Three entire hours of all you can drink of anything you can think of. Cue a steady stream of espresso martinis, G&Ts, aviations - they're willing to whip anything up if you can explain it to them clearly enough. Not to mention an endless array of canapés, both set out for you to help yourself to and proactively offered by silver tray carrying waiters. Probably one of the best Happy Hours of any hotel.

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Park Hyatt Tokyo, Japan, luxury hotels
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Park Hyatt Tokyo, Japan, luxury hotels
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Park Hyatt Tokyo, Japan, luxury hotels

As we were there over the New Year period, we invited our friends over to celebrate and get together in a relaxed setting. Not pictured - the slightly less elegant cans of Suntory Strong Zero our friend Ayaka brought along to cheers each other into the New Year as we played Cards Against Humanity and listened to Iron Maiden. We are the picture of high class, I know.

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Park Hyatt Tokyo, Japan, luxury hotels

On New Year's Eve, the Park Hyatt Tokyo kindly offers guests to join them for a bowl of toshikoshi soba noodles, something traditionally eaten before midnight on NYE in Japan to celebrate Ōmisoka (an end of year event to celebrate crossing over from one year into the next). The long noodles symbolise a long life...the photo below just about sums up our eating styles.

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Park Hyatt Tokyo, Japan, luxury hotels
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Park Hyatt Tokyo, Japan, luxury hotels
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Park Hyatt Tokyo, Japan, luxury hotels
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Park Hyatt Tokyo, Japan, luxury hotels

Saving the most spectacular meal for last: breakfast on New Year's day.

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Park Hyatt Tokyo, Japan, luxury hotels

Every morning, along with breakfast, you also get a little card that indicates the weather you can expect that day. A lovely gesture:

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Park Hyatt Tokyo, Japan, luxury hotels
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Park Hyatt Tokyo, Japan, luxury hotels
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Park Hyatt Tokyo, Japan, luxury hotels
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Park Hyatt Tokyo, Japan, luxury hotels

In all honesty, it's difficult to recommend one hotel over the other. They both provide excellent customer service and hard products in very different ways. The Conrad is perhaps a little less traditional than the Park Hyatt, which some view as almost a little 'old fashioned' these days. In fact, the lobby of the Conrad often features gorgeous displays (galleries, even) of artwork lent to the hotel by local artists.  I love this touch.

The Conrad is very generous in its Happy Hour, with plenty of substantial food and a help yourself vibe to the drinks. The Park Hyatt also has an extremely lavish Happy Hour, with bartenders happy to make any drink you like and canapés on offer throughout the entire 3 hours (though they aren't quite as filling as some of the food on offer at the Conrad). 

The Conrad junior suite was spacious, though incomparable to the Park Hyatt suite...but the two aren't really on the same level. The Conrad suite was a little bare, and the bathroom looked a little clinical. The Park Hyatt feels like an actual luxury apartment you could move right into.

The staff at Park Hyatt really pay attention to the tiniest of things, such as leaving a little note on the door when cleaning is in progress, always restocking every single toiletry item, providing little weather cards for the day and always setting everything up for us 'just so' when it came to in-room dining. The Conrad was a tad more hands-off and we didn't really interact as much with staff, but that wasn't an issue, plus we weren't there half as long.

I'm a little biased, because Park Hyatts are one of my favourite brands of hotel, but when I think fondly of our Tokyo visits, I usually think of the PH. I mean...just look at that breakfast! If only every morning started that way ;)

7 Mar 2017

Shanghai, my old friend


Euriental | luxury travel & style | Cathay Pacific First Class
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Cathay Pacific First Class Lounge HK

Sometimes a hiatus feels really, really good. After xmas with my family in Shanghai, starting off the new year in Tokyo, returning to London and then jetting off about as far as we could possibly travel to spend two weeks in New Zealand, I just needed time away from constantly thinking about editing photos or putting words together for the next post to just focus on real life a little bit! Not to mention, I've been in the midst of creating an intensive Instagram course for travel industry professionals, which has taken up a lot of time (and is still not finished yet).

Anyway - I'm back. So, yes, these Shanghai photos are pretty late, but better late than never. My time in Shanghai was split between my parents' house (the one I lived in during my mid to latter teen years) and the Park Hyatt, one of the Hyatts Jarv had wanted to stay at ever since we had drinks at the bar a few years back. Being up in the clouds, above it all (figuratively and literally) is really quite surreal, and the suite we bagged was amaaaazing. Other than that, what else do I do when I go home but stuff my face with all manner of food and visit a gajillion supermalls. Ahhhh, Shanghai.

Well, jetlag is still hitting me hard so that's all I can manage for this evening. I hear the enticing call of an early bedtime...

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Shanghai high rises
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Shanghai malls
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Shanghai food
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Shanghai malls

Doing a Japanese "hair smile" ... Google it. It's a real thing.

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Park Hyatt Shanghai
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Park Hyatt Shanghai
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Park Hyatt Shanghai
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Shanghai high rises
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Shanghai malls

Not tossing, guys.

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Shanghai malls
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Park Hyatt Shanghai
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Shanghai food
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Park Hyatt Shanghai
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Shanghai food
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Park Hyatt Shanghai
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Park Hyatt Shanghai wearing BCBG dress