A sleek hotel in the sky overlooking Tokyo Bay
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.
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:
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.
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.
PARK HYATT TOKYO
A truly 5 star luxury hotel in the heart of lively Shinjuku
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).
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...
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.
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).
Breakfast is not only included, but is quite the affair:
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:
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.
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.
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.
Saving the most spectacular meal for last: breakfast on New Year's day.
Every morning, along with breakfast, you also get a little card that indicates the weather you can expect that day. A lovely gesture:
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 ;)