26 Aug REVIEW: The Ritz-Carlton Tokyo
The Japanese take service and hospitality to a whole new level. It was totally worth spending 210,000 points on 3-nights at the Ritz-Carlton Tokyo, and I would 100% do it again.
REVIEW: The Ritz-Carlton Tokyo
Being a Starwood Preferred Guest member, I took advantage of the pre-merger 3:1 points conversion ratio from SPG to Marriott and moved over my 25,000 SPG sign-up bonus points to 75,000 Marriott points. The 75k combined with some extra points I’ve been earning from my SPG AMEX credit card (converted to Marriott) gave me enough to book 3 nights at the Ritz-Carlton Tokyo for my vacation with my girlfriend.
Updated: April 15, 2019 – (Unfortunately, the 25,000 SPG point bonus has expired – replaced with the Bonvoy 50,000 points Welcome Bonus)
Booking directly with the Marriott website was easy as they had lots of award availability for the nights we wanted. We locked in a deluxe guest room for 210,000 points + 1,400 JPY (roughly $15 CAD). I took a chance on the room type as I saw King rooms being available for booking, but strangely enough they didn’t make them available for awards. Luckily, they had the King room, but on top of it, we were upgraded to a Suite.
At the time of the stay, a standard award room costed 70,000 points. Since the SPG/Marriott merger, this has now been lowered to 60,000 points.
Japan has insanely cheap taxes unlike London, UK where the surcharge+taxes can be upwards of €100/night extra on top of the points
In case you’re wondering how much 3 nights in a Tokyo Deluxe Room would’ve costed:
124,000 JPY = $1453.70 CAD
Factoring in our 2-night upgrade to their Executive Suite, here is the total cost:
474,000 JPY (106k x 1 + 184k x 2) = $5,556.90 CAD
So essentially, we paid $15 in taxes for a ~$5,500 room. For the hardcore points folks, that represents a 2.64¢ per point value – higher than TPG’s Marriott valuation of 0.90¢ making this a great redemption. More details on earn and burn rates in a future article.
All booked! One of the best feelings knowing you’re going to stay at a 5-star hotel in Japan.
The Ritz-Carlton Tokyo is located in the Minato prefecture, which is considered to be Midtown Tokyo. It is just steps away from Roppongi Station on the Hibiya Line, and a 7-minute walk to Nogizaka Station on the Chiyoda Line. You can access Roppongi Station via the underground. It is advised to get around Tokyo by subway, although you could take their Rolls Royce Phantom or the BMW 7 Series. Those services will set you back 16,000 JPY per hour and 10,000 JPY per hour, respectively. Airport transfer to Narita and Haneda is available as well, again at expensive rates compared to public transit.
Distance and time to areas of interest by subway:
- Distance to Shinjuku – 19 minutes
- Distance to Shibuya – 16 minutes
- Distance to Tokyo Centre – 25 minutes
Ritz Carlton Entrance – Image Courtesy: Ritz-Carlton Tokyo
Upon our afternoon arrival at the Ritz, Ika, the doorman greeted us with his assistant. He had his assistant take our luggage while he escorted us to the elevator and upwards to the sky lobby on the 45th floor. There he bid us a fantastic stay and handed us off to Risako, our amazing concierge for the stay. We were brought to the check-in counter where every staff member knew us by name even before we said a word. As we were checking-in, we were offered a cup of refreshing lemon-mint infused water. A few days prior to arriving at the hotel, I inquired about an upgrade through email with the hotel manager. Unfortunately, they were only able to provide an upgrade for 2 of the 3 nights, which of course I happily obliged to. All we had to do was pack our bags and put them together after the 1st night and they would bring them to our 48th floor suite for the 2nd and 3rd night.
Sky Lobby – Image Courtesy: Ritz-Carlton Tokyo
Once we were all checked-in, Risako escorted us to our room where our bags and the doorman were waiting for us. Along our way to the 50th floor, we made small talk and got to know each other a bit better – we told her this was our first time in Tokyo and she graciously offered all of her local tips and favourite spots to eat. I have to say that I’ve never experienced this type of personalization and attention from any of my previous hotel stays – the Japanese really take it to a whole new level – I felt like I was being observed at every movement and someone would react when I made the right move for them to act upon. At this point, I was expecting to be left alone to settle in – but instead Risako offered to provide us with a tour of the room and an offer to provide us with some spots to eat. An unexpected, but very nice gesture.
We walked into the room and we were greeted by this insane panoramic view of the Tokyo Tower. There were no clouds that day so we were able to see all the way to Haneda Airport – which is about 45 minutes away by subway.
View of the Tokyo Tower from the Ritz-Carlton Tokyo 50th floor
My girlfriend @mellypalumbo enjoying the gorgeous view
Here is what the room actually looks like:
The Deluxe Room features a King bed, lighting/shades control panel, desk and two chairs
Your above average bathroom with a bathtub, shower, and 2 sinks
The Ritz bathroom is more than large enough for 2 people. We each got our own sink!
Amenities provided by the Ritz: Comb, Brush, Toothbrush, Emery Board, Razor and Cream
The shower definitely passes TPG’s Shower Test
After the tour of the room, we ate the chocolate and read the card addressed to us. Another very personal touch by the hotel staff.
The standard deluxe room is definitely not tiny by any means, not that we spent that much time in the room, but of the 560 sq ft, I’d say the bathroom makes up 1/5th of the room. That could’ve been a 2nd bedroom if needed…
There’s also plenty of storage space to keep the room tidy if that’s what you prefer, or you could dump your stuff everywhere and still have plenty of room. I have to say I appreciated the room’s high-end classy design – it was right in line with expectations.
In terms of the bed, it was very comfortable and we got a great night’s sleep from it. Right next to the Sealy bed, of course, was a control panel that controlled lighting and shades in the room. It was awesome to be able to hit a switch and control everything in the morning without getting up.
I don’t have any other luxury hotels to benchmark against but nothing felt cheap or on the low-end. The high ceilings and soundproofed windows definitely added to the overall restful feel of the room, the most important aspect for us.
As mentioned before, we were upgraded to their Executive Suite (861 sq ft.) for our 2nd and 3rd night. While this room didn’t offer a view of Tokyo Tower, it did offer a view of the Tokyo Skyline, which was stunning during sunset.
A view into the Tokyo Skyline during Sunset
This suite has the same design and feel to it, except with a living room area where we lounged after our long days out in Tokyo. The suite’s bathroom was the same as the previous room.
Executive Suite Living Room facing the Tokyo sunset
Executive Suite Layout
The Sealy beds made for 3-nights of excellent sleep
Waking up to a panoramic view of Tokyo
One final thing I should mention is that we noticed housekeeping passes by twice a day. Once in the morning for sure, but after returning from dinner in the city, we noticed that everything in our room was restocked, including the chocolate and water that we ate and drank.
Daily breakfast was available for free thanks to our redemption stay and my Gold Status. There was a massive selection of Western and Japanese dishes, including fruit, cheeses, fresh smoothies, juices, detox beverages, pastries, and dim sum. There was also a menu available with the following options:
You can select one of the menu options, or combine them to create your own custom plate.
I opted for eggs benedict with potatoes, sausage, and a cup of Japanese tea every morning – I’m a creature of habit when it comes to breakfast. All plates are made to order by the Chef, so you know it’s fresh. On one occasion, we ate beside Patrick Schwarzenegger. A very nice guy and fantastic complement to our delicious breakfast.
Eggs Benedict with potatoes
Breakfast spread on the 2nd day
Although we didn’t try out any of the amenities, the Ritz-Carlton Tokyo is home to Azure 45, a French restaurant that has earned its 1st Michelin star. The hotel also has a fully equipped spa & fitness centre. It even has a wedding chapel for those that want to get married at the Ritz.
Wedding Chapel inside the Ritz-Carlton Tokyo – Image Courtesy: Ritz-Carlton Tokyo
The Fitness Centre is open 24 hours daily – Image Courtesy: Ritz-Carlton Tokyo
This was my very first stay at a luxury hotel so I have to say that I’m impressed. Having done my fair share of stays at all types of hotels, I can stand by the qualities that a 5-star hotel brings. I should however, temper my expectations for my next luxury stay abroad, as the Japanese are unrivalled when it comes to hospitality. I will definitely be going back to Japan in the near future and will be looking forward to my next stay there. The great thing is following the SPG-Marriott merger, this property just became less expensive for redemptions, only 60,000 points/night!
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Some images by William Chan and Ritz-Carlton Tokyo where indicated.