The skies were overcast and gloomy when we arrived in Tokyo on Monday. The morning air was slightly chilly, a wonderful change from the muggy Singapore heat that we left behind. Wearing a cardigan and a thin scarf sufficed.
It has been nearly 4 years since we last set foot in Japan. We were looking forward to some good eats and lots of walking in this trip. I felt the impact of the rising Japanese Yen when buying tickets for the 100-minute airport limousine ride to our hotel in Shinjuku. The cost of two tickets, each costing ¥3,000, was approximately the equivalent of S$100…!!
This time, we chose to stay in the Keio Plaza Hotel, a business hotel located in Shinjuku. I selected the hotel based on three criteria.
One, the hotel has to be a scheduled stop on the airport limousine’s route to and from the airport. Our previous experiences of dragging luggage up and down long flights of stairways and/or across busy crossroads in search of the hotel were not ones which we cared to repeat.
Two, the hotel must be conveniently located within walking distance from a JR station on the Yamanote Line to minimise having to change trains to go to the places that we wanted to visit, especially during peak hours!
Three, the hotel should have rooms which are of a decent size and has bathrooms that have more than just elbow-to-elbow standing space.
We were very pleased with our choice of Keio Plaza Hotel (well, the room could have been bigger…). We managed to get reasonable rates for a double-room on Agoda. While the Agoda rates did not include breakfast, the room came with a Nespresso machine, four complimentary coffee capsules per day and in-room wifi. Good enough for us. I choose Nespresso over breakfast anytime!
Keio Plaza, a huge hotel complex split into several towers, is located in a “skyscraper forest” in Nishi-Shinjuku (west of Shinjuku station) where the business district is. Surrounded by office buildings and skyscrapers, the hotel is a skip-and-a-hop away from the train station, eateries, restaurants and cafes. Service was impeccable too.
We love the hotel’s location – quiet, away from the crowds, neon-lights, billboards, shops, pimps, and madness that make up most of Shinjuku. Convenience without the noise and congestion (except when we were battling with the human traffic into and out of the Shinjuku train station). Perfect!
^ View from our hotel room on the 25th floor. The futuristic-looking Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building (shot through the window in the hotel room).
^ Just round the corner from our hotel is this super cool and “curvaceous-looking” Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower.
I love the look and architecture of the building. I was a little surprised to learn that the Cocoon Tower is an educational facility, housing three schools – a fashion vocational school, a design and technology college and a medical college. It looked like it housed hip companies in the creative fields.