As mentioned in my previous review of American Airlines’ LAX-HND route, the flight is not very well timed if you plan to make an onward connection to other destinations in Asia. (The late departure is much better if you are connecting in Tokyo on the way home.) As a result I needed a hotel to stay in before my flight to Kuala Lumpur the next morning.
There are four options for a hotel at Haneda. First, you could go all the way into central Tokyo. It’s not that inconvenient if you have a late departure the next day and want to see the city. Or, you could choose a nearby airport hotel. The third and cheapest option is to choose one of the capsule hotels. These are in the domestic terminal — and I almost booked this for the novelty until I realized that the inter-terminal shuttle stops running around midnight. There was a real risk that I wouldn’t make it, which was a made reality after my flight landed late.
Fortunately I already decided to go with the fourth and most convenient option, which is the comparatively luxurious Royal Park Hotel THE Haneda inside the international terminal. (Yes, that is the name as far as I can tell. I haven’t been able to determine if “THE” stands for something or just emphasizes the location.) I found out later that there appear to be airside services, as well. As a guest of the main hotel I was provided a coupon for a one-hour visit or coffee at the airside location the next day. There are definitely day rooms and showers, but I’m not sure if it provides overnight accommodations.
Do reserve something in advance, as I noticed that the hotel’s prices seemed to increase closer to departure. My premium room ended up at $180 before discounts when booked through Orbitz. I think you could get it for as low as $150 with better planning.
There were no signs for the hotel when I exited customs and immigration. A guide at the tourist information booth pointed to the escalators, so I went up to the departures level and found the entrance all the way to the left of the concourse. Some of these pictures are from the next morning when there was better light and I wasn’t so tired.
Check-in was swift. Despite pre-paying for a “premium” room that also included breakfast, the agent still needed to swipe my credit card for some kind of tax. It was about $1 and the silliest charge in recent memory.
My room was on the 8th floor, which is marked as a premium floor. Everything was quiet that late at night, and my room was far enough from the elevator and vending machines that I wasn’t worried about sleeping. Although nicely decorated, the ends of the hallway were painted with a spiral design that was slightly disorienting, like I was entering the Twilight Zone.
My room wasn’t in a capsule hotel — but it wasn’t much larger, either. Everything was designed for efficiency. My bed had a small chair and table next to it, a cabinet and television on the opposite wall, and a glassed-in bathroom with warning signs to keep the door closed lest steam from the shower activate the fire alarm.
A set of pajamas was already waiting on the bed, which I thought was a nice touch. However, once I tried them on they looked ridiculous. The pants were about two sizes too small and the shirt two sizes too big. I’ll spare you that photograph. But here’s a look at all the contents of that cabinet, with a safe, one drawer, complimentary water in the refrigerator, and a coffee maker. You could reasonably expect to stay here a week if you needed to.
Every feature of the room was explained in detail, except it was nearly all in Japanese with only some English translations. Keep this in mind when visiting Japan. It’s a great country, and the people are incredibly friendly and helpful. Still, English is not as common as you might find in other parts of the world. They haven’t yet succumbed to making it their lingua franca. I fiddled with the thermostat in the warm room for a few minutes before giving up.
The room had plenty of amenities, which was more obvious in the morning when I had a clear head. A humidifier and clock next to the bed, and a large selection of complimentary items in the bathroom meant this room was better prepared than most for the forgetful traveler.
Bath products were provided in large pumps and branded with the hotel’s logo and Mikimoto Cosmetics. Towels, like the pajamas, were purple and monogrammed with the hotel’s “THE” logo.
The next morning I was treated to a nice view of airport operations from my bathroom. As I recall, that glass skylight indicates the location of the airline transfer desks and entrances to the airport lounges.
Breakfast was served downstairs in the Tailwind restaurant, which I previously passed when walking to check-in. It was buffet style with a mix of Western and Japanese options — although it definitely skewed toward Japanese. Still, I was able to find some coffee, juice, and eggs. There were some copies of the Wall Street Journal so I had something to read in English.
Overall I had a pleasant stay and would choose to return here if I ever needed a hotel after a late-arriving flight or before an early departure. It was incredibly convenient and just as nice — if not better — than most of the airport hotels I’ve visited before.