Hotel prices in Tokyo aren’t exactly cheap, which made using my stash of Hilton HHonors points a natural fit. We ultimately settled on the Hilton Tokyo Odaiba, located across the Rainbow Bridge from the Tokyo city center, in the suburban area of Odaiba. 50,000 points worth of Hilton funny money a night gets you a room, which considering that rooms were retailing for 31,000 yen (~$255 per night) represented a decent deal. I also wanted a hotel convenient to the city’s light rail/subway system, and the Hilton’s location directly adjacent to the Daiba station on the Yurikamome Line seemed like an ideal setup.
Note: This post is part of my trip report series about our trip to Japan in November, 2015. Click here for the introductory post and trip report index.
Hilton Tokyo Odaiba
- 135-8625, Tokyo, 1-9-1, Daiba, Minato-ku, Japan
- Features: free WiFi, adjacent to light rail station, business center, meeting rooms, pool, fitness center, on-site gift shop
As mentioned in the introduction, the hotel is located adjacent to the Daiba station on the Yurikamome light rail line; a covered walkway leads to the station entrance. The trip to Shimbashi station on the outskirts of entral Tokyo takes roughly 15 minutes. The hotel also shares an observation deck with the Aqua City Mall, which is also next door.
To get to the hotel from Narita Airport, the most direct route is to take the “Airport Limousine Bus“, which runs directly from all airport terminals to the hotel’s entrance. From Narita, buses run approximately every 2 hours between 8:45 A.M. and 6:45 P.M. Cost is 2,800 yen (~$27) per person, and the trip takes about 90 minutes. You can also take the Narita Express (N’EX) or a local train to Tokyo Station, then the Yamanote Line to Shimbashi Station, then the Yurikamome Line to Daiba Station. A ticket in the Ordinary Car is 3,020 yen to Tokyo, then 120 yen to Shimbashi, plus an additional 320 yen (~$33) to Daiba. Trains run approximately every 30 minutes from 7:45 A.M. to 9:45 P.M., and the trip takes approximately one hour to Tokyo Station; the entire trip takes about an hour and a half. Local trains are cheaper, but take longer. Taxi fare to Odaiba is approximately 20,000 yen (~$190, and no, that’s not a misprint), and takes 60-90 minutes depending on traffic.
From Haneda Airport, the easiest way to reach the hotel is to take the Tokyo Monorail to Hamamatsucho Station, then the Yamanote Line to Shimbashi, then the Yurikamome Line to Daiba. The monorail runs every 4-10 minutes from 5 A.M. to midnight. The fare is 490 yen to Hamamatsucho, and approximately 500 yen to Daiba (~$9 total). Taxi fare is roughly 4,400 yen (~$42), and takes 15-30 minutes depending on traffic.
Dates of Stay: November 26-29, 2015
The bus brought us to the downstairs lobby at street level. Escalators bring you up to the main lobby and check-in desks on the second level.
There were a few people in line ahead of us, but the hotel has an efficient system in place, with an employee greeting guests as they join the line and then directing them to the first available clerk. It took only a few minutes to get us checked in to our room on the 15th floor. Our room featured a balcony and was on the side of the hotel facing the water, but faced an industrial/warehouse area to the east, and not the Tokyo city center. I could have sworn that I’d taken a couple of photos from the balcony, but unfortunately I can’t find them.
The room itself was a bit on the small side, with two chairs situated by the sliding doors leading to the balcony. The bed, however, was spacious, and was pretty comfortable. Hilton beds can be hit or miss in that regard, but I was able to sleep right through the night from the first day.
There is a small working area next to the flat screen TV. Though there is a full-size closet across from the bathroom, there is also a small storage area to the left of the TV for smaller bags, such as roll-a-boards or backpacks. I did find that handy. Plugs are available both at the desk and on the nightstand closest to the balcony.
If you’re here on business, the amount of working space is tight, and the desk chair isn’t all that comfortable. When I wanted to use my computer, I found it more comfortable to sit on one of the chairs by the window. Fortunately, this was purely a pleasure trip over the Thanksgiving holidays, so it wasn’t an issue for me. WiFi speeds were acceptable, if not blazing fast. As with most Hilton hotels these days, standard WiFi is free for HHonors members that book directly through Hilton.
I also found the bathroom to be standard issue and pretty tight, with not much room to maneuver between the sink and bathtub/shower. The toiletries were the standard Peter Thomas Roth products found at Hiltons worldwide.
The lobby featured many Italian-style white columns, and the terraced floorplan with spiral staircases reminded me a lot of a cruise ship.
A couple of seating areas were located by the front entrance, featuring modern looking circular furniture.
The most impressive part of the lobby was towards the back next to the front desk, which featured a bar/seating area spanning almost the entire length of the floor, with expansive windows providing an incredible view of Tokyo Bay and the skyline. This would definitely be a nice place to nurse a drink and enjoy the view, as long as you don’t mind hotel prices.
Since it was getting close to Christmas, a Christmas tree and decorations had been placed throughout. It also looked like a spot had been set up for Santa Claus to sit and take requests from the kids.
As you can see from the top photo, the exterior is rather spartan, but the view from the back of the hotel is anything but ordinary. Guests are treated to spectacular views of the Rainbow Bridge and Tokyo skyline from the observation deck out back (it extends out past the Aqua City Mall), both night and day.
Tokyo skyline night view
Tokyo skyline day view
A very nice Christmas/winter lights display was also out between the hotel and the mall.
In fact, the proximity to Aqua City is perhaps the best feature of the hotel. Neither my wife nor I care much for hotel restaurants in general, and it was nice to be able to just walk across the street and sample the options available there. A mall food court might not sound like much at first blush, but throughout Tokyo, there are a surprising number of decent restaurants inside malls, including Aqua City. This proved to be especially helpful our first night in Tokyo; we were fighting some serious jet lag about 6 P.M., but the walk to the mall and a little fresh air outside admiring the lights helped me stay up until about 10, and I was able to sleep through the night with no issues.
As far as access to the city center, there definitely is a price vs. convenience trade-off. Hotels in Odaiba are marginally cheaper, but you are also looking at a 15-minute train ride to central Tokyo, or 20-25 minutes to Minato, for example. Another issue is that if you’re trying to take mass transit from either Haneda or Narita, the trip involves a double connection, which is inconvenient if you’re lugging heavy/bulky bags. On the other hand, the pace in Odaiba is noticeably slower and quieter than much of Tokyo. I find that preferable, but whether that’s a plus or minus for you is of course personal preference.
With respect to the hotel’s services – we spent a shockingly small amount of time in the hotel, so I can’t really comment much. Literally, we were there to sleep, and spend an hour or so in the morning before taking off to sightsee. The hotel staff we encountered, though, were universally exceptional. What I especially appreciated was the large number of employees stationed around the front desk that proactively approached anyone that looked like they might be looking for something or needed help at the desk, keeping lines moving efficiently and reducing wait times to a minimum. Incidentally, if you don’t want to trek all the way to Kobe for a Teppanyaki experience, the in-house Sakura restaurant has what you’re looking for, and had a decent lunch special if I remember the menu correctly.
The rooms at the Hilton Tokyo Odaiba are really nothing special, though service was exceptional, as I’d encountered throughout Japan. Whether the hotel is the right choice for you, though, depends on how you value the trade-off between price and location. I appreciated the less hectic pace in Odaiba, and I’ll generally trade a short train ride to the city center for a lower price. I also found the location next to Aqua City a plus, as that opened up many dining opportunities without having to venture very far (quite welcome when you’ve been on your feet all day as we consistently were).
Next week, I wrap up my Japan trip report series with a look at the Admirals Club at Narita Airport.