The Park Hyatt Tokyo is a famous property for many reasons, and it typically gets rave reviews. It was also featured prominently in the movie “Lost in Translation.” I could write a full review of the property, but you can find those here, here, here, and here. There are plenty more. We stayed for six nights, and we used extra points to confirm a suite with our booking.
We were confirmed in the standard Park Suite, and as Globalists, we did not get upgraded to a higher level suite (the hotel is under no obligation to do so via the World of Hyatt terms). My wife and I were traveling with our 2.5 year old son and 6 month old daughter. Before I dig into why I don’t want to stay here and why you probably don’t either, it is worth noting that it is a very nice property. It just doesn’t live up to the hype or the price tag, and there are a lot of things that actually make it a place I would not recommend.
Tokyo has fantastic public transportation. There are subway lines that will zip you all around the city, and as we have two young kids that need car seats, we don’t use taxis for our city trips. We depend on public transportation. The Park Hyatt is relatively close to three subway stations, but it is actually close to zero. Within a twenty minute radius of the Hyatt, you have the Shinjuku, Hatsudai, and Tochomae stations. If you’re walking fast, Shinjuku and Hatusdai are fifteen minutes away, and you can probably make it to Tochomae in eleven. That’s not that close, especially in the sweltering Tokyo summertime heat. If you’re planning on going round-trip to any place in town, you need to add another twenty to thirty minutes of round-trip walking time, not counting any walking you need to do near your destination. This may not seem like much, but again, it was really hot, and with kids, it was tough.
As a Globalist member, you can get room service for breakfast as an option. The presentation is top notch, and the food isn’t bad. However, it isn’t that great, and it’s the same food they serve in the buffet. They had the same selection of pastries every day, the same eggs, the same fruit, etc. Asia is famous for having beautiful breakfast spreads, and this one is just okay. Also, Girandole, their breakfast restaurant, is very stuffy. There isn’t any music playing. There isn’t much conversation. It’s a bit awkward. You can get food made to order, and we did, but they were not very good. The waffles lacked texture and flavor. The pancakes were worse than IHOP pancakes. A JW Marriott or Grand Hyatt lounge is going to have just as good of food as this restaurant.
We were there six days so I wanted to try the famous New York Bar on the top floor. New York Bar is famous for their wagyu burger. Have you ever had a $50 cheeseburger? Now I can say I have. To be honest, the price didn’t bother me. I know wagyu beef is expensive, and I was pretty excited. I was surprised, however, when the waiter never asked me how I wanted it cooked, though. It came out extremely overcooked. The net result was that I was eating a wagyu burger that tasted significantly worse than Shake Shack or In N Out.
I had a variety of odd experiences at the concierge, depending on who I worked with. Our first issue was getting Tokyo Disneyland tickets. We wanted to buy them in advance, but the Tokyo Disney site is very unfriendly to US credit cards. Before I attempted to buy them, though, a gentleman at the concierge told me that if I couldn’t get them online, I shouldn’t worry as they have plenty in stock and they could just charge the tickets to my room. Good to know. Late that evening, I went to go buy tickets online. Sure enough, the Disney site wouldn’t let me purchase with ANY of my US credit cards. I found a YouTube video about how to get tickets with cash at any FamilyMart (a Japanese 7-Eleven esque store), but I didn’t feel like going out at 10PM so I went back down to the concierge. There was a different person there this time, and I asked her if I could get a few of those Disneyland tickets charged to my room. She said they didn’t have any. I told her that the earlier attendant told me they did. She said, “Well we can get them for you, but there will be a surcharge.” I said, “Right now? Because we’re going tomorrow pretty early in the morning.” She said, “Well, in about 30 minutes…” Me: “Oh. Are you just going to walk to FamilyMart to get them?” She said yes, and I said okay I would just go do it myself.
Then there were the variety of odd milk issues. My son drinks warm milk when he wakes up in the morning and after his nap. At a hotel with a lounge, I just pop into the lounge and get some. At a hotel with a microwave in the room or lobby, I’ll do it myself. Here I went to the restaurant, and they assured me it was no problem to get milk for free there. Every time I went there, they were confused about what I was asking for, even if it was literally the same person who gave me the milk the day before. Sometimes I’d get a full glass. Sometimes I’d get a half glass. I would typically go into the business center to study when the kids were napping, and when I would walk to the restaurant for milk. The concierge folks would tell me that I really should just get that free milk delivered via room service to the business center. Okay… Seemed excessive to me, but I took them up on the offer. Room service came to the business center. With milk. And an $11 bill. LOL. I did not sign that bill… These were just a few of the examples. Getting warm milk for my son was a chore literally every day. For such a high end hotel that prides itself on service, I’m just surprised that literally every day, twice a day, getting warm milk was such a struggle.
We also used the concierge for dinner recommendations, and while the sushi place they steered us to was great, the teppanyaki place was pretty atrocious. We did get Kobe beef there, but the price we paid was over $200 per head. We left hungry. The service was weak. Dinner for my wife and I came with ice cream, and when I asked if my two year old could have a scoop as well, they were glad to give him some, for $5, which is nothing compared to the massive bill we had, but c’mon… I could have done more research in advance, but I was trusting the concierge. After looking on Tripadvisor, it looks like the Teppanyaki place we went to gives kickbacks to concierges for reservations so I see how we got there.
There is no lounge. They do have complimentary drinks in Peak Bar from 5PM to 8PM for globalist members, and this is quite nice. I went there only twice though, as it’s not a great environment for kids. I really enjoy the convenience of a lounge and being able to go as I please. I also like Diet Coke / Coca Cola Light. A lounge enables me to get milk, snacks, diet cokes, easy breakfast, and more. Instead of getting free sodas with my expensive suite, I got trips to FamilyMart for buying soda to stash in our mini bar fridge.
Many high-end hotels have 24 hour gyms. I like those. I typically like to start my workout around 5:30AM so I can get in a good workout before the kids wake up. There are some hotels that feel like having a really nice gym isn’t good enough. They need to have a “health club.” The Park Hyatt Tokyo has a “health club.” And as Globalists, we’re allowed FREE access to it. Wow! What a perk! And because it’s a “health club,” it has operating hours. It’s only open from 6AM to 10PM. That means I had to start my workouts later to fit their schedule. Furthermore, I had to sign in every time. It’s also a pain in the neck to access from your room. First you go to the 45th floor. Once on the 45th floor, you go down a long hallway, and then you check in at the desk. At this point, you must convince the attendant that no you don’t want a spa treatment… you just want to hit the treadmill for a bit and get out. Great. Now you go up ANOTHER elevator, as the fitness center is actually on a different level. Then you’re finally able to start your workout.
The pool and fitness center at the Park Hyatt are beautiful. You get amazing views of Tokyo from up there, and the way the pool is separated from the fitness center by a large glass wall really is pretty. The problem here is twofold. First of all, the gym is small. Again, for a high-end luxury property, I would expect more treadmills, ellipticals, and free weights. The second problem is more annoying. The room with the pool is quite humid. It is separated from the gym by just one glass wall. While it may not be apparent when you first walk in the fitness center, it is quite humid in there. If you’re someone who works out pretty hard, you probably know the point during your workout which you can expect to start breaking a sweat. At the Park Hyatt Tokyo, that point in time will come sooner. Every time I worked out, I had to start the workout later than I wanted, and I came back to the room wetter than I expected.
The Room Key
This hotel is surely the pinnacle of old school luxury and just to remind you how out of date it really is, they give you a physical key. Yes. A metal key. I’m sure that someone in their marketing department thinks this adds “a touch of old world charm” to the property or something like that. To me, it added a touch of anxiety. I never lost the key, but I knew if I did, there would probably be some fee. It also added a touch of discomfort. Instead of inserting it into my wallet along with my credit cards, it occasionally prodded my thigh from my pocket. Truly lovely.
Ice, Ice Baby
We had an ice bucket in our room. This was replenished twice per day. Again, I think this must be for that “old world charm” client that really likes to have a mini bar whiskey on the rocks at the end of every day. For everyone else, I think a fridge might be more useful and less wasteful.
When high-end luxury is done right, it’s awesome. The hotel takes care of all your needs, and they often anticipate the needs before you have them. I’ve experienced this at places like the Four Seasons Mauritius or Ritz-Carlton Reserve Krabi. At the Park Hyatt Tokyo, it always felt odd. For all the negatives I’ve listed, it’s still a beautiful hotel. I just don’t think it is as good as it needs to be to keep its reputation. Here’s my suite walkthrough.