For my two nights in Tokyo, I decided to spend them in style. The transition from SPG to Marriott Bonvoy produced a brief window to extract outsize value from the program. Specifically, members could redeem even Category 8 hotels for just 60,000 points per night. Today, those hotels cost anywhere from 70,000 to 100,000 points/night depending on season. One such hotel available for that price? The Ritz-Carlton Tokyo, which retailed for ¥73,500 (~$675) per night. So, I jumped at the chance to use 60k points per night for that kind of value.
Note: this post is part of my trip report series about my long weekend to Japan in July. Click here for the introduction and trip report index.
The Ritz-Carlton, Tokyo
- Midtown Tower, 45th Floor, Tokyo Midtown 9-7-1 Akasaka Minato-ku Tokyo, Japan 107-6245
- Website: https://www.ritzcarlton.com/en/hotels/japan/tokyo
- Amenities: fitness center, meeting rooms, indoor pool & spa, ballroom, wedding chapel, 5 restaurants, bar, lounge
On Floors 45-53 of Midtown Tower, the tallest building in Tokyo until 2014. There is an entrance next to the main entrance for Tokyo Midtown; however, the door locks nightly at 11 pm. If arriving or returning late at night, use the back entrance, which is actually the main entrance to the hotel. When arriving via the metro system, the hotel is a short walk from both Roppongi and Nogizaka Stations. The Oedo and Hibiya Lines serve Roppongi, whereas the Chiyoda Line serves Nogizaka. To reach Tokyo Station, take the Hibiya Line to Ginza, then the Marunouchi Line from there. Or, take the Chiyoda Line to Kasumigaseki, then switch to the Marunouchi Line there. Both take about 25 minutes. However, you can connect reach Roppongi Station entirely via underground walkways – helpful in bad weather.
If arriving at Roppongi, look for Exit 7/8 to Tokyo Midtown.
You’ll eventually see an overhead sign directing you to the Ritz-Carlton Tokyo.
When trying to find the walkway to Roppongi from the hotel, go out the front entrance, to the courtyard of Tokyo Midtown facing the main road. Look for this sign, which takes you to the underground walkway.
If you need cheap bottled water or a soda, there’s a 7-Eleven at the bottom of the escalators.
An interesting tidbit: you can request a Rolls Royce Phantom transfer from either Narita or Haneda airports. All for the low, low price of ¥70,000 (~$645) from Narita, or ¥40,000 (~$365) from Haneda. You can also book the car for city use for ¥16,000 (~$145) per hour.
Date of Stay: Sunday-Monday, July 14-15, 2019
Check-In and Common Areas
I checked in after 11 pm on Sunday, and found a hopping lobby area. There was no line at check-in, though, and an agent quickly helped me. She informed me of my Bonvoy Silver benefits (basically nothing, except for a food & beverage discount), and had me on my way in a couple of minutes. While quite friendly, I couldn’t help but think that service felt a little – forced? Anyway, I appreciated the quick turnaround given the late hour.
The next morning, I spent a little time exploring the lobby before heading to Lake Kawaguchiko. The high ceilings and contemporary Japanese design gave it a very elegant look, I thought.
The front desk is at the end nearest the elevators.
Meanwhile, at the opposite end is a large water fountain fixture. Though enormous, it does provide a cool, calming effect to the busy lobby.
The 45th floor lobby also features a large, airy lounge along the outside windows. It has a “sky lobby”-type feel to it, though it doesn’t wrap around the entire floor.
There’s also a very impressive bar which overlooks the Tokyo skyline.
Although the hotel apparently hasn’t renovated the space since its opening in 2007, I think it’s aged quite well.
The pool, spa, and fitness center are on the 46th floor. The attendants ask that I not take any photos, but the indoor pool is impressive. You can enjoy a view of the city while getting in some laps, or soaking in the hot tub. (These are stock photos from the hotel.)
Spa treatments come predictably expensive, though. The cheapest treatment, a 60-minute relaxation massage, costs ¥28,000 (~$255).
The hotel has several meeting rooms on the ground floor of Tokyo Midtown, mostly in the corridors leading to the mall. Even the decor here looks upscale, and the meeting rooms look quite nice.
As mentioned earlier, the Ritz-Carlton Tokyo has 5 restaurants. I didn’t have the opportunity to try any, but one (Azure 45) boasts a Michelin star. In addition to a modern French menu, the restaurant features an acclaimed wine list, from what I’ve read.
The Ritz-Carlton, Tokyo Guest Rooms
I selected a “deluxe twin room”, a standard room, for my points booking. Even the standard room felt quite large and spacious, especially for Tokyo. It featured a large entryway by the bathroom, opening up into a spacious bedroom.
I found the bed comfortable, and the air conditioning effective, allowing me to fall asleep quickly. (Though not all that hot, Tokyo gets really humid in July, so A/C becomes a must.) A slight touch of jet lag woke me up at 6 am both nights, unfortunately. But if you’re wiped out, the combo of a comfy bed and blackout curtains will ensure a restful sleep.
The room also includes a flat screen TV, and abundant closet/storage space.
Meanwhile, along the window is a large desk with two chairs, and a small sitting area. This is one of the better desk setups I’ve seen; it features plenty of workspace, along with plenty of lighting thanks to its location next to the window and a good lamp.
The window includes a power-operated window shade that thoroughly blocks out the light. Very helpful during summer, when those long Tokyo days bring in bright sunlight at an early hour.
During the day, the window provides an excellent view of the sprawling Tokyo city center. Even with the gloomy, misty weather.
A table on the entryway includes a Nespresso machine and tea kettle; also waiting were two complimentary bottles of water.
I found an acceptable number of plugs throughout the room. On the nightstand between the beds were two USB ports.
Meanwhile, the desk has four standard power outlets, plus another USB port. Helpfully, one of the desk plugs is a universal outlet, in case you require a North America/Japan adapter but forgot one. (I actually wish more hotels/airport lounges worldwide would provide these.)
Moving on to the bathroom – it’s huge. The setup features a separate shower, soaking tub, and water closet. There’s even room left over for Jack and Jill sinks and a TV. (Just for you, Kyle and Matthew, the toilet has a Japanese bidet as well.) I also appreciated that the hotel provided plenty of proper-sized bath towels. Overkill for one person, perhaps, but I’ve learned to appreciate having plenty now that I travel with a small child.
Ritz-Carlton provides Asprey Purple Water toiletries, which it introduced in 2013. The products are of good quality and had a pleasant citrus scent. It seems these products have something of a cult following, including by former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. (I haven’t the heart to tell him that he could have ordered a travel set on Walmart.com for $20.)
My overall impression of the room: a bit mixed. I normally don’t get excited about bathrooms, but this one kind of blew me away. It’s huge and well-appointed, and the deep soaking tub made for a nice end to two very long days. As for the room itself, the amount of space surprised me a little, especially in central Tokyo. And of course, I fully enjoyed sipping a cup of coffee at the desk while looking at the view. But the room decor definitely looks and feels a bit dated at this point. It could use a refresh.
I’ve heard some complaints about the location of the Ritz within the city. Personally, I think it’s fine. The proximity to Roppongi Station makes it an easy (~25 minute) metro ride to Tokyo Station, Shibuya, or Shinjuku, for example. Additionally, I noted numerous restaurants in the area, and in the connected Tokyo Midtown mall.
I tried to get out and look around Tuesday morning before heading to the airport. Unfortunately, foul weather made that kind of difficult. Nevertheless, I did brave the rain long enough to find a pleasant, small park across from the Akasaka Palace grounds. One thing I love about Tokyo are the numerous small green spaces sprinkled throughout.
Ritz-Carlton, Tokyo Service
I’ll be perfectly honest. I’m not exactly sure what I think of the service. On the one hand, the hotel staff do seem to go the extra mile in a lot of ways. For example, I always saw a staff member on duty at the elevators to greet guests and get them headed in the right direction. As I exited the elevators Monday morning, one saw me just kind of looking around; I actually did temporarily lose my bearings as I tried to remember the way to the ground floor elevators. Within seconds, a staff member noticed and asked if she could help. While it’s a level of service I expect at a Ritz-Carlton, it’s a nice touch nonetheless.
On the other hand, both my check-in and check-out interactions at the front desk just felt a bit forced. Don’t get me wrong, I found both clerks friendly. But it sure seemed like both were trying just a little too hard. I’m curious if any other readers have stayed here, and picked up on the same thing, or if I encountered a one-off.
Overall, this probably marks my best value points redemption so far. 60,000 points a night truly is an excellent redemption here. Even under the new points system, the Ritz-Carlton Tokyo still potentially offers a great use of points. The off-season rate of 70,000 points/night in particular represents a good value still. Thankfully, the Ritz doesn’t play games with points availability – yet – so award nights usually are readily available.
Now, if you’re paying cash, does the hotel warrant the high asking price? I’m not so sure about that. Even during off-peak season, rooms routinely run in excess of $600 per night. That’s a lot, even for Tokyo; the rate usually runs a couple of hundred dollars more than hotels like the Grand Hyatt or Conrad Tokyo. Heck, it’s a premium even over properties like the Shangri-La, Peninsula, or Park Hyatt. It’s an impressive hotel. But I don’t know if it wowed me that much.