- Boutique, ryokan-style hotel
- Convenient central Tokyo location
- Impressive decor and styling
- Complimentary breakfast could be better
- Traditional Japanese features with modern amenities
A busy trip to Tokyo can often be draining, so if you’ve got a spare couple of days at the end of your trip it may be worth moving digs to the Hoshinoya Tokyo hotel – a boutique hotel that aims to provide guests the serenity and hospitality of a traditional Japanese ryokan, but without foregoing modern amenities.
While this may seem like a contradiction, the Hoshinoya Tokyo has many aspects to it that at first glance seem incongruous, but turn out to work incredibly well.
Join Australian Business Traveller as we explore this unique ryokan-style hotel in the heart of Tokyo’s Otemachi district.
Location & Impressions
The Hoshinoya Tokyo is located just a few blocks northwest of Tokyo station – it’s just a 20 minute train ride from Haneda airport to Tokyo station, and then a few minutes from Tokyo station to Otemachi Station on the Marunouchi line, which is directly connected to the hotel underground.
The 17-storey façade of the Hoshinoya Tokyo is grand without being over the top...
...and features a tree-adorned courtyard that’s set back from the street.
With the Imperial Palace to the east, and Tokyo’s bustling financial district to the west, the Hoshinoya captures elements of both landmarks remarkably well, and sets the tone for what you can expect inside.
As soon as the door of the hotel is opened, you’re greeted by a doorman in traditional Japanese dress. Just like in a ryokan, your shoes are removed and placed into wooden boxes, and throughout the hotel you’ll see tatami mats instead of carpeting – not exactly your typical hotel experience.
Despite its focus on providing a traditional ryokan experience, the Hoshinoya Tokyo doesn’t forget about the needs of business travellers – check-in staff are helpful and efficient, and the concierge is more than willing to help arrange bookings and answer questions.
The Hoshinoya offers three room types, with Sakura rooms located near the lounges on each level (more on that below)...
...and Yuri rooms occupying the corner positions for more privacy, with similar layouts and decor to the Sakura rooms.
These room types range in size from 41 – 49sqm, which is definitely more than we’re used to in central Tokyo hotels.
For those requiring more space, the Kiku rooms have double the space and occupy south-facing positions to take advantage of the natural light.
Our Kiku room is large by any standard, but it’s especially large for Tokyo, with 83sqm of space. Natural elements are combined with simple, solid colours to create a space that’s relaxing and that suits the personality of the hotel. Just like the rest of the hotel, there is tatami matting throughout. While the room itself is large, it feels even more spacious thanks to the uncluttered décor – our room features a lounge sofa...
...a well-sized dining table...
...and a small desk...
...in addition to the bed.
The windows feature Shoji screens for extra privacy without losing out on the natural light, and there’s also a rolling screen to help block out light if you need a snooze.
There's also a simple-to-use strip of buttons next to the bed that helps you control lighting and shutters.
The television is cleverly hidden away behind a mirror when it's not in use...
...and emerges when required.
Our Kiku room also features a large walk-in closet with plenty of room for storing clothes and baggage, and you’ll even find casual kimonos or yukatas for you to wear around the hotel.
The bathroom in the Kiku room is spacious, and features both a walk-in shower...
...and a bathtub.
You'll also find his-and-hers sinks...
...as well as a small upholstered bench to relax on.
Our Kiku room offers guests a large desk and a comfortable chair for catching up on emails, while the dining table is great for working on larger projects with a colleague or two. As is becoming the norm, Internet is fast and free at the Hoshinoya Tokyo.
In previous reviews of Tokyo hotels we’ve discussed how valuable a business lounge or club lounge can be for getting work done – not only does it get you out of the room, but snacks and beverages are taken care of so that you can concentrate on what you’re doing instead. The Hoshinoya Tokyo takes this to another level though, with every floor of the hotel featuring its own lounge where access is restricted to guests staying on that respective floor only.
The concept is a nod to the traditional ochanoma room found in ryokans, which was designed as a communal space for guests to eat and relax.
Each ochanoma on every floor of the Hoshinoya features a library, and multiple desks and sofas. Snacks, teas and specialty beverages are provided here, and it’s very easy to concentrate on what you’re doing in the relaxing surrounds.
While there’s no dedicated business centre, staff in your ochanoma room are more than happy to assist with basic printing and faxing tasks if required.
The Hoshinoya Tokyo offers guests small complimentary breakfasts (depending on the room type and booking) of traditional Japanese fare, including two pieces of onigiri and a bowl of miso soup.
You can also opt for a larger Japanese or Western breakfast at your expense, which will be delivered to your door - we personally found this filling and delicious.
The hotel also houses a highly-regarded French/Japanese fusion restaurant focused on seafood, run by Executive Chef Noriyuki Hamada – easily comparable to a Michelin-starred restaurant, we enjoyed one of the best degustation meals we’ve had at the Hoshinoya Tokyo restaurant, and can highly recommend a visit if you’ve got the time. The restaurant is also open to non-hotel guests, with reservations taken from the first day of every month, two months prior to the planned date.
The Hoshinoya Tokyo also connects to a large restaurant complex, Otemachi Financial City, with a huge selection of dining options including Western and Japanese fare.
While the entire experience of being in the ryokan is relaxing, the rooftop onsen is a great place to unwind even further. The onsen features high walls but an open roof, so that you can see the sky without losing your privacy.
A natural hot spring far beneath the hotel feeds the rooftop onsen, and since it’s open all night you can enjoy a relaxing dip straight after your flight.
The Hoshinoya Tokyo also features a day spa, where you can book massage sessions, oil treatments and other beauty sessions.
Unfortunately the Hoshinoya doesn’t feature an in-house fitness centre or gym. The Spa Otemachi Fitness Club is nearby, however with fees of up to $60 as a single use visitor, it’s on the expensive side.
The Hoshinoya Tokyo is certainly an interesting hotel – the décor, architecture and design are tastefully curated to create a blend of traditional Japanese aesthetics with modern style.
While we personally enjoyed the relaxing nature of the hotel and the ryokan concept, it may not suit everyone. For example, you will have to remove your shoes when entering the hotel, and follow other ryokan rules that can be cumbersome if you’re not used to it.
With that being said, if you want to experience something a little different to your usual business hotel in Tokyo, the Hoshinoya Tokyo is a fantastic choice for those who prefer something quieter and more serene without compromising on location or amenities. Staying at the Hoshinoya also makes the perfect cap to the end of a business trip to Tokyo, especially if you’ve got a day or two up your sleeve.