I don’t usually get a chance to stay in 5-Star accommodations when I travel (unless it is sponsored) as most of the time, I rather save the money and spend more and travel but this time round, I kind of got greedy and wanted to end my last vacation (out of 9) in a luxurious and comfortable stay.
For my previous trips to Japan, I’ve stayed in public onsens, capsule hotels, hostels and various airbnbs. This 5-star hotel (more like a serviced apartment) was like a mega upgrade for me. The bed was so comfortable that it was hard to get out of bed in the morning but.. it was fine. Having travelled a little too much for the entire year, I was taking a step back on my usually chiong-ster itinerary.
Well, my trip to Japan last December was super last minute trip and I booked my tickets only 3 weeks prior to the trip.
I was attending an event at Fujisawa (Fujisawa Design Week) as a media. It was supposedly a 2D1N weekend trip but I managed to request for a self-paid extension for the next 3 nights. For the second night, I stayed in a hostel at Kamakura and for the 3rd and 4th night in Tokyo, I.. splurged on this pretty new accommodation (Opening was in March 2017) at Ascott Marunouchi Toyko.
The hotel is located at Marunouchi, a business district of Tokyo (with super tall skyscrapers) and it is also a stone throw from the imperial palace. I love staying near Tokyo Station area as I always take the 1,000Y airport bus to Narita Airport (assuming I fly from here). The bus is at 1/3 of the price in comparison to the train and it guarantees you a place to sit too! The travelling time may be slightly longer but I think it’s fine given the cost savings. (Can you even trust the person who splurged $700-800 for this..)
Apart from being connected to Tokyo Station (via the super complicated underpass which is undergoing renovation works), it is also connected to the Otematchi Station (Tokyo Subway). The hotel’s building also has a dedicated lift from the underpass (Exit C6a) near Tully’s Coffee so it would be convenient if it is raining.
The hotel/service apartment only occupies the 22F to 29F of Otemachi Park Building. This was similar to my stay back in The Strings Intercontinental. I guess it is too expensive for any hotel to use up the whole building. Such multi-function buildings seem to be trendy in recent years. This is the entrance that you should look out for should you be entering via the street level. It was not my first time staying with Ascott (previously was in Shanghai at my friend’s apartment) and it’s nice to see how much effort they spend on the details. I’ll share more about it as we go on.
Took quite a number of photos of practically everything cause everything is so pretty and.. i don’t stay in such places often enough. Sometimes I was kind of worried that I was acting like some country bumpkin with my touristy actions.
Okay, the first cool realization we had was.. the lift. They had this light brighening/darkening function which changes intensity when you go up and down. If I’m not wrong, it appears to be light blue at the bottom and dark blue at the top. It was kind of funny because we thought that we took two different lifts (one had light blue and the other was darker blue). Furthermore, the ‘water droplets’ pattern within the glass made me think that was there some kind of cleaning done halfway or water leakage somewhere.
This was at the lift lobby of the 23F. You can appreciate this work of art while waiting for the lift.
Upon entering the front door, you will be greeted with this hanging art piece.
To see more photos and read more about the art pieces, you can refer to this article by ‘ode to art’.
Beautiful lobby area to rest and relax.
I like it when places are not too crowded. Then again, I believe that this hotel/service apartment caters more to the working crowd so.. by the time I get ready and set off for my day, I would have already ‘missed’ the working crowd. I guess that’s one of the perks of staying in the CBD area – you kind of get a more quiet and peaceful environment.
The best part of checking in that afternoon was that.. THEY ACTUALLY ACCEPTED MY REQUEST FOR HIGH FLOOR + MT FUJI VIEW 😀 In fact, I got the HIGHEST FLOOR + corner unit (which allowed me to see both Tokyo Tower, Imperial Gardens + Mount Fuji). I was super excited about my room as to be honest, the chance of seeing Mt Fuji was 90% of the reason why I decide to splurge on this accommodation. If you’ve been following my posts, I did mention that WINTER TIME is the BEST CHANCE to see Fuji-san from Tokyo and.. I wanted to wake up to Mt Fuji.
Well, in hindsight, there was 1 small thing I thought was a little lacking.
Apart from completing the check-in documentation, there was no staff on standby waiting to escort me to my room. If I didn’t recall wrongly, back in my other atas 5-star stays in The Strings, Sofitel Krabi and I think it was Marriott Bangkok, a staff would accompany us to the room and explain to us on the various offerings (not that I didn’t know or couldn’t read). I didn’t think much about it initially but now that I look back, the lack of ‘communication’ could have made me screw up their washing machine or oven. Thankfully, the friend that was with me knew how to operate the electrical appliances. She even called room service for a humidifier as the air was pretty dry since it was winter. Okay, this part was rather impressive too. I was filling up the bathtub and I was thinking that hmm, the humidifier is taking quite while and the next moment, I turned off the tap and the doorbell rang. I would love/choose to believe that the poor guy was already standing outside our room but knowing that we may not hear the doorbell due to the noise from the water filling up of the bathtub (It was relatively distracting), he chose to wait for us before ringing the doorbell. Okay, maybe I think too much but.. the “ding-dong” really rang immediately after I turned off the tap.
This was my view while lying down on the bed. There’s actually a painting/wallpaper on the ceiling! That’s why I said earlier that they pay a lot of attention to the details. I don’t recall any other hotels that I’ve stayed in bother to dress up the ceiling. I actually stoned in bed for quite a bit on the last morning, staring and appreciating this tiny detail.
That’s the thing about having such a comfortable living space. It was such a struggle to get out of bed and explore the city. The mattress and blankets were so inviting that I just wanted to sleep more. It was the same when we were staying in Ascott Shanghai. My friend’s bed was so comfortable that we didn’t really want to move. Haha.
As it was a serviced apartment, there were cooking facilities together with a Nespresso Machine, ironing board, washing machine cum dryer too.
Plus, the in-room slippers were so comfy that my friend took the extras back with her.
Here’s the bath tub which we bought a bubble bath bomb from Lush for.
Note: Lush is cheaper in Japan so don’t forget to check it out!
L’OCCITANE toiletries! I really love them <3
They even refilled our entire set the following day even though we didn’t open them all. In the end, we both had extras to bring home!
When I first reached the room, the view outside was pretty foggy and I couldn’t see Mt Fuji but I was certain that it was the correct direction as the photo that I found on Instagram (with Mt Fuji view) showed the imperial palace too. I didn’t really lose much hope at that moment cause I know Fuji-san sighting is usually in the morning.
1st Night View: We noticed a lot of blinking red lights on the sky scrappers of Tokyo.
According to the TripAdvisor forums, this is a likely answer:
There are heliports lights as well as aircraft (including helicopters) warning lights. Haneda Airport is close to Tokyo and they fly quite acrobatically, avoiding tall buildings (recognize that there are no tall buildings in Odaiba area).
As we had the corner room, we had two window views and here’s one with Tokyo Tower.
The next morning, I set my alarm for 6:30am and I was greeted with.. the moon. Note: It was super moon two nights ago on 3rd December. I guess in winter, the moon-set and sunrise is generally later than usual.
I woke up to set up my tripod for this time lapse. Focus on how the moon fades out in the starting few frames and then the visibility strengthens after the sunrise, allowing Fuji-san to be seen.
Yes – I brought my tripod for my trip. In fact, I carried it with me in Endoshima and only used it during sunset at the Sea Candle.
Behind the scenes: me (lying in bed) watching my Tripod, Canon S120 and Fuji-san.
This was what I paid for.. Fuji-san from my window. I really love the windows in the room. But of course, I would have loved it even more if they didn’t have that divider. Then again, why am I complaining.. it’s good enough already.
Final Morning @ 6:43am (I almost didn’t wake up cause I snoozed away my first alarm without even realising..)
The moon at 7:13am.
Fuji-san at 7:14am
Fuji-san at 8:07am
Right before we checked-out @ 12:05pm, Fuji-san could no longer be seen so.. I’m showcasing my Royal Milk Tea from Tully’s Coffee. Apparently. this was the only photo I took at that timing and I had nothing of the outside. I guess it was probably the same scenery as the day before.
The Other Facilities
The beautiful and new gym.. which I didn’t bring any clothes or shoes for =/
The powder room + bathing area. Super sleek looking and the best thing of it all is that.. it was empty!
I.. still have some concerns about this swimming pool (though I’ve not stepped a foot into it). To me, it looks like.. a giant fish tank with that extra glass panel.
The pool size: 1.2 m X 8.5 m X 2.8 m. Well, swimming 8.5m is like about 6 to 8 strokes? I have no idea what is the utility factor of the pool, beyond aesthetics. It could potentially be good for a nice photo worthy spot but I don’t see how anyone will want to swim in it as a form of exercise. hmm..
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Well, despite spending a bomb, I managed to meet my one and only objective and target for the trip – to see Mt Fuji from my window. To be honest, it was also another ‘instagram brought me here’ location as I booked this place after seeing someone posting a photo of Fuji-san from the hotel window and I was like oh my gawd, I want it too. As I grow older, I seem to be making more decisions base on impulse rather than conscious budget planning but.. I guess it’s fine right? I mean it’s worthwhile to pamper myself once in a while and.. I just hope that my wallet grows fast enough for me to increase the occurrence =p
It’s pretty rare that I do a blog post on one single accommodation so hopefully this article does well and I’ll keep writing more of such posts!