The UTW (“Under Ten Words”): For business travellers and holidaymakers who crave privacy and quiet.
The must-dos (if any): Enjoy moments in your room.
Intro: I recently spent ten nights at the business hotel The Strings by InterContinental Tokyo, which occupies the 26th to the 32nd floor of Shinagawa East One Tower five minutes’ walk from JR Shinagawa Station, Tokyo. (The titular strings actually refers to the eponymous hotel chain which concurrently operates its own outlets in Tokyo, but has been said to refer to the masses of railway lines in the transport hub that is Shinagawa.) My InterContinental Ambassador membership assisted me with an upgrade to the King Deluxe Room. Unfortunately, this InterContinental property does not have a pool or any club benefits/lounge, and the in-house dining/bar concepts do not possess any particular appeal for casual meals given the ridiculous number of available dining options in Tokyo.
Given that The Strings by InterContinental Tokyo is a business hotel, the room is efficient in its simplicity. The room differs from those at the Singapore InterContinental properties at Bugis as well as Robertson Quay, which are decidedly more old-world opulent and designer respectively, so the use case is definitely not for those who seek stylish Instagrammable moments on holiday.
Apart from a view which overlooks the Shinagawa business district, you can see Tokyo Tower from a distance as well.
A very well-intentioned bear looks down at the titular strings.
The King Deluxe Room.
More of the King Deluxe Room.
In stark contrast to the buzzy mainstream commerciality of ANA InterContinental Tokyo (read more below), The Strings by InterContinental Tokyo is a true business hotel in every sense of the word, with its main clientele being business travellers as opposed to leisure holidaymakers. The lobby floor always maintains a large degree of dignified quiet, with The Dining Room being a popular location of choice for late night dimly-lit dinners as well as discreet day-time business meetings.
I observed the banquet room being used for weddings every weekend day, so the hotel remains as committed to weddings as any other InterContinental property.
Brides make The Strings their destination of choice.
The clientele for the Dining Room is decidedly more professional and/or sophisticated than ANA InterContinental Tokyo’s.
The view of the Dining Room and Bubbles Bar from the elevator.
The 26F gym has a nice view which overlooks the railway tracks below, if you like looking at trains as you run. There is also a Mist Sauna (read: steam room) if you like sweating without exercising.
For the disciplined traveller.
DINING AND BARS
Given the amazing dining scene in Tokyo, I would typically avoid in-hotel dining, and the options and prices of the concepts here (The Dining Room, the main dining/bar concept and China Shadow, a Cantonese concept) do not persuade me to act against my general practice. (Sample item: Stir-fried vermicelli with Singaporean curry sauce – ¥1,800.) For drink-seekers, both The Dining Room and Bubbles Bar (a champagne bar managed in conjunction with Moet) are available for tipples.
Negroni at The Dining Room.
“The Pop of Blue”, a sake-based cocktail that is Bubbles Bar’s signature cocktail.
THE AMBASSADOR BENEFITS
The 2017 InterContinental Ambassador welcome gift at The Strings is either a basket of fruits (right) or various Senbei snacks. TripAdvisor reveals that years ago, a cute The Strings Shinagawa plush bear donning a yukata (which is on sale at the gift shop) was the welcome gift. How things have changed.
The InterContinental Ambassador welcome gift.
The Strings by InterContinental Tokyo is definitely one for business travellers as well as holidaymakers who desire accommodation which is classy yet quiet. The hotel is also conveniently situated along major JR lines as well as lines to both Narita and Haneda Airport. For those seeking a traditional InterContinental experience in Tokyo with club benefits such as access to the Club InterContinental Lounge and its amenities, I have included a brief overview of three other InterContinental properties in Tokyo below.
Would I stay at The Strings by InterContinental Tokyo again? Probably not, if only for the fact that I would like to experience other InterContinental properties. I think InterContinental Tokyo Bay might just be the choice for my next trip.
The Strings by InterContinental Tokyo
26-32/F Shinagawa East One Tower
Minato-ku, Tokyo 108-8282, Japan
Other InterContinental hotels in Tokyo
The UTW (“Under Ten Words”): The InterContinental experience for the international mass market.
Comments: My least favourite of the InterContinental properties in Tokyo, and for one main reason – the hotel sure is crowded. The room boasts a formidable number of rooms and suites, banquet rooms ,wedding and F&B concepts (Michelin star Restaurant! Steak! Sushi! Cantonese cuisine! A Champagne bar!). Coupled with its very central and accessible location in the Roppongi area, the hotel is of such occupancy that the lobby and lower floor areas resemble a Takashimaya basement food hall in its upbeat buzz and human traffic, which drastically undercuts the luxury factor. In line with the marked commercial nature of the property, there is no 2017 InterContinental Ambassador gift to speak of.
ANA InterContinental Tokyo is home to Pierre Gagnaire, a famous Michelin-star restaurant. For those who enjoy in-room cake fun, its related concept Pierre Gagnaire Pains de Gateaux would provide suitable pleasures – the cakes are generally stunningly chic in aesthetic, with my La Panthére Rose resembling something Nicki Minaj (or RuPaul) would front at a pool party with swag. The bar on the 36th floor, Mixx Bar & Lounge, offers a nice view of the city.
The ANA InterContinental Tokyo.
View of the swimming pool from Mixx Bar & Lounge.
Pierre Gagnaire Pains de Gateaux.
La Panthére Rose (strawberry and mascarpone cheese).
Mont Fiji (chestnut).
Negroni at the Mixx Bar & Lounge.
The UTW (“Under Ten Words”): Breezy, azure blue, seaside, classic InterContinental luxury.
The Two Cents: My exploration of the InterContinental Yokohama Grand was brief (I went in to take a poo, and noted that the toilet had a ocean wave soundtrack to drown out your waterfall activities), but from what I managed to observe, much like ANA InterContinental Tokyo (albeit with a posher and less international guest profile), the property stuck closely to the wedding-forward, traditional classic model in terms of its look and feel. The surrounding area (including the shopping centres) is calmingly slow-paced, with the skies and the waters around the property being piercingly, magically blue for a rather beautiful marine-zen experience. (There is even a pier nearby to hear the crashing of waves for lonely emotional moments, complete with an ominous sign warning you to beware of predatory sea birds.)
The UTW (“Under Ten Words”): Bay-side InterContinental luxury.
The Two Cents: Whilst having a similarly international clientele as ANA InterContinental Tokyo, the guests appear to be decidedly more from the West as opposed to the East, and the decibel levels on the ground floor are markedly lower. InterContinental Tokyo Bay is situated a distance away from the nearest JR station (which makes grocery shopping not quite as straightforward), but the consequence is a significantly peaceful and more private InterContinental experience, with shuttle bus services available for guests to travel to key JR interchange stations.
The 2017 InterContinental Ambassador gift here is a special Japanese towel.
InterContinental Tokyo Bay.
The lobby area.
The various dining concepts (French, Italian, Japanese etc) are all situated on the ground floor.
The rooms boast good views of Tokyo Bay…
…As does the Club InterContinental Lounge.