In December 2018, I checked into the King Suite Bay Corner at Conrad Tokyo, which is located in the heart of the modern business district Shiodome. Overlooking the historic Hamarikyu Garden as well as soaring skyscrapers, the 290-room hotel is minutes away from both Shiodome Station – a stop on the Yurikamome line which connects you to nearby Odaiba, the popular island entertainment destination in Tokyo Bay – as well as Shimbashi Station, which connects to JR and metro lines.
The UTW (“Under Ten Words”): Elegant, calm business hotel sophistication in Shiodome.
The must-dos (if any): Take a swim in the indoor pool and use the spa facilities, have a cocktail or afternoon tea at TwentyEight, enjoy the Executive Lounge experience.
The hotel occupies the 28th to 37th floors of a skyscraper in Shiodome, with lead-in rooms starting at 48sqm (certainly spacious for a Japanese property). As you make your way towards the elevators which will bring you up to the hotel lobby, your olfactory senses will be immediately aroused by the arrestingly distinctive Bottega Veneta fragrance which permeates the ground floor lobby (a scent familiar to any former guest of The Fullerton Hotel Singapore) and sets the stage early for your upcoming experience of luxurious sophistication.
The hotel houses five distinct dining concepts, costume jewelry boutique ABISTE, a fitness centre equipped with treadmills, weights and an aerobics studio, as well as an elegant and very inviting 25-metre heated indoor pool which holds infinite possibilities for meditative zen and tension-charged romance.
Mizuki Spa offers Japanese-style treatments using local essential oils, with jacuzzi, steam room and sauna facilities available to all adult hotel guests. Unlike other Japanese properties, the hotel is not too fussed about guests having to partake in the traditional Japanese bathing ritual – think mandatory nudity, stool seating and wooden buckets – or be entirely naked whilst using the aquatic facilities. Clutching my conservative manpearls, I shyly retired (in swimming shorts) into one of the four jacuzzi pods, which are partitioned from one another for greater privacy. It was quite a memorable, human hotpot-esque jacuzzi experience, with the formidable high-power jets feeling as though they were assaulting you from every direction, hitting areas you never realised existed.
My pod faced the entrance of the sauna, which led to my incidental observation that whilst Japanese men would generally shroud their dignity with a bath towel as they moved about, the unfettered movements of Caucasian males bring to mind the lyrics of a Katy Perry song.
KING BAY SUITE CORNER
Overlooking the green and orange mushroom-esque expanse of the Royal Hamarikyu Garden as well as the calm waters of Tokyo Bay through floor-to-ceiling windows, the 85sqm King Bay Suite Corner plays it all dignifiedly mature in its Japanese woodiness and motifs, neutral colours and lantern-inspired lighting. The living room features a work station, couch and dining table, while the pantry is equipped with a Nespresso machine, traditional tea-making facilities, a well-stocked minibar with various beverages and snacks as well as a predominantly whisky-centric spirit selection. A seasonal Conrad mascot bear awaits guests on the bed.
The white tile-walled bathroom features double vanities with a large backlit mirror, an enclosed bathtub area which plays like something from the set of Saw 4 (no eyelids would have be batted if Jigsaw appeared on the television screen rasping, “Would you like to play a game?”), as well as a separate rainfall shower stall. Amenities are from Shanghai Tang (not unlike Conrad Centennial Singapore), although complimentary facial products from French cosmetic and high-end treatment brand Omnisens are also available upon request via the Conrad Concierge on the Hilton Honors app. (Speaking of Conrad Concierge, I also ordered a diffuser with lavender essential oils via the app, which facilitated a very good night’s sleep.)
Breakfast is served at Collage and Cerise, which exist as two distinct concepts within one large space after breakfast hours. The former is a modern fine French dining restaurant whilst the latter is the hotel’s all-day casual dining concept, with guests having to pass through the latter to access the former. Whilst Cerise plays it more warm and orange in its vibes, the very brightly lit and Nordic-white Collage is decidedly more elegant in its countenance, being blessed with a wondrously high ceiling and floor-to-ceiling windows.
The buffet spread covers the usual continental breakfast suspects, ranging from juices, pastries and Western breakfast to dim sum, congee, cooked snapper slices and fishcakes. There is also an a la carte menu available, with highlights including the Japanese-style Natto and Shiitake Mushroom Omelette with Bonito and Seaweed Sauce and Hokkaido Butter Milk Pancakes with Macadamia Cream.
Kazahana is a modern Japanese concept offering specialty kaiseki and teppan menus whilst China Blue serves modern Cantonese cuisine, with both enjoying the same ceiling and window-blessed DNA as Collage and offering breathtaking views of Hamarikyu Garden and Tokyo Bay. Elsewhere, TwentyEight is the hotel’s lobby lounge which is equally famed for both their afternoon tea as well as their live music-soundtracked libation experience.
Located on the 37th floor, the decidedly Japanese-influenced Executive Lounge – think traditional pottery, bonzai plants and Japanese artwork – serves all-day refreshments as well as breakfast, afternoon tea and evening canapes and cocktails. Whilst the lounge is bright and cheery in the day, the space is bathed in a warm and cosy glow once night falls, with a spell-binding rock fireplace taking centre stage (a similar one features at the entrance of TwentyEight).
The evening canapes and cocktail presentation is very, very good. Instead of rehashing the same generic dishes on a rotational basis like some hotels do, the lounge instead showcases choice items from the hotel’s different restaurant concepts, with the China Blue dishes leaving a strong impression. As per Conrad standards, the extensive alcohol selection is commendably reliable, with a spotlight on local whisky, plum wine and gin.
I must take this opportunity to compliment the excellent service I experienced. During breakfast at Collage on the second day of my stay, I was presented with a purple origami swan which seemed to be an identifier for Hilton Honors Diamond members, as I then started receiving very personalized attention, with the very warm and well-spoken restaurant manager going as far as to escort me to the elevator whilst I was on my way out.
I had seen a Halloween edition Conrad Tokyo mascot bear on Instagram, and during the check-out process at the Executive Lounge, I shared how it would have made an awesome collectable. The manager on duty actually offered to go down to the front desk to retrieve one of their remaining Halloween bears in stock for me as a goodbye gift. (He wasn’t Japanese.) It was an excellent showing of the high standard of hospitality and service that I have come to associate with the Conrad brand, and I was very impressed.
Conrad Tokyo is known to be one of the more pricey properties in Tokyo, but this experience clarifies that this is with good reason. The high dining standards, commendable facilities, convenient location and impressive service makes the hotel highly recommended.
Minato-ku, Higashi-Shinbashi 1-9-1
Tokyo 105-7337, Japan