Introducing…the Hyatt Regency Tokyo

Well, I went and got everybody all amped up about the Park Hyatt Tokyo in my last post, but now it’s time to bring you down. I mean that, of course, in the literal sense.

Because if you look down from one of several areas in the Park Hyatt (the pool area provides the best view), you will see off in the distance and down below, the hulking orange brick building that houses the Hyatt Regency Tokyo.  As huge as this building appears up close, the very top of the Hyatt Regency fails to reach even the very bottom of the Park Hyatt.

That is true in the literal sense.  But it is not quite true in the figurative sense.

For starters, access to this building is slightly better than that of the Park.  The shuttle bus is slightly easier to find, but you might not even need it, as it’s a straight walk from the West Exit of Shinjuku station, half of it being a covered walkway past many different shops and restaurants.  The latter half is a fascinating walk through a dystopian vision of the future that thankfully never came to pass;  layers of concrete lattices that would make The Borg proud.

RESISTANCE IS FUTILE. YOU WILL BE ASSIMILATED.

RESISTANCE IS FUTILE. YOU WILL BE ASSIMILATED.

The Century Hyatt Tokyo (as it was known at the time) was completed in 1980, when Japan’s economic miracle was nearing its peak, and a different kind of wealth was on display.  Gone are the days when buildings with giant chandeliers atop eight story atriums were built just for the heck of it…but those days live on in today’s Hyatt Regency Tokyo. In truth, about 90% of the building still looks like it’s stuck in the 80′s.  With the exception of a couple of specific sections, the rooms are in dire need of a makeover (though a makeover wouldn’t change the fact that the base room is about half the size of that in the Park Hyatt).  In particular, the bathtubs look like something your grandmother would look at and say “Yup, time for a little home renewal here.”

This bath looks like it came from my grandmother's house.

This bath looks like it came from my grandmother’s house.

So why on earth would you choose to stay at the Hyatt Regency?  Well, the obvious reason is that you can stay here for only half, or even a third, of the cost of the Park Hyatt.  But there’s also a better reason: because the things that they do well at the Hyatt Regency Tokyo…they do really, really well.

The staff is the old school Japanese type in traditional suits.  They may not be able to make miracles happen like at the Park Hyatt, but they make you feel like a king while they do what they can do.  That goes double if you are a repeat customer and/or a Diamond, but that’s another topic for another time.

For all of the glory and pageantry of the Park Hyatt, there’s one thing missing that the Hyatt Regency Tokyo has: a two star Michelin restaurant in Michel Troisgros, the best French food that I’ve ever had (though I admit that I’ve never been to France…)  But that’s not even my favorite restaurant in the hotel;  that honor goes to the Jade Garden, the Chinese restaurant that conquered my hatred of Chinese food.  Get yourself good and drunk before you go (a task that the Regency Club Lounge evening service is well suited for) so that you can ignore the prices and indulge in the best Chinese food that I’ve ever had (though I admit that I’ve never been to China…no, this will not become a recurring theme!)  And the Japanese restaurants are nothing to sneeze at either…though number three (soon to become number four) on the Tokyo Hyatt hotel rankings, a foodie might very well argue that the Hyatt Regency is actually superior to them all in regards to food.

However… if you’ve got money to blow on a drunken Chinese food orgy, then you also have money to blow on the number one reason to stay at the Hyatt Regency:  the Atrium Suite.  I intend to spend an entire future post talking about the wonderland that is the Atrium Suite (which can be had for half the price of a suite at the Park Hyatt), but if you’re the kind of person that demands immediate gratification and insists on immediately jumping to the end of the book to see how the story ends: the Atrium Suite is really, really cool.

So if you’re stuck in the Tokyo area to do your mattress runs to renew Diamond status and have a DSU to spare (Do what to what with what?  Don’t worry, I’ll get to all of that in more detail in due time as well), then this Hyatt can be a slighter more accessible, slightly closer to the ground level of heaven.  Literally and figuratively.

One more thing I should mention:  while the English ability of the staff at the Park Hyatt was so flawless that I didn’t even bother to think of it, you may encounter some difficulties with an all-English conversation at the Hyatt Regency.  Nothing that you won’t be able to overcome, but enough that you may have some rather…interesting conversations.

Funny how you have to leave the Park Hyatt to actually get lost in translation…