Inside…the Grand Hyatt Tokyo Club Deluxe Corner Queen Room

May 30th, 2014

Although the Park Hyatt Tokyo and Hyatt Regency Tokyo seem to receive a bigger share of my focus thus far, the experience that made me most proud and happy to be a Tokyo Hyatt Fan happened at the Grand Hyatt Tokyo.

It happened about a year and a half ago during a two night stay.  It was the New Years holiday, and I was already feeling proud for booking the stay with a Stay Certificate, the gone-but-fondly-remembered Hyatt gimmick of selling certificates to stay at a certain category of hotel at a flat rate, as it turned out to be nearly half off the going rate for those dates.  The experience was enhanced by being a Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond member, which allowed us access to the excellent Grand Club for free breakfast, hors d’oeuvres, and refreshments (definitely a subject of a future blog post in and of itself)  A Diamond member is also supposed to get the best available room below suite level, but due to lack of any availability the first night, we had to squeeze into our regularly scheduled Grand Twin room.  Which was perfectly fine, as we were just happy to be at such a place as opposed to eating cold Osechi.

The next morning, while eating breakfast in the lounge and using the free iPads they have for use, I decided to do a search for availability for the current day.  And that’s when my jaw dropped.

They had THE ROOM!!

The room of legend that I had fallen in love with since the first time that I laid eyes on it at Flyertalk: the Deluxe Club Corner Queen.

It is a room of great mystery, for although it is advertised on the hotel website, there is only one such room, and it is almost never available, because it is marketed as a connecting room to the Presidential Suite, both of which are the only rooms occupying the 21st floor.  It is also the only room not pictured on the hotel website, as the hotel uses an incorrect picture of the inferior Deluxe Club Corner King instead.

It is a room that mere mortals are not supposed to have.  But there it was, beckoning me to come hither.

Quickly I grabbed the most competent of the very competent club staff, showed him the availability, and said “That’s mine, dawg!”  Okay, what I actually said had a bit more groveling, but I did mention that a Diamond member is guaranteed the best available room, and this was clearly the best available room!  He was non-committal, but told me to give him some time.

Back in my room 45 minutes later, the staff called me back and said that they would be happy to move us in about 30 minutes!  This was it!  We haphazardly packed in about 5 minutes, I paced around for what seemed like 11 days until finally the bell rang with the bellman to move us a little bit closer to heaven.

The first thing he did was give us new cards and show us the proper way of using them to access OUR PRIVATE FLOOR!  When we got out of the elevator, we noticed that our private floor had a very special entrance:

SN3M1262

Five meter high ceiling!

Turning around to head towards our room…

Pay no attention to the doofus in the background.

Pay no attention to the doofus in the reflection.

As we made a right and down the hallway, I could see housekeeping cleaning inside of the Presidential Suite on the left.  To this day, one of my biggest regrets is not barging into the room and shouting “CAN WE PLEASE HAVE A TOUR!?”, instead of sneaking around to get a terrible picture that reveals almost nothing.

Smooth, Tokyo Hyatt Fan.  Real smooth.

Smooth, Tokyo Hyatt Fan. Real smooth.

But I guess this room is closer to my level anyway:

Ask for it by name!

Ask for it by name!

Even though we had already received a Diamond amenity on our previous day, this room also came with six strawberries, apparently a special amenity for this room alone.

I'll spare you the obvious joke about forbidden fruit.

I’ll spare you the obvious joke about forbidden fruit.

As I’ve said before, I don’t like to give away too much of the experience in pictures, as I’d prefer that you enjoyed these things in the flesh.  But you may never have the chance to visit this room, and I just cannot resist the opportunity to show off MY PRIVATE ROCK GARDEN IN THE GRAND HYATT TOKYO!

It was not much above freezing, but I still spent hours out there!

If you could scale that wall, you would be in the Presidential Suite’s private heated pool.

It was not much above freezing, but I still spent hours out there!

Though I never got a picture of it active, there’s a fountain in the middle of those rocks that goes on and off automagically at certain times in the day.  And when I wasn’t standing out there admiring it, I was admiring it from the bath.

Now you know where the title picture comes from. And what my swimsuit looks like.

Now you know where the title picture comes from. And what my swimsuit looks like.

It’s a great room in and of itself, with a nice view of the Tokyo Tower from the odd skinny windows in front of the bed, but it is the private garden that dominates the feel of this room, and gave me the feeling of being an undeserving big shot on top of the world.

Melon beach ball not included. But you can get the extra bed if you like.

Melon beach ball not included. But you can get the extra bed if you like.

And lest you think the room is too small compared to the suites, as the Presidential Suite remained unoccupied, the entire 21st floor was our own private space.

I cannot promise that the melon beach ball did not make an appearance here.

I cannot promise that the melon beach ball did not make an appearance here.

It was with a heavy heart, and many fond memories, that we packed up and left the next day.  But not before I promised myself that, somehow, some way, I’d find a way to see what was in that other room.

Tune in next time, when Tokyo Hyatt Fan starts a Kickstarter fund to review the Presidential Suite! (or not…)

 

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New Years Eve 2014 at a Tokyo Hyatt Hotel

May 28th, 2014

I may be in the minority, but I can think of few better ways of ringing in the new year than safely within the busom of a Tokyo Hyatt hotel.  As of today, all four of the metro-Tokyo area Hyatt hotels are still available for booking via the Hyatt website (availability has yet to be made available for Hyatt Regency Hakone Resort and Spa;  if it does open up, it will likely be even more expensive than any of the Tokyo hotels).  Here is the current breakdown of rates for two adults for a one night stay on New Years Eve, courtesy of the Tokyo Hyatt Power Search tool:

Hyatt Regency Tokyo: 

The lowest published rate for a King, Queen, or Twin Room is the Advance Purchase rate of 30200 yen.  Breakfast for two can be included for an additional 4000 yen.  This is a fully prepaid, non-refundable rate though, which is a non-starter for me.  The lowest price rate with free cancellation up to 2pm December 30th is the Hyatt Daily Rate at 37000 yen.

If you are a Costco member, you can use Corporate Code 13365 to bring the refundable rate down to 33600 yen.  Be sure to have your Costco membership card with you upon check-in, as they do verify this!

But the best option may be to use your Hyatt Gold Passport points, as award availability still exists for only 12000 points.  Even if you don’t have any points at this time, they are currently on sale until the end of the month, and 12100 points can be purchased for only $264 USD.  If you are not a Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond member, you can also upgrade to a Club Room and receive Regency Club access for an additional 5000 points.

Grand Hyatt Tokyo:

The lowest published rate for a Grand King or Grand Twin room is 61000 yen for the Hyatt Daily Rate, which offers free cancellation until 2pm December 24th.  The Costco discount is not applicable on this date, but award availability is open for 25000 points.  During the current sale, 25300 points can be purchased for $546 USD.

Andaz Tokyo Toranomon Hills:

The lowest published rate for an Andaz King or Andaz Twin room is 70000 yen for the Andaz Rate, which is a fully prepaid rate, but offers free cancellation until 2pm December 24th.  The Costco discount is available, which brings the rate down to 63000 yen and offers the same prepaid/cancellation terms as the Andaz Rate.  Award availability still exists for New Years Eve, at the same 25000 point rate as the Grand Hyatt.

Park Hyatt Tokyo:

The lowest published rate for a Park Deluxe King or Park Deluxe Twin room is 72000 yen for the Hyatt Daily rate, which offers free cancellation until 1pm December 24th.  Unfortunately, the method of forcing guaranteed availability for a base room doesn’t work because this is a special exemption night.  Costco discounts are not valid at Park Hyatt hotels, and award availability doesn’t exist on account of there being no base rooms available, so this is best that we can do for the time being.

In addition to the above, there is also the new Points + Cash program that could potentially save you a great deal of money, but you will have to call Hyatt directly to check availability on that.

None of these rates are what we could call a great deal, but there’s still over seven months until New Years Eve, and rates and availability can (and will) change many times during that period.  If you absolutely have your heart set on staying during any one of these nights, I would suggest making a refundable booking now, bookmarking the links that you can create with the tool, and just keep on refreshing every now and then until something better pops up.  Persistence is rewarded in the hotel booking game!

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Special Offers at the Grand Hyatt Tokyo

May 27th, 2014

Out of all of the Hyatt hotels in Tokyo, I believe that the Grand Hyatt Tokyo offers the most interesting special offers, stays that come with things other than room and board.  While my normal mode of operation is to strictly look for the best value rates, for the Grand Hyatt alone, I will always check out the Offers page on their website.  And every now and then, I will find something that entices me to pay more to get more.

The first special offer that I ever booked was the “Wa Ginger Stay” a little over a year and a half ago, which offered two special features with the stay.  First off was a special ginger drink in the Maduro Bar.  I’m generally a teetotaler, and wouldn’t normally step foot inside of such an establishment, so it was kind of interesting venturing out of my comfort zone to figuratively let my hair down. It was a very vibrant place, full of banker types boasting about their financial conquests that morning, and chatting up ladies for a different type of conquest later that night…

If you’re into that sort of thing, the place apparently also has an excellent cigar bar with the finest Cubans money can buy, but you’ll have to ask Tokyo Cigar Fan to verify that.

I wish I had thought to take a picture of my drink at the time, but here’s something similarly fruity that they serve:

Gives you a buzz and 50% of your daily requirement of Vitamin C.

Gives you a buzz and 50% of your daily requirement of Vitamin C.

But the main attraction of the Wa Ginger Stay was the Nagomi Ginger Massage in the Nagomi Spa.  I was really looking forward to experiencing my first ever massage, and the masseuse didn’t disappoint, delivering heavenly bliss far beyond even that of an Aesop shampooing…with the added bonus of smelling like ginger ale for hours after.  Unfortunately, I just cannot reconcile spending 18,000 yen on a luxury like that for myself, so I am grateful that this rate compelled me to pay for these services in advance and force me to experience things that I wouldn’t otherwise get myself to do.

The other special rate that I purchased was the Harry Potter Summer Stay rate, when the Harry Potter exhibition came through Tokyo last year.  I live close enough that I could have just gone on my own, but the lure of another night at the Grand Hyatt, the ease of the five minute commute to and from the Mori Art Museum where the event was being held, and the special tickets that came with the rate that would allow us to bypass the crowds and reservation times convinced me to just leave all the planning to the good folks at Hyatt.  And they did not disappoint, not only delivering on all that was promised, but surprising us with a special souvenir waiting on our bed when we returned to our room.

The “Wa Ginger Stay” has been slightly retooled, and is now known as the “Summer Well-Being Stay“.  The drink in the bar has been replaced by a special healthy room-service breakfast, which makes it even more appealing to me.  But what really peaks my interest is the new “Horse Riding Experience” stay, that includes a horse riding experience at the historic Tokyo Riding Club, and a special hamburger lunch at the Oak Door restaurant.  I have no idea whether I’d enjoy riding a horse…but if the Grand Hyatt has gone out of the way to set this up, then who am I to doubt their learned opinion?

Just as the Park Hyatt got this dude to enjoy washing his hair, the Grand Hyatt got this control freak to let go and enjoy whatever they wanted to offer me.  So before your next stay, do yourself a favor before you click on that My Elite Rate;  check out the their Offers page and see what else they have to offer besides lodging!

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Introducing…the Grand Hyatt Tokyo (at last)

May 21st, 2014

I’ve been trying for the longest time to think of a way to describe the Grand Hyatt Tokyo on its own merits, but my strongest impression remains the differences between the Park and the Regency.  So I’ve decided to just go with that.

To me, the Park Hyatt Tokyo and the Hyatt Regency Tokyo are two sides of the same coin.  Both hotels were intended to be elegant escapes for well-heeled old money, and both are in the same relatively isolated sections of the city.  While the Park has avoided the pratfalls of its successor and still lives up to its intended role, the Regency’s dated dreams of grandeur burst with the economic bubble of the 80′s.  However, the Regency has successfully reinvented themselves as a champion of the people, providing quality lodging and excellent service at an affordable price, giving normal people a taste of the old money class.

The Grand Hyatt Tokyo is a completely different coin.

For starters, the Grand is located in the new Roppongi Hills complex, a city in the sky that never sleeps, and is the symbol of Tokyo’s new money.  You don’t go to Roppongi Hills to get away from life, you go to Roppongi Hills to be thrown smack dab in the middle of it.  From the finest shops, to the finest bars and restaurants, to the finest movies (where the stars themselves occasionally come to do PR work), there’s never a dull moment for the person that never sleeps.

A single picture cannot do Roppongi Hills justice. But this is pretty just the same.

A single picture cannot do Roppongi Hills justice. But this is pretty just the same.

But, for the person that does sleep, there is the Grand Hyatt Tokyo.

Centrally located in the middle of the complex, the Grand Hyatt tries not to blend in, but to make you take notice.  In the spacious lobby, wood, rock, and marble all join forces to impart an aura of power and confidence.  A salesman cannot walk through this hotel and not leave with the impression that the next big sale is right around the corner for the taking.

The self-confidence of this hotel manifests itself in its other facilities as well.  While the Park and Regency try to impress with rooftop pools and windows inviting you to look at Tokyo from above, the pool in the Grand Hyatt’s Nagomi Spa complex draws you into its own esoteric environment, forged of rare red granite.  Not content with a blasé rectangular pool, the circular jacuzzi juts into the swimming area, giving the whole thing the peculiar design of a small letter d.  While the chairs at the Park Hyatt Tokyo are designed for maximal comfort, any comfort you experience in a Grand Hyatt Tokyo pool chair is purely coincidental, though the enhanced feng shui might make up for it.

There is a rooftop pool at this hotel, but it is for the exclusive use of one group:  the guests of the Presidential Suite.  While the Park Hyatt’s Presidential Suite excels with the highest quality furnishings and its own private butler (and the Regency seemingly gives up on making its Presidential Suite special, focusing on the more accessible Atrium Suites instead), the Grand Hyatt goes in a completely different direction with private gardens and an outdoor heated pool (the only suite with its own pool in all of Tokyo), all on its own private floor.  While the Park Hyatt’s Presidential Suite is a discrete place to pamper those that have known wealth all their life, the Grand Hyatt is the place to go to skinny dip and nakedly scream “I HAVE MONEY!” at the world.

(Again, I must humbly admit that I have no first hand experience with any Presidential Suite.  But if Hyatt would like to offer me a chance to perform an unbiased review of these rooms [or even a heavily biased review], I would grudgingly accept their offer.)

And I guess that, in a nutshell, is the difference I feel between the Grand Hyatt and the other two currently existing Tokyo Hyatt hotels.  While the others make me relaxed and comfortable, everything about this one gets me all amped up to take on the world.  That’s not to say that you can’t relax at the Grand Hyatt (this is the only one of the Tokyo Hyatt hotels where I’ve experienced a massage, and the experience was possibly the closest I’ve ever come to achieving a state of nirvana), but it is really designed to be enjoyed by those that take life by the throat and shake it down for all it’s worth.

Going to the Park and Regency feels like going home.  Going to the Grand feels like going on a great adventure.

There are a lot of things that I want to talk about with regards to this hotel in more detail going forward, such as the aforementioned massage and spa facilities, the truly excellent food and staff of the Grand Club Lounge that competes for my attention with The Oak Door and many other fabulous restaurants (that themselves must compete with many other great restaurants just a few steps away), and some of the many, many things to see and do within the complex.  Most of all, I’m looking forward to talking about the greatest non-suite room in all of Tokyo;  the elusive Club Deluxe Corner Queen.

But I spend more time at home than on adventures, so this is still my least familiar of the Tokyo Hyatt hotels.  If there’s something I’m missing or selling short, please let me know!

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Introducing…the Grand Hyatt Tokyo…another time

May 10th, 2014

The Park Hyatt Tokyo and Hyatt Regency Tokyo are two hotels seem to occupy the two extremes of my affection for Hyatt:  aspirational luxury and dependable, comfortable service.  But I find the Grand Hyatt Tokyo to be a little bit harder to classify and compare to the two.

In fact, while it was easy for me to find the words to describe those hotels, I am finding it so hard to find words that satisfy me that I’m having difficulty coming up with this post, so I think I will need to have a longer think about it and come back to this when inspiration strikes.

For now, I refer you to Quirrow & Mail, who has written a nice review of his experiences at this hotel, though his overall opinion remains slightly different from mine.

Writing is hard! I think I need to exercising my writing brain a bit more before tackling this again…

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