To say Tokyo has abundant hotel choices is truly an understatement. When it comes to my preferred choice, Hyatt has five properties in Tokyo. In looking at their locations, prices, availability, and brand within the Hyatt umbrella, I chose the Hyatt Regency Tokyo. For my taste I prefer a Grand Hyatt over a Regency property, but the location of the Regency won me over. It turned out to be the right choice location-wise, though in many other ways it was a disappointing stay. You’ll find out why in this Hyatt Regency Tokyo hotel review.
I had a very smooth and easy travel day from the states to Japan. After arriving at Narita I opted for the bus into Tokyo because it made a direct stop at the Hyatt Regency. However, even on a weekend night, that’s still a two hour ride. Seeing that large Hyatt Regency sign as we pulled up to the front entrance was a welcome relief.
Once inside, the Hyatt Regency doesn’t really have anything unique or particularly interesting to show for its lobby or entry way. It’s a large high-ceiling space with huge chandeliers, and a few shops and restaurants off to the side with the check-in desk way in the rear of the building. I felt the lobby design shows how old the hotel is.
History of the Hyatt Regency Tokyo
I sat down late one afternoon and had a lovely visit with Mr. Masataka Tobe, the hotel front office manager. He has been with Hyatt for 23 years, and front office manager for the past four years. This property opened in 1980 as the Century Hyatt Tokyo. It is the oldest Hyatt in Japan. In 2007 it became the Hyatt Regency Tokyo and went through a major renovation.
The hotel is a franchise hotel, which means it is not under the corporate Hyatt umbrella. The ownership is a Japanese group that owns other hotels, though not another Hyatt. As an aside, this property is the only Hyatt in Tokyo not under corporate management.
While the typical hotel guest was once here for business, now it is typically more a tourist hotel. Mr. Tobe mentioned that 80% of the guests are foreigners, with Americans and Chinese as the major visitors, though during my stay I did not see many Americans at all. The average guest from abroad stays three nights and the Japanese guests average one night per stay.
Check-in Process Needs Improvement
Upon arrival at the hotel, check-in was relatively smooth. A few things bothered me, though. This was the first time all year, including my stays at Hyatt Place properties, where the front desk person did not thank me for being a Globalist. As is usually the case when I check in at hotels, especially overseas, I am asked how my flight or travel day has been. Nothing in the way of a welcome from him, and for a Hyatt property this seemed like a miss.
The few questions he did ask me made it sound like they had not preassigned me a room, which I knew couldn’t be the case. He was quite nervous during the whole check-in process. Maybe he is new at this position, I have no idea, but it was an awkward first impression of the hotel.
In general, the front desk staff did not speak English very well. I discussed this with Mr. Tobe, since he is the front office manager. He acknowledged this as an aspect of service at the hotel that needs to be addressed. He shared with me that he has received this feedback from other guests as well.
My Room Assignment
I was told I was assigned a room facing the park and Mt. Fuji, which is an upgrade from the low floor city view. As a Globalist, this was one of the few Hyatt hotels this year where I did not score an upgraded room beyond the view being upgraded, so for me it was a unique experience to stay in a standard room. There was a fruit plate welcome amenity in my room. A few pieces were over-ripe and not edible, but the papaya and apple were tasty. I love fruit so don’t get me wrong. If it’s provided and edible, I’ll eat it.
I do wish, however, that hotels would pay more attention to the fruit they provide as an amenity because it’s so wasteful to provide fruit that’s not edible. This same issue came up earlier this year at the Park Hyatt Aviara.
I didn’t care much for the room or the furnishings. Let’s dig in to the particulars.
For my stay I used the World of Hyatt cash and points rate. I booked this hotel long before Hyatt gutted its cash and points rates program, so my rate was 6000 Hyatt points and $76 per night. The all-cash rate at the Hyatt Regency was $343 a night. When I opt for all cash rates at hotels, I always let Pruvo monitor those rates for price drops. The points and cash rate if booked at that rate now would be 6000 points and $163 per night.
This is not a property that benefited from Hyatt’s new system of charging half the cash rate when using points and cash. I checked many nights over the course of a year and couldn’t find any rate even close to the $76 per night using cash and points. Please note that at this hotel, only rooms on the Club floors receive access to the Club Lounge. Of course, Globalist Hyatt members are given Club Lounge access.
Using my Hotel Room Scorecard I broke down the individual elements of my Standard Room at the Hyatt Regency Tokyo, which scored a 27 of 40 points.
The location of the Hyatt Regency is what made me opt for this property to begin with. You may or may not know that Tokyo is huge and very spread out. The public transportation system works wonderfully well and the hotel is right next to a metro stop. You can cover a lot of ground using the metro, but I prefer to walk as much as possible. I wanted to be within walking distance of the parks as well as the general areas of Shinjuku and its surrounding districts and neighborhoods. You can get to the Tokyo action without this hotel being in the thick of things. For me that’s an ideal combo.
The room had a window facing west, and being on a high floor it received good natural light. There was good overhead lighting as well as a floor lamp and bedside lamps. The bathroom had three levels of lights and the entrance way was well lit, too.
Window Access (4/5)
I was disappointed that the window did not open. I had a pleasant view of the park across the street and even caught sight of Mt. Fuji! It was good, though, that for a city hotel there actually weren’t any buildings facing my side of the hotel, so it felt like no one could look in and I was able to keep if not windows open, at least the curtains open.
Bed Comfort (2/5)
The bed was too hard for me, as usually is the case throughout Asia. In fact, this was the second most hard bed of all Asian hotels. As much as I love the Park Hyatt in Seoul, that bed takes the top spot in the hardest bed ever category. I spend quite a bit of time in Asia so I really do need to do some research as to the hard bed custom. It’s not simply that mattresses are put on wooden platforms. It has to be something in the construction of the mattresses as well. I tried a few different pillows from the hotel pillow menu. Some of them were OK, but I didn’t find one I liked beyond OK.
Let’s start with one of the worst bathroom design features I’ve ever seen. There was a step up to get into the bathroom. How many of us have a step UP in the bathrooms in our homes? It’s such a weird bathroom entrance feature, and I can only imagine the number of toes that end up either bruised or broken from this awkward design.
I’m of average height and found the sink height to be very low and the sink itself very shallow. There’s a tub and a separate shower stall. The shower had great water pressure.
The toilet was by the room entry way, and of course, being in Japan the toilet was a Toto Washlet with a bidet.
While I love a Toto Washlet in a hotel room, the toilet was in a very small cramped space. The oddest feature was that the only full length mirror in the room was just opposite the toilet. If you don’t shut the toilet door you’ll have an interesting view!
Interior Appointments and Furnishings (2/5)
Let’s start with the carpet. It’s old and stained in a few places. I really dislike coming into a hotel room and finding carpet stains.
The room also had a slightly musty smell. There was a small table by the window with one old nicked up chair. The only other chair in the room was a desk chair and though the bed was hard, the desk chair was even harder. There was room for another table chair so I don’t see why the room only had one table chair.
If I could get Hyatt’s attention I would plead with them to put coat racks, or at the very least a few hooks in the entry way to their rooms. In this particular hotel room, as you entered the room there was a small empty space in front of the mirror. Perfect for a coat rack or some hooks. It’s winter, it rains, we wear coats, we need places to hang our coats and take off our shoes. Does Hyatt’s room design team not understand this?
There was very little artwork, which I liked about the room. Because everyone’s taste in artwork can vary so much, I like quiet walls.
Plugs and outlets were plentiful and well-placed throughout the room. There were no outlets near the beds. The desk had universal plugs and USB charging ports. The plugs were adequate in number, rather than plentiful. There are not a lot of outlets but they were placed in convenient areas around the room.
Snack and Minibar (3/5)
The counter space above the minbar was small and dark. It was strange that there was not an outlet to plug in a kettle. There was no coffee machine. Instead Hyatt provided these coffee bags that you opened, placed over your cup, poured water through and then ended up with a horrible cup of coffee. I’ve not seen anything like this in other Hyatt hotels. Besides the coffee tasting awful, it’s really quite messy and awkward to use.
Service from housekeeping was great and super fast when I needed some more water or anything for the room. The Club Lounge had its own competent concierge team and they were a pleasure to work with. Each day the lounge had a nice spread for breakfast providing both Japanese and western breakfast options. However, the evening offerings did not meet my expectations. The spread was basically cold cuts, cheese and crackers, and snack items like chips and nuts. In addition, in the evening the lounge staff came around to each table offering a choice of two small plated items.
If you’ve read any of my hotel and room reviews you’ll recall I’m of the opinion that in the evenings a club lounge should have green salad at the very least. One odd aspect of the lounge was that there’s an enclosed smoking room. In theory a nice idea to sequester smokers, but in reality every time the door opens, smoke gets out. I’ve experienced so many amazing evening offerings at club lounges throughout Asia. This year alone I’ve stayed at seven Hyatt properties in Asia, as well as other international Hyatt hotels. I also stay at other chains with club lounges. This one simply didn’t measure up. Though alcohol is complementary, this Hyatt lounge seems to be missing the mark during the 6-8 PM hours.
Given all the hotel stays I accumulate in a year, some rooms end up being OK, some become memorable, and some just aren’t a good fit. The Hyatt Regency Tokyo would not be my choice when I go back to Tokyo. Though I did like the location, the room turned out to be my least favorite of the year. The view I had was the best feature of the room.
The lounge was not up to what I’ve come to expect from Hyatt properties, especially in Asia. With the points and cash rates increase in Hyatt’s new program, this hotel isn’t as good a value as it once was. In Tokyo the Park Hyatt and the newly opened Andaz are top of the line and offer a more personalized experience. The Grand Hyatt is almost at that top level. The Hyatt Regency Tokyo is the middle level property. It depends on what kind of property you enjoy, and what your hotel budget or Hyatt points stash allows for. I’d say give this Regency a pass and give one of the other Tokyo properties in Hyatt’s portfolio a try.