Shoba Pillai checks into JAL Tokyo Haneda West Wing, in Tokyo, Japan.
I arrived at Tokyo’s Narita Airport on a Monday night, caught an airport bus to Haneda Airport and then the hotel’s courtesy transfer bus. Very convenient, even if it was a little tricky to locate the bus terminal due to lack of English signage. Japanese chaps made it fun and easy to get directions though.
Check-in experience: Seamless and done in a flash. The entrance was bright, modern and spotless, and a delightfully friendly front-desk clerk explained everything I needed to know for my early departure including the breakfast (from 4am, no less), the airport transfer, and suggested a wake-up call too — much needed for a 6am departure the next morning.
Location: About 15 minutes by bus from Haneda Airport. A short walk will take you to a metro station, and 40 minutes later, you’ll be in the heart of central Tokyo.
The Room: Comfortable double room but as with most rooms in Tokyo, it was compact at 16sq m. The bed was pushed against the wall, and beside it was a small desk and a tiny closet. A large window bordered one side of the room, revealing a rather unremarkable view of the back streets. There was an air conditioner and a dehumidifier. The room was wonderfully clean, sterilised further with the Vetiver essential oil sanitiser provided for my (over)spraying pleasure.
Bathroom: Small, tidy and well equipped with the usual amenities. There was a shower over a small bath. The shower head was rather fancy and produced great pressure. Like most in Japan, the toilet had all the bells and whistles: a heated seat, bottom-washing jet streams and sound effects that made the morning job very entertaining.
Toiletries: A nice selection of Shiseido-branded bodywash, shampoo and conditioner, all of which smelled divine. After my shower, I hopped into the crisp white pyjamas provided, which felt oh-so-good.
The bed: A small double bed that’s ample for one, or intimate for two. The bed had beautiful thick cotton sheets, a firm but soft mattress and fantastic pillows. Slept very well that night.
Facilities: The hotel has a small reception and dining room — all very tastefully decorated with simple stylish furniture typical of a business hotel.
Price: From $240 a night.
Exercise facilities: Didn’t even think to look.
Entertainment: Large flat-screen TV with mainly Japanese stations. I flicked between Japanese baseball and a crazy shopping channel.
Noise: None, it was blissfully quiet.
Food and drink: I was a tad disappointed when a rummage through the fridge and drawers resulted in no mini-bar treats. Discovered afterwards that a 24-hour bar catered for late travellers. Both Japanese and Western food were on offer at the buffet breakfast — of course, I tried both. The seaweed, radish and pickled vegetables with rice was a revelation.
What’s so good about this place? The convenience of being so close to Haneda Airport makes this a great choice if you’re catching a domestic flight the next day. The free courtesy bus every half an hour is a real bonus.
Would I return: Yes, it was a perfectly nice place to rest before the next leg.
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