“As soon as you enter, the city noise disappears and you are transported in to another world of calm and serenity. The staff ushers you to your sanctuary the Ochanoma to unwind over a freshly brewed pot of sencha”
If you want to stay in a stunning ryokan (traditional Japanese hotel) in the middle of Tokyo then look no further than the Hoshinoya Tokyo. It’s a purpose built modern “Tower” Ryokan with its own Onsen (hot spring) on the 17th floor. This is really one of the most unique hotels I have ever stayed in.
The Hoshinoya Tokyo offers six rooms per floor and each floor has an Ochanoma, which is a mini lounge/living room dedicated to each floor. The Ochanoma serves complimentary snacks and drinks throughout the day.
The concept is to have a mini Ryokan on each floor which gives it an intimate and homely feel. One thing to note is that you are only allowed access to your floor only and can’t visit other floors during your stay. Hence if you are traveling in a group I strongly recommend you to ask the Hoshinoya to arrange for rooms on the same floor.
Hoshinoya Tokyo – Rooms
As mentioned above, the Hoshinoya Tokyo only has six rooms per floor and only offers three type of rooms. The King or Twin Deluxe Sakura room, the Yuri corner room and the Kiku triple room. We chose the Sakura King room which is around 35 sqm in size. It’s not the biggest room but given that you spend a lot of time in the Ochanoma and the Onsen it’s more than sufficient. Having said that, the corner room is only marginally more expensive and next time I would choose it over the Sakura room as it also comes with a proper wardrobe area to store your luggage. The one downside of the standard room is that you don’t really have space for your luggage, especially if traveling with someone. One thing to note though, is that the rooms come with an eco-cleaning concept. This means that housekeeping will only replace towels and remove trash on a daily basis. The sheets are changed after three nights (which is common with a lot of hotels nowadays).
The design of the room is quintessentially Japanese and combines traditional ryokan design with a touch of minimalism. The entire hotel, including the rooms feature the traditional Japanese tatami mats which are pleasant to walk on. I like the traditional Shoji screens which also act as day curtains. At night they have proper thick blinds which will close behind the Shoji screens. Given that the ryokan is in the middle of Marunouchi near Tokyo station and surrounded by office towers there is no view to be had. Hence the Shoji screens are perfect to give you some privacy and also help you to escape the hustle and bustle of Tokyo.
The futon-style bed was very comfortable and I slept very well all six nights we were there for. The sheets were also high quality and the blanket was just nice. I also liked the firmness of the pillows which can often be a hit or miss in hotels.
Hoshinoya Tokyo – Bathroom
The bathroom is separated in to a shower and bathtub as well as a separate room for the toilet. This gives you privacy when traveling with someone and I wish more hotels would offer this. The glass walls can be frosted with the touch of a button which is a really cool feature. In case you are not keen on using the Onsen you can use the deep bathtub available in the room. The shower is pretty standard and they offer their own shower gel and shampoo which also can be found at the Onsen.
Hoshinoya Tokyo – Ochanoma
One of the awesome features of the Hoshinoya Tokyo is the Ochanoma. This is a “living room” available on each floor which can only be used by guests staying on that floor. The concept is to resemble a space for you to relax, read a book, have some snacks and plan your day in Tokyo. The staff is more than happy to help arrange activities and book restaurants for you should you require that.
I really like that big communal table they have in the Ochanoma and there is a lot of attention to detail which you can’t see at a first glance. For example there are multiple power ports available around the table so you can work and charge your devices at the same time.
Hoshinoya Tokyo – Snacks
I would like to dedicate one paragraph to the snacks which the Ochanoma offers. The choices are amazing and you have lots of Japanese traditional snacks on offer which is a great way to try different Japanese tidbits. The Daifuku with strawberry for example below was super delicious and is the best Daifuku I have ever had.
I also liked the various biscuits and crackers they offered and they also had some great noodle soups and instant soups available if you felt peckish after a late night out.
When we first arrived the kind staff gave us this beautiful welcome snack which is a traditional Japanese sweet called Higashi.
Hoshinoya Tokyo – Breakfast
If you would like breakfast you can add it at a relatively reasonable price (JPY 3’300 for the Western and JPY 4000 for the Japanese breakfast) . They will serve it at a specified time in your room as there is no restaurant really to have breakfast. Alternatively if you just want to have a small snack the Onigiri (Japanese rice balls filled with salmon or plum) and miso soup will be served in the Ochanoma. This is complimentary and comes with freshly brewed drip coffee made to order by the lovely staff.
We tried both the Western and Japanese breakfast during our stay. The Western breakfast beautifully presented in a bento box and included freshly baked breads, croissant, yoghurt, fruity jelly and salad. The main course was an omelette served with a sausage, vegetables and a demi glace sauce which was very tasty and is prepared by the head-chef. Hoshinoya Dining
The Japanese breakfast included some tasty cold small bites, fruits in jelly, salad as well as grilled fish. The miso soup and rice was served separately. Both the Western and Japanese options were very tasty and if you have the time you should try both of them during your stay.
Hoshinoya Tokyo – Reception area/Sake and wine tasting
Should you ever need the reception you can find it on the second floor where a beautiful reception desk greets you. The staff are always ready to assist and also usher to you to the sake and wine tasting which is available daily between 5-7pm.
Sake and wine tasting
Another popular activity the Hoshinoya offers, is the free sake and Japanese wine tasting. The staff are more than happy to introduce the various sake and Japanese wines they have on offer. For the sake you have a choice of having it cold or hot and the staff will heat it up for you should you prefer it hot. The selection changes regularly and during our six nights stay we managed to try a variety of sakes from different parts of Japan. The wines were also interesting as Japanese wines are usually hard to come by outside of Japan. The white wines were actually really good too and I really enjoyed them.
You also get to witness some traditional Japanese art performances which is called Grand Kugara. During our stay we were entertained by a professional juggler which was a great way to immerse ourselves in the Japanese adaption of this art form. I highly recommend to go for one of the performances if time permits.
The probably best part of the Hoshinoya Tokyo has to be the onsen which can be found on the 17th floor. It’s first of all very rare to have a real onsen in the middle of Tokyo and to have it on such a high floor is so unique and special. We made sure to use the onsen at least twice a day as we loved to soak in the warm water after a long day of walking around Tokyo. The onsen is almost open 24 hours and you can even go for a midnight soak if you are keen. Especially in winter, it was such a pleasant experience to be soaking in the hot water whilst breathing in the crisp winter air.
Summary and how I booked it
The room rate is definitely not cheap and this kind of luxury does come with a price tag. However one way to get this ryokan at a more affordable rate is to book the 120 day in advance rate. This rate is available through their website and brings the cost down significantly. The best discount you can get is if you stay for six nights as the discount is 60%. However even if just staying for 3 or 4 nights the discount is still quite worthwhile. The downside is the rate is non refundable and non changeable. So if you are the sort of person who likes to book last minute you might need to pay the full price for the stay. Alternatively if you are holding a Citi Prestige credit card you can make use of the stay 4 and pay 3 nights offer which is another great way to lower the cost.
The Hoshinoya Tokyo is probably one of my favorite city hotels in the world. The unique features, design and amenities make it the perfect city hotel for me. It’s not the usual grand 5 star hotel we might be accustomed to. So if you are expecting five restaurants, a huge gym, conference room facilities and a swimming pool this is the wrong hotel for you. However if you want to experience Japanese luxury with a blend of tradition and Japanese hospitality this is the perfect place to explore it. The staff was very helpful and welcoming during our stay. Whenever we required any help they were more than eager to assist us. For example for the restaurant reservations I asked them to help us with, they printed a lovely itinerary with all the essential information we would require (i.e. address, time, etc.) to make it easier to find.
I personally can’t wait to stay again at the Hoshinoya in Tokyo and am looking forward to my next stay in autumn again. Maybe I will see you there?