TOKYO – excellent location, top quality service, large rooms but lacking part of the usual ”Mandarin feel”

Mandarin Tokyo

As a huge Mandarin Oriental FAN and having stayed ”obsessively” at many Mandarins worlwide, I can only compare Mandarin Oriental Tokyo with other Mandarin Oriental locations. While service is impecable, the rooms and overall interior design and decor lack the usual Mandarin feel, including the Mandarin scent which other Mandarin hotels diffuse throughout public spaces and rooms. While I do understand the designers have created a special concept with the hotel resembling a tree and its rooms as its branches, there is something about the decor and fittings which make the rooms have a cold feel. This could very well be a matter of taste, yet, all the upper categories of rooms, including suites have the very same design feature. Usually, in other Mandarin Oriental Hotels, for instance New York, Las Vegas, Barcelona or Munich, one would have the possibility to opt for a different design for superior category rooms as well as uites. The only ”room” which has a different set up is the Presidential Suite. If you can afford EUR 8.000 a night, then you will be blown off your feet !

Rooms are large and beds are very comfortable, bathroom is huge and well equipped. The uniqueness of this Mandarin Oriental comes from some special details which cannot be found in other Mandarin Oriental hotels: a bed time aromatherapy oil presented daily with turndown service, a set of very comfortable Egyptian cotton pyjamas and robes as well as a special set presentation of a nighty byte which is an organic strawberry and a Japanese special desert.

Mandarin Oriental Tokyo has an excellent location within the city centre, right by the Mitsukoshi luxury department store, the best of its kind in Japan, as well as minutes aways from all major attractions. Tokyo Station is just 5 minutes by taxi and a very well connected underground stations is directly connected to the hotel.

Food is impecable, both creative and nourishing, at the highest standards of any top worldwide hotel. Breakfast is a treat and service in the main restaurant is very fast and efficient. Room Service cannot be any faster and better presented.

As I usually do before arrival, ”to make my life easier”  and prevent any issues, I sent an email to management about some of my requirements and signalled what I already forecasted as issues which I might encounter such as the length of the airport transfer as well as the need for relaxation after a very long and exhausting flight from Paris. Besides being given a quote of almost EUR 300 for a ”Mandarin airport transfer” from Narita airport, I was told the only service that the hotel could provide for jet lag is the water experience at the SPA, and was kindly offered complimentary but only in case I would arrive at the hotel before 9 pm. Since I landed close to 7 pm, all the management staff I emailed should have known it would take me more than that to arrive at the hotel and also that no matter if I took the EUR 300 Mandarin transfer or the train (which I actually opted for), the ride from Narita to the hotel would be at least one hour. So I arrived around 9.20 pm at the hotel and was politely told I should ”hurry” if I wanted to ”catch” the complimentary water treatment at the SPA which was about to close at 10 pm. By the time I arrived in my room and took a very quick shower it was almost 10 pm, so I missed my SPA appointment. Instead of spending this money on the airport transfer take a helicopter ride or Rolls Royce ride throughout the city, both offered by the concierge, and yes, cheaper than the airport transfer !

From a technology point of view, one would expect the best, especially since we are talking about Japan. Unfortunately, this is not the case – the plasma tv is huge, yet inefficent and outdated, with a remote that barely controls the stations, all bed side curtain and light controls are confusing and if used upon wake up when room is still in the dark, they are confusing and you might ”push the wrong button”.

Coming back to decor and designs, to me, the rooms felt cold and lacking character. They might have been top notch and super trendy but that was more than four years ago when the hotel was inaugurated.

Upon check in, despite having requested previously, I was told I should rush as I had just minutes till the water facilities at the SPA were about to close. And this was just minutes before 10 pm. I do understand that they could not keep the SPA open for me, but i advised in many of my emails before arrival and discussion with PR representative on arrival that I was extremely tired and even had a dental surgery two days ago…so believe it or not, I was expecting them to keep the SPA open for me…And slightly disturbing, the next day, in the morning I was told I could not have the water experience complimentary as that was available just the day before. For over half of their guests arriving much like me, from long haul exhausting trips, the Mandarin Oriental Tokyo has no particular jet lag services, let alone the odd strict rules on opening hours which would be normal in the case of a deluxe hotel in Paris but not for a top class hotel in Asia.

Another slightly surprising thing was to discover ”attitude” in staff, especially since Mandarin Oriental Tokyo is in Japan and not in Italy or Russia, and I am sure you all know what I mean. Overall, on my TripAdvisor review I could not choose to say I would not reccommend the Mandarin to other guests, but I would have to think twice about the more discerning ones, especially if they were friends…