ANA InterContinental Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan

After Kyoto I returned to Tokyo and decided to stay at the other InterContinental property near Roppongi.

As soon as you walk into the lobby you know you’re in a classy place. Check-in was super efficient and I got a personal welcome from the manager due to my IHG Ambassador status.

I’d been given an upgrade to a “Mount Fuji view room” but the weather wasn’t going to be nice to me during my stay and since I was only on level 22 I think there was an office building in the way so wasn’t able to see Mount Fuji from my window.

The room was very nice, and the bed was magnificent!

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The view from my room at night looking south west down the Inner Circular toll road with Ark Hills on the left of the photo.

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The hotel is in the diplomatic area and close to the National Diet building and all the Japanese Government departments.

There are a couple of close, but not really close, railway stations but it was easier for me to get the Airport Limousine Bus to Narita when it was time to head home.

I didn’t eat at the hotel as the Ark Hills complex next door was filled with a decent selection of Japanese and non-Japanese restaurants to partake of.

A couple of places that stood out for me were

  • Tonkatsu Kazuyuki – great, authentic Katsu restaurant
  • Bubby’s, which was an American style cafe had the best coffee I’d had in Japan!

Lots more to explore in the area around the hotel when I stay there next time.

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ANA Crowne Plaza Kyoto, Kyoto, Japan

After a short stay in Tokyo I took the Shinkansen bullet train to Kyoto to have a look around the former capital.

I decided to stay at the ANA Crowne Plaza in Kyoto which is about 15 minutes north of Kyoto station by the hotel mini-bus.

The hotel is just across the road from Nijo Castle and very close to Nijojomae subway station

so it’s a pretty good location.

The room was a standard hotel room

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but atleast I got a view of the castle and the hills

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The buffet breakfast in the Cozy restaurant had a decent selection of both Japanese and western foods, and was pretty good value (though I had been given 500 Yen discount vouchers for breakfast to help out), and having a drink in Lobby Bar was a treat.

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There were a couple of things that I didn’t like though

  • Most of the power points in the room powered off when you left the room (the power was controlled by the door key in the slot) which meant that you couldn’t leave devices charging or uploading while you were out of the room. There were a couple of power points that didn’t shut off in this fashion but they weren’t convenient.
  • Servicing of the room was late in the day! I mean 3pm late. Which meant that after traipsing around the city for many hours you couldn’t go back to your room in the early afternoon for a quick rest. grrrrrr

But they were minor issues and I’d probably stay here again next time I go to Kyoto.

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InterContinental Tokyo Bay, Tokyo, Japan

Having just arrived in Tokyo and being totally overwhelmed by the mega city of Tokyo, I arrived at my hotel for the first part of my Japan holiday.

I’d planned on how to get to the InterContinental Tokyo Bay from Narita Airport but that all went to pot when I only bought a train ticket to Tokyo Station rather than Shinbashi station where I could have transferred to the train that would have dropped me at Takeshiba Station for a quick walk to the hotel.

Not knowing that I could have topped up my ticket for the extra station and then use my Suica card to get to Takeshiba I opted to use a taxi from Tokyo station.

InterContinental Tokyo Bay is, as it’s name suggests, on Tokyo Bay and if you get a room with a view you’ll get views of the Bay and into east Tokyo.

Here was the view from my room.

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The room itself was magnificent as I’d gotten an upgrade due to my IHG Ambassador status.

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The hotel was very well appointed, as are all InterContinentals.

It’s a little off the beaten track as you can see from the map above so you really need to travel to see the sights, or grab a meal, but once you work out Tokyo’s public transport that’s not a hassle.

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Park Regis, Auckland, New Zealand

With the Cricket World Cup and Chinese New Year happening the week I was to travel to Auckland decent, reasonably priced hotels were at a premium and so I ended up at a hotel on Queen Street called the Park Regis. But don’t start thinking that you’ll be staying at anything that looks like the St Regis in New York – far, very far from it.

The hotel is an old office building converted into a hotel and my gut feeling is that the conversion was done on the cheap.

Where to start

  • this hotel was very expensive for what you got, but I suppose the week I was there it was a sellers market
  • the lifts were awful – one time it took 4 attempts for the doors to decide they could close the whole way so we could get moving
  • my room was near the lifts so I got the sound of the bell ringing whenever the lift visited my floor.
  • the room was just badly designed
    • the “desk” was 1m x .5m in size- useless
    • there were no powerpoints near the desk – I had to drape my cables across the sink(!) to get to the powerpoint
    • the phone was beside the bed and the cable wouldn’t reach the “desk” so you had to grab the second chair and pop the phone on that so you could be at the “desk” while using the phone
    • the internet cable was also next to the bed so you had to drape the cable across the room (and across the door) to get the cable to your laptop on the “desk”
    • The Internet service was just pathetic. You signed up for 1GB per day for around $23/day but the kicker is that you only get 300MB of that at full speed, after you’ve used the first 300MB they give you the option to either pay 10c a MB for the remaining 700MB that YOU’VE ALREADY PAID FOR, or they slow you down to a speed that resembles dial-up. Absolutely pathetic.

On the plus side the bathroom was large but not terribly well appointed or maintained – it had one of those prefab shower units in the corner.

I don’t normally say don’t stay somewhere, but do yourself a favour and DON’T STAY HERE!!!!

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Brisbane Marriott Hotel, Brisbane, Australia

I don’t normally stay at a Marriott hotel as I try to stay at an IHG or Accor hotel so I get my points (yep, I’m a bit shallow like that!) but this week due to all my normal hotels being full in Brisbane I decided to give the Marriott Brisbane a go having driven and walked past it many times.

The Marriott Brisbane is a relatively large hotel at the intersection of Queen and Ann Streets, though your taxi will take you to the back entrance on Howard St.

The room was a decent size and very nicely appointed. The bed and pillows were very comfortable so I was able to get a good nights sleep. My room was at the end of the rather short corridor away from the elevators so I didn’t hear any noise from outside my room.

The bathroom was on the largish size and had a separate bath and shower.

Being a member of the Marriott Rewards scheme I had free Internet access. The hotel is wired for Wi-Fi that you can log into with a very generous quota of 10 devices. This was good news as the wired connection in my room didn’t work so I could use my Apple Airport Express that I normally use to establish an in-room Wi-Fi network.  The speed of the hotel Wi-Fi was excellent. Two thumbs up here!

I didn’t partake of room service this trip but decided to make use of the hotel restaurant for breakfast and dinner. The food at the Motion Bar and Grill was very good.

For my dinner the first night I chose Lamb Rump with creamed corn, confit of garlic & kipfler potato chips accompanied by a New Zealand Pencarrow Pinot Noir both of which complimented each other quite nicely.

For breakfast I went for what is now my standard breakfast when travelling of Eggs Benedict with ham which was a respectable effort, and for my dinner on the second evening I ordered a 250gm char grilled scotch fillet with creamed garlic prawns & market salad greens with a pint of IGP (Itchy Green Pants).

The only downside of the restaurant was that it seems to be understaffed which leads to delays and errors being made.

Overall the hotel is very good and would probably be my second choice for a place to stay in Brisbane behind the Sofitel.

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