Review: Hilton Tokyo

No flash or glitz here, but a prime location, great lounge experience and renovated rooms allow the Hilton Tokyo to punch above its weight.

After landing at Tokyo-Haneda at 6 in the morning and breezing through the snaking immigration queues (thank God for the APEC Card!), it was straight to the Hilton Tokyo via monorail and subway.

Tokyo would be the first stop on the cherry blossom trail, and five nights at the Hilton Tokyo cost me a total of 280,000 Hilton points (70,000 points per night, plus the fifth night free). 

I’m well aware that Tokyo has much more exciting options, but the Hilton Tokyo is a solid choice, and sometimes solid is all you need.

🏨 tl;dr: Hilton Tokyo
No flash or glitz here, but a prime location, great lounge experience and renovated rooms allow the Hilton Tokyo to punch above its weight.
👍 The Good👎 The Bad
  • Renovated rooms with excellent water pressure
  • In-house traditional onsen
  • Great service in the executive lounge, despite the crowds
  • Elevator waits can be long, especially on higher floors
  • Tiny swimming pool (although pools are luxuries in Tokyo!)
🌸 Popping My Cherry Blossom

Hilton Tokyo: Arrival & Check-in

Hilton Tokyo

The Hilton Tokyo is located in the Shinjuku neighbourhood, and easily accessible via an underground link to the Nishi-shinjuku and Tochomae stations. Nearby attractions include Shinjuku Gyoen Park (great if you’re here to catch the cherry blossoms, as I was), but otherwise the immediate area is more sleepy, intended more for business travellers than tourists. Most of the nearby restaurants close early in the evening, and it’s about a 15-minute walk to the bright lights of Shinjuku.

Hilton Tokyo
Hilton Tokyo

If you’re lugging heavy bags or just don’t feel like walking, the hotel also offers a free shuttle bus service to Shinjuku station every 20 minutes, dropping you at Bus Stop #21 in front of the Keio Department Store. 

Shuttle bus

There was little wait at check-in, with numerous positions manned at the desks. 

Hotel lobby
Hotel lobby

The staff thanked me for being a Diamond member and informed me of my benefits, including daily breakfast and executive lounge access. Our room, understandably, wasn’t ready when we arrived at 7.30 a.m, but the staff gave us a keycard so we could access the showers near the pool and gym as well as use the onsen (more on that later).

Side note: pre-COVID, the Hilton Tokyo used to issue two welcome drink coupons to Diamond members. These have since been discontinued. 

Hilton Tokyo: King Premium Room

Hilton Tokyo King Premium Room

The Hilton Tokyo has a total of 38 floors and 811 rooms. As a Hilton Diamond member, I was upgraded from the lead-in Queen Hilton to a King Premium Room on the 15th floor. While I normally prefer higher floors for the view, there’s quite a wait for the elevators in the mornings and evenings since it stops on virtually every floor- so in this case being lower was better. 

Premium Rooms are 2 sqm larger than the lead-in category, and that extra space goes to providing a separate shower and tub. They supposedly offer a Yukata (Japanese cotton Kimono, which I couldn’t find) and deluxe toiletries too, but surprisingly, no Nespresso machine. 

The Hilton Tokyo underwent a renovation in 2018, so the rooms are suitably modern. If you hate the old Hilton template of beige and light wood, relax. These are more sophisticated rooms, with darker wood, grey and neutral accents predominant. 

Hilton Tokyo King Premium Room
Hilton Tokyo King Premium Room
Hilton Tokyo King Premium Room

There were also some uniquely Japanese touches, such as Shoji (sliding outer partitions made of a latticework wooden frame and covered in translucent white paper) on the windows and bathroom panels. If you’re sensitive to light, don’t worry- there’s a further opaque panel you can slide close to block out all light. 

The King-sized bed was a standard Hilton Serenity mattress, manufactured by Serta. This has a medium-firm feel, and its design dampens motion during the night, so if you get up to use the toilet the disturbance to your companion will be minimal. 

Bed
Bed

Bedside tables had power outlets (Type-A, not universal, if you’re bringing an adapter, do remember that Japan uses 100V versus Singapore’s 230V), though they lacked USB charging ports. 

Bedside area
Bedside area

In a corner of the room was a glass-topped work desk, together with a comfortable chair. Interestingly enough, there was a universal power outlet here, but again, no USB charging. 

Work desk
Power outlet

Wi-Fi speeds in the hotel were superb; I clocked 206 Mbps down and 124 Mbps up, with zero stuttering when streaming or doing video calls. 

The mini-bar area had an empty fridge, two glass bottles of mineral water (replenished daily), as well as some teabags and instant coffee. 

Minibar
Teabags

Inside the wardrobe was a safe, ironing kit, safe deposit box and slippers. 

Wardrobe

While the bathroom only had space for a single vanity, it was still larger than I expected (Tokyo hotel rooms are notoriously cramped, especially in the bathroom department).

Bathroom
Vanity area
Bathroom amenities

I particularly appreciated that they didn’t go with a combination shower-tub, one of my pet peeves because it somehow manages to be bad at both. Instead, there was a separate shower area and mini-tub. 

Water pressure from the shower was extremely good, perhaps a bit too strong even. At full blast, the water hit you like a super soaker, excellent after a long-haul flight, less so when you’re trying to wind down for bed! 

Shower area
Shower area

Bulk-sized Crabtree & Evelyn amenities (the first time I’ve seen them in this format) were mounted on the wall, and I swear they felt better quality than the single-use ones. 

Shower amenities

Hilton Tokyo: Executive Lounge

Executive Lounge

The executive lounge is located on the 37th floor, and open from 7 a.m to 9 p.m daily. Breakfast is served from 7 a.m to 10.30 a.m, with pre-dinner drinks from 5.30 p.m to 7.30 p.m. There is no afternoon tea service. 

As always, lounge access is complimentary for Hilton Diamonds. 

Hilton Tokyo Executive Lounge
Hilton Tokyo Executive Lounge
Hilton Tokyo Executive Lounge
Hilton Tokyo Executive Lounge
Hilton Tokyo Executive Lounge

Snacks and drinks are served throughout the day, including Asahi and Heineken beer. 

All-day snacks
All-day drinks
Coffee and tea

The evening spread featured hot items like gyoza, dim sum, a carb (usually pasta), plus a chef’s special that rotated daily. There was also chawanmushi (egg custard), cold cuts, cheese, and cakes. 

Evening canapes
Evening canapes
Evening canapes
Evening canapes
Evening canapes
Evening canapes
Evening canapes

The highlight for me was the soft-serve machine. You loaded whichever flavour capsule you wanted, pressed a button, and got delicious vanilla ice cream (of course you choose vanilla, because you’re a man of culture) in seconds. 

Soft serve

The spread was certainly substantial enough to be a dinner replacement, but in a gastronomic destination like Tokyo, you’re going to have to discipline yourself not to go overboard. 

As for drinks, there was a selection of spirits and Umeshu…

Spirits

…plus a wine machine that dispensed the following options (full bottles were also available):

  • Heroes Sauvignon Blanc (Chile)
  • Nuivana Chardonnay (Spain)
  • Anterra Pinot Noir (Italy)
  • Consentia Cabernet Sauvignon (Chile)

Wines
Wines
Wines

I was delighted to see that they had a sparkling wine option, and while champagne might be wishful thinking at a Hilton, Chandon Brut is a perfectly acceptable substitute in my book (it was certainly much better than the horrible sparkling wine Conrad Osaka was serving in their lounge!).

Wines

I want to give a special shout out to the executive lounge team as well, who were fantastic throughout the stay. Even though the lounge was perpetually crowded during breakfast and evening cocktails, they hardly set a foot wrong. They remembered guest preferences (like how we liked to have an additional cushion for back support), delivered drinks with little to no mix-ups, cleared tables quickly, and somehow found time to chat and get to know guests better. 

One morning we showed up for breakfast and the lounge manager (at least I think it was the lounge manager) excitedly told us that Mount Fuji was visible from the windows, making sure he got us a seat where we could take in the view. It’s that kind of small gesture that really left a good impression in what could so easily have been a by-the-numbers hotel. 

Hilton Tokyo: Breakfast

Marble Lounge

Hilton Diamond members can take their breakfast either in the executive lounge, or the Marble Lounge in the lobby. We’ll talk about the latter first.

The Marble Lounge offers a wider selection, but is also much more noisy and chaotic. We tried breakfast here on the first day, after which we stuck to the executive lounge where the service and quality was much better.

Buffet

The Marble Lounge offers all the breakfast staples you could hope for, like an egg station, bacon, sausages, various breads and pastries, cereals, cold cuts and cheese. 

Egg station
Cold cuts
Hot food items
Fruits
Bakery
Cheese and salad
Salad
Waffles and French toast
Smoothies
Cereal
Juices

There was also a Japanese station with traditional Japanese breakfast items, but horror of horrors: they screwed up the rice. It was way too mushy, like someone had messed up the water to rice ratio- a cardinal sin in Japan. Fortunately, the rice in the executive lounge was cooked properly each day. 

Japanese selection
Japanese selection

Breakfast in the lounge was a much better experience. I’d say the spread had about 70% of the items that Marble Lounge did, and even though the lounge was crowded, it wasn’t anywhere as chaotic as downstairs. 

Lounge breakfast

The spread had a selection of cold cuts, salad bar, cereals and bakery area. 

Cold cuts
Salad and fruits
Cereals
Bakery

There was also a selection of hot items like pancakes, breakfast potatoes, mushrooms, bacon, and a rotating fish option. 

Pancakes
Potatoes and mushrooms
Bacon and sausage
Fish
Scrambled eggs

Guests could also enjoy a chef’s special egg dish, which rotated daily.

Chef’s special
Chef’s special

Coupled with the friendly and efficient staff, breakfast in the lounge was a much more relaxed affair, and I’d recommend it to anyone with a choice. 

Breakfast in lounge

Hilton Tokyo: Swimming pool

Hilton Tokyo swimming pool

The Hilton Tokyo’s heated indoor pool is open from 7 a.m to 8 p.m daily. Swimming pools are a rarity among Tokyo hotels, so it seems a bit churlish to complain that the Hilton Tokyo’s pool is tiny. So tiny, you need to make prior reservations- and yes, they are very strict about this. 

Hilton Tokyo swimming pool
Hilton Tokyo swimming pool

A maximum of four people are allowed in the pool at any time. Realistically speaking, however, two is the most that can comfortably swim, since each of the lanes can only take one swimmer at a time (unless you don’t mind getting kicked).

Nonetheless, we made a point of booking the first slot every day, and there were times when we had the entire pool to ourselves. 

Hilton Tokyo: Gym

Hilton Tokyo gym

The Hilton Tokyo’s gym is open 24 hours a day, and is kitted out with Technogym equipment. The cardio machines have personal entertainment systems, and the staff are diligent at wiping down the units between use. 

Hilton Tokyo gym
Hilton Tokyo gym
Hilton Tokyo gym

Hilton Tokyo: Onsen & Sauna

Onsen

One of the nicest features of the Hilton Tokyo is its traditional-style onsen, complete with wooden panels and hot and cold sections.

I should emphasise the “traditional” part, because that means you go in fully nude. No swimsuits, no towels. If your momma didn’t give it to you, you don’t wear it. It might be awkward at first, but I promise you it’s ultimately very liberating. Nothing like a bunch of dudes just hanging out, and I really mean hanging out. 

In addition to the onsen, there was also a dry sauna.

Conclusion

The Hilton Tokyo isn’t a flashy property. There’s no Instagrammable lobby, no breathtaking swimming pool or be-seen rooftop bar. 

But you know what? Flashy is overrated. I wanted a hotel with a good location, complimentary breakfast, free booze in the evenings, and exercise facilities. The Hilton Tokyo provided all that, plus some unexpectedly excellent service in the lounge. 

That, for me, is reason enough to pick this property if you’re a Hilton loyalist who doesn’t like the splurgish prices of the Conrad Tokyo, or the less-ideal location of the Hilton Tokyo Odaiba. 

Aaron Wong
Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion to help people travel better for less and impress chiobu. He was 50% successful.

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bluepanda

Rice on a plate is also cardinal sin, no??

Mark

I have stayed at the Hilton Tokyo before, but only once. I actually don’t get the point of it. I don’t want the boring hotel breakfast – there are SO many marvolous food options outside – it is Tokyo afterall. I don’t need the pool – I won’t be wasting my valueable Tokyo time in a hotel swimming pool. And I certainly don’t need a gym – while in Tokyo – I get plenty of exercise walking about 20,000 steps a day in and around Tokyo. So in recent trips I have chosen another hotel closer to Shinjuku station that… Read more »

Last edited 11 months ago by Mark
Jeremy

I think everyone travels in a different style. I totally agree what you do is what I would do most of time in Tokyo. But sometimes, I would also to love have some me time at the end of day to relax, like in a spacious hotel, or just by the pool.

Tom

Good points well made – I agree

Happy Camper

I wanted to try the ‘newly renovated’ Hilton but both last and next winter, with cash rates at Conrad being almost double (for next winter, at moment, but last winter it was more then double) yet with redemption rates at Hilton at 80k points per night versus 95k at Conrad, it’s a no brainer to go with Conrad, where you get nicer and larger rooms..

Executive Lounge at Conrad also has Specials not available at the coffeehouse, Caviar Omelette and Lobster Omelette, all cooked a la minute and quite delish..

Raymond

I did not realise that there’s an on premise onsen when I stayed there just after their renovation in 2018. For me, I enjoyed the breakfast at Marble Lounge better than the breakdown at the executive lounge because their larger selection had a lot of additional interesting stuff like chirashi don that I liked.

Also, there was an option then to have a Japanese breakfast at Junisoh that was good as well.

Bryan

will we get a separate standalone review of the onsen. asking for a friend.

Jax

LOL!!!

Michael

Thanks for the review.
I was there late last year after of course not having been able to travel for a long time.
I really like this hotel, fully echo what was written about the lounge and service and relatively big rooms.
And I quite like having all the convenience, yet also being a 15 min (brisk!) walk away from busy busy Shinjuku.
Indeed I only wish better coffee were available in the room itself.

Aaron

Just curious, but did you bring your wife through immigration with the APEC card as well?
Asking for a friend……

Sasha

Thanks for the nice review. We are going to cruise with RC from Singapore to Japan, and will reach Yokohama in October. By then, the Hilton Yokohama will be ready for business and I already reserved my rooms. I’m an IHG loyalist and Intercontinental next door was actually my first choice, but I can’t skip the opportunity to try this brand new Hilton despite not having sufficient status to elevate the stay. Hope that the club lounge at Hilton Yokohama is as decent as the one you reviewed in Tokyo. We booked the rooms with lounge access after reading your… Read more »

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