ritz carlton kyoto
REVIEW – Ritz Carlton Kyoto : Deluxe Garden King
May 6, 2020
qatar a350
REVIEW – Qatar Airways : Business Class – A350 – Tokyo (HND) to Doha (DOH)
May 12, 2020

REVIEW – Prince Gallery Tokyo : Grand Deluxe Corner King

prince gallery corner

Book The Prince Gallery Kioicho Tokyo with Classic Travel


Pay the hotel's best available rate and ALSO receive:

• Priority upgrade on arrival subject to availability
• Full breakfast for up to two in room guests
• $100 Hotel Credit
• A Local welcome amenity
• VIP status granted throughout stay
• Early check-in/late check-out subject to availability

A seasonal 15% Discount is also often available on the STARS Rate

BOOK NOW WITH FREE BENEFITS

Prince Gallery

  • Location: Tokyo, Japan
  • Rate: ¥61,000 including upgrade
  • Room Type: Grand Deluxe Corner King
    • Upgraded from Club Deluxe King for ¥8,000
  • Chain: Ritz Carlton
  • Loyalty Program: Marriott Bonvoy
  • Status During Stay: Platinum
  • Date of stay: November 2017


Booking


Jump straight to the Conclusion


I was really keen to try the club lounge at this property since I’d heard great things about it. We also had a late night flight and I wanted to be able to have a base of operations in the hotel after checking out of our room.

Cash prices for a club room at this hotel tend to hover around the ¥70,000 mark including tax, which is roughly $660. For my dates I initially booked at a rate of ¥77,145 and after finding a considerably cheaper rate online I submitted a Best Rate Guarantee. This brought my rate down to ¥53,000.

My goal was to stay in one of the few Grand Deluxe Corner Rooms since these are almost as big as suites at 58m², have incredible views of multiple sides of Tokyo and feature wet rooms with bathtubs overlooking the city. The problem is that upgrades are never guaranteed even with top tier status or a STARS booking. The higher level rooms are great value for the size and tend to be sold out most of the time.

So, I reached out to the hotel and asked if they’d be able to confirm an upgrade in advance, it never hurts to ask! The hotel wrote back almost immediately and said that they could only confirm a room on a higher floor in advance.

At this point I made them an offer. I could see that the room I wanted was retailing for ¥12,000 per night more than mine. I asked if they’d take ¥8,000 since I was a Marriott Platinum member and they said yes. Best of all this charge didn’t include the usual 20% tax and service charge, so the saving was considerable!

 


Arrival


We took the Shinkansen (bullet train) from Kyoto, where we had just enjoyed a spectacular 5 night stay at the Ritz Carlton Kyoto. The journey took around 3.5 hours door to door and we disembarked at Akasaka-Mitsuke station. The Prince Gallery is actually located in a hub of sorts and has access to many different Metro stations, although all of them involve a fair amount of walking through underground tunnels.

Prince Gallery 1 - REVIEW - Prince Gallery Tokyo : Grand Deluxe Corner King
Prince Gallery 2 768x576 - REVIEW - Prince Gallery Tokyo : Grand Deluxe Corner King

The hotel building is positioned in a square adjacent to a small tree lined lake. This is quite a unique location for a bustling metropolis like Tokyo, although once you’re up in the higher floors of the hotel it still very much feels like you’re in the thick of the action.

Prince Gallery 6 768x1024 - REVIEW - Prince Gallery Tokyo : Grand Deluxe Corner King
Prince Gallery 5 768x576 - REVIEW - Prince Gallery Tokyo : Grand Deluxe Corner King

The ground floor entrance is rather nondescript but this immediately changes once you take the lifts up to the lobby on the 36th floor. Here the green illuminations of the bar perfectly frame the Tokyo tower – a striking welcome to the hotel. It does however feel more like you’re entering a nightclub than a warm residential space. Some may prefer the neon and the bustling bar but for me the elegant surroundings of the Conrad Tokyo are a lot more inviting….

Prince Gallery 4 768x1024 - REVIEW - Prince Gallery Tokyo : Grand Deluxe Corner King
Prince Gallery 25 768x626 - REVIEW - Prince Gallery Tokyo : Grand Deluxe Corner King

Turning the corner you come to the lobby itself. When we arrived there was a large group of people at the desks but a staff member was very quick to invite us to take a seat, checking us in at one of the sofas so we wouldn’t have to wait. This is the kind of proactive service that I’ve come to expect in Japanese hotels but still it never ceases to amaze me the consistency with which hotels deliver at this level in Tokyo.

Prince Gallery 9 768x1024 - REVIEW - Prince Gallery Tokyo : Grand Deluxe Corner King
Prince Gallery 10 768x553 - REVIEW - Prince Gallery Tokyo : Grand Deluxe Corner King
Prince Gallery 8 768x598 - REVIEW - Prince Gallery Tokyo : Grand Deluxe Corner King

We arrived at night, just after sunset, but the images of the lobby area came out much better during the day…

Prince Gallery 13 1024x834 - REVIEW - Prince Gallery Tokyo : Grand Deluxe Corner King

Prince Gallery Lobby

The decor in the lobby lounge is undeniably very modern and design focused but again I got a very cold feeling from it. The grey marble and chrome just doesn’t feel very inviting. It looks more like a trendy office and lacks a residential feel.

Prince Gallery 12 - REVIEW - Prince Gallery Tokyo : Grand Deluxe Corner King
Prince Gallery 11 768x576 - REVIEW - Prince Gallery Tokyo : Grand Deluxe Corner King

After completing check-in formalities we were handed our room keys and directed to a security controlled glass door behind which was another pass controlled glass door leading to the lifts. (I guess the party must really get going at the bar sometimes…)

Prince Gallery 15 768x857 - REVIEW - Prince Gallery Tokyo : Grand Deluxe Corner King
Prince Gallery 14 768x1024 - REVIEW - Prince Gallery Tokyo : Grand Deluxe Corner King

Much like the other public spaces I found the hallways here to be a little bit lifeless. The Conrad and Park Hyatt interiors ooze luxury and warmth throughout. They feature recessed lighting, artwork, elegant carpets and tastefully decorated walls.

Prince Gallery 16 768x1024 - REVIEW - Prince Gallery Tokyo : Grand Deluxe Corner King

The Prince Gallery feels more like a Holiday Inn in the 80s

 


Our Room


Our Grand Deluxe Corner Room had a long corridor running from the front door to the room itself. As soon as we entered I noticed a really cool feature: there’s a giant service hatch by the door, meaning that you can take deliveries of food and clothing without people having to enter the room.

Prince Gallery 17 - REVIEW - Prince Gallery Tokyo : Grand Deluxe Corner King
Prince Gallery 18 - REVIEW - Prince Gallery Tokyo : Grand Deluxe Corner King

Since we arrived at night we didn’t have much of a chance to explore the room and take a full set of pictures before heading out to meet our friends. However we couldn’t help but admire the view for a few minutes, snapping a couple of quick shots in the process.

My happy place: high up in a Tokyo hotel, sitting in a padded seat by the window, watching the red lights of the skyscrapers pulse as if they were the beating heart of the city. Any time I’m feeling down I think of this…

Prince Gallery 21 768x1024 - REVIEW - Prince Gallery Tokyo : Grand Deluxe Corner King
Prince Gallery 19 768x576 - REVIEW - Prince Gallery Tokyo : Grand Deluxe Corner King

Turndown service had been completed prior to our arrival with yukatas, slippers, water and snacks left out for us alongside a welcome note.

Prince Gallery 20 768x1024 - REVIEW - Prince Gallery Tokyo : Grand Deluxe Corner King
Prince Gallery 23 768x576 - REVIEW - Prince Gallery Tokyo : Grand Deluxe Corner King
Prince Gallery 22 768x576 - REVIEW - Prince Gallery Tokyo : Grand Deluxe Corner King

After a brief visit to the bar for an absolutely incredible frozen Monkey 47 cocktail we headed out into the mean streets of Tokyo for the night.

Prince Gallery 28 768x1024 - REVIEW - Prince Gallery Tokyo : Grand Deluxe Corner King
Prince Gallery 27 768x1024 - REVIEW - Prince Gallery Tokyo : Grand Deluxe Corner King

The next morning I awoke slightly worse for wear but instantly invigorated by the spectacular views!

Prince Gallery 51 1024x768 - REVIEW - Prince Gallery Tokyo : Grand Deluxe Corner King

Most hotels would certainly classify a room of this size as a junior suite, given the expansive sitting area. The metal stripes at the bottom of the image are there to protect a large surface on which you an unpack suitcases.

Prince Gallery 29 1024x768 - REVIEW - Prince Gallery Tokyo : Grand Deluxe Corner King

Behind this area was the wardrobe, featuring an ironing board, clothes brush, shoe horn and even a yoga mat. Storage space was limited however, with more space available in a second wardrobe in the bathroom. Not the most practical of storage solutions…

Prince Gallery 42 670x1024 - REVIEW - Prince Gallery Tokyo : Grand Deluxe Corner King

Main wardrobe

The sofa was very large and comfortable and I can imagine that those travelling with a child would easily be able to turn this into a bed.

 

 

Prince Gallery 30 1024x768 - REVIEW - Prince Gallery Tokyo : Grand Deluxe Corner King

Sitting area

The writing desk initially looked like an afterthought but I found the ergonomics to be really good and both USB and Japanese power sockets are located within a panel there.

Prince Gallery 31 768x921 - REVIEW - Prince Gallery Tokyo : Grand Deluxe Corner King
Prince Gallery 33 768x576 - REVIEW - Prince Gallery Tokyo : Grand Deluxe Corner King
Prince Gallery 34 768x576 - REVIEW - Prince Gallery Tokyo : Grand Deluxe Corner King

Tucked away in the far corner of the room was a large minibar unit featuring both paid for items and complimentary tea and coffee facilities. Next to this was a wireless Bose speaker.

Prince Gallery 40 768x522 - REVIEW - Prince Gallery Tokyo : Grand Deluxe Corner King
Prince Gallery 39 768x546 - REVIEW - Prince Gallery Tokyo : Grand Deluxe Corner King
Prince Gallery 38 801x1024 - REVIEW - Prince Gallery Tokyo : Grand Deluxe Corner King

In a design trick that was rather reminiscent of the engawa at the Ritz Carlton Kyoto, the bedroom was clad in a different material to the rest of the room, creating both a visible divide and a sound dampening effect thanks to the padded leather that was used.

Prince Gallery 49 1024x768 - REVIEW - Prince Gallery Tokyo : Grand Deluxe Corner King

The bedroom

The TV occupied almost the entire width of the wall and was perfectly positioned for viewing from bed. Honestly though, who needs TV when you have this view to look at?

Prince Gallery 48 1024x768 - REVIEW - Prince Gallery Tokyo : Grand Deluxe Corner King

The view…

The bed was very squishy and comfortable. No need to worry about the usual rock hard Japanese beds here. The iPad and black glass control panel added a hi-tech touch the to the room and both sides of the bed featured power sockets.

Prince Gallery 45 - REVIEW - Prince Gallery Tokyo : Grand Deluxe Corner King
Prince Gallery 46 768x639 - REVIEW - Prince Gallery Tokyo : Grand Deluxe Corner King
Prince Gallery 47 768x983 - REVIEW - Prince Gallery Tokyo : Grand Deluxe Corner King

The bathroom featured a bathtub in which you could really soak in the amazing view.

Prince Gallery 54 1024x780 - REVIEW - Prince Gallery Tokyo : Grand Deluxe Corner King

The bathroom

I love these self contained Japanese wet rooms in which you can clean off in the steam shower as your bath of clean water fills up. Toiletries are Remède, as found in almost all St Regis hotels.

Prince Gallery 62 768x911 - REVIEW - Prince Gallery Tokyo : Grand Deluxe Corner King
Prince Gallery 64 300x241 - REVIEW - Prince Gallery Tokyo : Grand Deluxe Corner King
Prince Gallery 63 300x221 - REVIEW - Prince Gallery Tokyo : Grand Deluxe Corner King
Prince Gallery 61 768x586 - REVIEW - Prince Gallery Tokyo : Grand Deluxe Corner King

The overall design aesthetic in the bathroom was one of compactness and efficient use of space. This is in contrast to the spacious twin vanities at the Conrad.

Prince Gallery 58 - REVIEW - Prince Gallery Tokyo : Grand Deluxe Corner King
Prince Gallery 57 768x591 - REVIEW - Prince Gallery Tokyo : Grand Deluxe Corner King
Prince Gallery 56 768x648 - REVIEW - Prince Gallery Tokyo : Grand Deluxe Corner King
Prince Gallery 55 768x491 - REVIEW - Prince Gallery Tokyo : Grand Deluxe Corner King

As I mentioned earlier this efficient use of space extended to the rather unusual decision to have half of the wardrobe inside the bathroom! As you’d expect in Japan the toilet featured all manner of electronic wash and dry features, including a mechanism that lifts to greet you, making it impossible to photograph without the lid open…

Prince Gallery 41 - REVIEW - Prince Gallery Tokyo : Grand Deluxe Corner King
Prince Gallery 59 768x576 - REVIEW - Prince Gallery Tokyo : Grand Deluxe Corner King
Prince Gallery 60 - REVIEW - Prince Gallery Tokyo : Grand Deluxe Corner King

Overall the room had some cool features and an amazing view but the level of finishes and the compactness of the bathroom made this feel a lot less premium that even the entry level rooms at the Conrad. The sitting area is enormous but comes at the cost of having space to move elsewhere.

 


Club Lounge


Prince Gallery 65 1024x800 - REVIEW - Prince Gallery Tokyo : Grand Deluxe Corner King

The club lounge is located on the 34th floor of the hotel

A letter detailing our club benefits was handed to us during check-in, the most generous of these being the fact that drinks are served from 7:00am to 9:30pm. One important point to note is that guests not staying in a room with club benefits will need to pay ¥4,500 per day to access the spa and pool.

Prince Gallery 66 761x1024 - REVIEW - Prince Gallery Tokyo : Grand Deluxe Corner King

Club benefits

Upon entry we were greeted by the concierge team, located at a desk immediately adjacent to the door. The team were very helpful in making suggestions for us and planning out our final day in Tokyo. They were also more than happy to process our 4pm check-out and store our bags until our shuttle bus departure time of 8pm. The letter states that club access is limited from check-in to check-out but we were offered use of the lounge after our check-out without any prompting from our side.

The decor in the lounge featured some cool touches like the Flos lights but honestly it seemed like this area had a completely different designer to the rest of the property. The drab colour scheme gave this the feel of an airport Sheraton rather than a modern luxury hotel.

Prince Gallery 69 768x576 - REVIEW - Prince Gallery Tokyo : Grand Deluxe Corner King
Prince Gallery 68 768x576 - REVIEW - Prince Gallery Tokyo : Grand Deluxe Corner King
Prince Gallery 67 1536x1021 - REVIEW - Prince Gallery Tokyo : Grand Deluxe Corner King

However, what the lounge lacked in style it certainly made up for in substance. The food and drink were of a very high quality indeed, with staff always on hand to assist in serving guests.

Prince Gallery 72 768x600 - REVIEW - Prince Gallery Tokyo : Grand Deluxe Corner King
Prince Gallery 71 - REVIEW - Prince Gallery Tokyo : Grand Deluxe Corner King

The drinks selection included Barons de Rothschild champagne (just like the Cathay First Class Lounge in Heathrow!), some very drinkable French wines and even Yamazaki whiskey. Honestly I can’t think of another hotel lounge on earth that compares to this.

Prince Gallery 73 768x576 - REVIEW - Prince Gallery Tokyo : Grand Deluxe Corner King
Prince Gallery 74 768x703 - REVIEW - Prince Gallery Tokyo : Grand Deluxe Corner King

A variety of nibbles to enjoy alongside a cocktail.

Prince Gallery 81 1024x537 - REVIEW - Prince Gallery Tokyo : Grand Deluxe Corner King
Prince Gallery 80 1536x803 - REVIEW - Prince Gallery Tokyo : Grand Deluxe Corner King
Prince Gallery 82 1024x768 - REVIEW - Prince Gallery Tokyo : Grand Deluxe Corner King

A selection of imported cheeses.

There was also a selection of more elaborate savoury dishes on offer including scallop terrine and a yuzu, tuna and turnip salad. These were absolutely delicious and far better than what you’d normally expect to find in a hotel lounge.

Prince Gallery 83 scaled - REVIEW - Prince Gallery Tokyo : Grand Deluxe Corner King
Prince Gallery 84 1024x524 - REVIEW - Prince Gallery Tokyo : Grand Deluxe Corner King

There was also a very extensive selection of freshly baked pastries and desserts as well as some smaller sweets and chocolates.

Prince Gallery 76 768x858 - REVIEW - Prince Gallery Tokyo : Grand Deluxe Corner King
Prince Gallery 78 - REVIEW - Prince Gallery Tokyo : Grand Deluxe Corner King
Prince Gallery 79 768x576 - REVIEW - Prince Gallery Tokyo : Grand Deluxe Corner King
Prince Gallery 77 1024x644 - REVIEW - Prince Gallery Tokyo : Grand Deluxe Corner King

 


Conclusion


Basics Checklist

☑︎ Power sockets near the bed
-Local only (not universal)
☑︎ Easy to understand light switches
☑︎ Coffee machine
☑︎ Separate shower and bath
+Enclosed bathing room
☑︎ Blackout blinds
☑︎ Stable, fast and free Wifi
☑︎ Feather pillows
☑︎ Quiet and powerful aircon

Despite the lacklustre decor I quite enjoyed relaxing in the lounge for a couple of hours before taking the direct shuttle bus to the airport (¥3,200 per person – 35mins). For me this area was a perfect microcosmic representation of the hotel as a whole: great views, some very high quality touches, slightly cold design and professional but unmemorable service.

By most measures this is an excellent hotel and had this been my first ever visit to Tokyo I would have been very happy with my stay here. However there’s a reason I’m now comfortably into the double digits with my stays at the Conrad. I’ve tried various other hotels at lower price points like the Park Hotel and Intercontinental The Strings and honestly the lasting feeling that the Prince Gallery leaves me with is similar to these.

I came away feeling sad that I wasted the opportunity to spend another night at my favourite Tokyo hotel. I didn’t feel like this at the Park Hyatt (on either of my visits), it was very different but nonetheless an outstanding experience. Prince Gallery on the other hand is good but not great.


Book The Prince Gallery Kioicho with Classic Travel


Pay the hotel's best available rate and ALSO receive:

• Priority upgrade on arrival subject to availability
• Full breakfast for up to two in room guests
• $100 Hotel Credit
• A Local welcome amenity
• VIP status granted throughout stay
• Early check-in/late check-out subject to availability

A seasonal 15% Discount is also often available on the STARS Rate

BOOK NOW WITH FREE BENEFITS

Q Suites and First Class to Japan
Part 1:
Qatar Airways Premium Lounge : London Heathrow T4
Part 2:
Qatar Airways : Business Class – B77W Q Suites – London (LHR) to Doha (DOH)
Part 3:
Ritz Carlton Kyoto : Deluxe Garden King
Part 4:
Prince Gallery Tokyo : Grand Deluxe Corner King Room
Part 5:
Qatar Airways : Business Class – A350 – Tokyo (HND) to Doha (DOH)
Part 6:
Qatar Airways : First Class – A380 – Doha (DOH) to London (LHR)

6 Comments

  1. K4 says:

    Strangely I much prefer this hotel to the Conrad.
    My first stay was at the Park Hyatt, many years ago and even then it felt dated to me. The service was probably the best of all my Tokyo stays, but apart from the top floor bar, although immaculate, the design felt dated to me. The location was also awful in my opinion.
    My second stay was at the Conrad, I did not like the decor, the food was average, the Consierge was borderline awful, similar to the experiences you described with the Ritz Carlton Kyoto. The location was ok, but the adjacent Shiodome is ageing badly, compared to the shopping/dining complex attached to the Prince Gallery, its night and day.
    My third stay, was at the Mandarin Oriental, whilst the room was truly uninspiring for the price, the breakfast was impeccable, and so was the location. A good hotel but not worth the money, and not somewhere I’d want to spend the evening, which was the exact opposite to the Prince Gallery.
    So my last stay was at the Prince Gallery, my room was extremely spacious, and totally up to date. I get what you’re saying about the lobby being un homely but I wasn’t hanging out in the lobby. The bar was excellent. The restaurant was too. Had a great sushi lunch and wagyu dinner in different sections. Fine dining Michelin level for sure. The lounge was wonderful as you already mentioned, and the decor although not great, wasn’t a focal point as I spent most of the time enjoying the view.
    The location, whilst not as well located as the MO, is however spectacular in the sense that Akasaka Mitsuke station is extremely close, the attached shops and restaurants are well worth ones time, unlike Shiodome, and you are neither too far from Ginza, nor Roppongi, nor Shinjuku. You are literally in the middle, whilst all the other hotels are one end or the other, with the exception of the Conrad, which is just odd, whilst not walking distance from Ginza, that’s still the closest area worth visiting.
    For me Prince Gallery was my favourite Tokyo Hotel, the MO being second ignoring the silly price point.

    • JarvisMarcos says:

      Thanks for taking the time to formulate such a lengthy response.
      I didn’t get a chance to try the restaurants so it’s great to hear such positive feedback on them in particular!

      I can see why the Prince Gallery and Conrad are put in a similar category.
      I think what ultimately separates them is personal preference.

      I like the feeling of coming ‘home’ when I step into the Conrad and that view of Tokyo bay gives me that. The location is ideal for Haneda airport and I love being able to easily walk to the restaurants at Tsukiji. I also personally prefer the overall design aesthetic. Both the rooms and the public spaces at the Conrad look a lot more elegant to my taste.

      I’m going to put together a separate post comparing and contrasting multiple Tokyo hotels as it’s a city that I truly love. I also think that it’ll be one of the first places that will see major tourism again, once all this COVID-19 stuff is over.

      Thanks again for your comment!

      • K4 says:

        Thank you for your reply too!

        Of course personal preference is most important. Conrad is indeed closer to Haneda, Tsukiji is unfortunately closed for good, but admittedly Toyosu is also closer to the Conrad.

        My room at the Conrad was considerably smaller and ‘less new’ than the one I was given at the Prince Gallery, but obviously being a Bonvoy Platinum, as opposed to Hilton Gold made a difference in this regard.

        Maybe being a bit of a broken record, but I can really wax lyrical about the adjacent restaurant/shopping complex, I ate Yakiniku, Sumiyaki, Sushi, and Italian and all were top notch, also after a tiring day roaming Roppongi and Ginza, I did not want to waste time in Tokyo, but didn’t have the energy for anything other than dinner. The large BIC Camera by an adjacent exit of Akasaka Mitsuke station, and a branch of Ten Ichi (https://tenichi.co.jp/shopinfo2/#akasaka) for a Tempura dinner just steps away from the hotel made it for me. I did find a nice Izakaya walking distance from the Conrad, and there was a good Yakiniku restaurant in Caretta Shiodome complex, but I returned to that when staying at the Prince Gallery, and found it inconsistent with my last visit, and not as good. It seemed ‘too Korean influenced’ this time, a few years later having tried many more Yakiniku since then. The views are amazing there though – https://www.ebisu-toraji.com/shop/tokyo/shiodome/param/

        Look forward to your comparison and all your writing for that matter. Keep up the excellent work!

        • JarvisMarcos says:

          Thanks for all the extra details!

          One point of clarification: Tsukiji is no longer a commercial fish market but is very much alive and well for the consumer.
          All the restaurants are still there with the added benefit that the crowds are smaller and you no longer have to watch out for those delivery vehicles speeding around!

          • K4 says:

            My apologies, having not visited Tsukiji since reading that it’s closed, I was unaware that it was still a good visit for the consumer.

          • JarvisMarcos says:

            No worries, I was confused about that too until one of my local friends told me!
            Hopefully you get a chance to stop by on your next visit to Tokyo.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.