Keio Plaza Hotel, Tokyo

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At one time the tallest building in Tokyo, the Keio Plaza was the first skyscraper in Shinjuku and the country’s first high-rise hotel.  Hard to believe today, as 50 years worth of other mammoth buildings and gigantic hotels have now surrounded this once-lone, iconic property.  Rather than being an antique though, the Keio Plaza has kept itself relevant, with the latest refurbishment keeping the rooms fresh and modern in their design, and the service given by its staff is sheer perfection.

While the standard rooms are on the smaller side, this is more than made up for with the light and airy interiors, with touches of grey and pale wood.  Bathrooms are suitable well-equipped with L’Occitane amenities, classy counter-top basins and deep bathtubs.  King beds are a real treat, though twin and even triple rooms are available too for those travelling as a family.  The hotel is a great option for those on a summer vacation too – free shuttle buses operate between the hotel and Tokyo Disney Resort, and a rooftop pool is open during the hot and humid months for some respite from the city heat.  For more cultural activities, the hotel can arrange classes in ikebana (flower arranging) and noh theatre tickets (a traditional musical drama).

The choice of more than a dozen restaurants is tempting – and, indeed, is useful for breakfast considering the amount of other guests – but with lively Kabuchiko only 15-minutes away by foot, it would be a shame not to explore the local area for dinner and evening drinks.  That said, the views from the 45th floor Aurora Sky Lounge are simply breathtaking, and well-worth the cost of a beer.

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