Located right amidst the hubbub and bustle of Shinjuku, one of the busiest urban neighbourhoods in the world, the Shinjuku Washington Hotel Tokyo is an imposing, modern edifice of some 1296 rooms. With over 25 floors, the hotel can seem a little impersonal at times, and reception clerks, though equipped with fluent English, are perhaps less welcoming and attentive than their counterparts at smaller properties.
Check in was fortunately smooth and hassle free, and we were able to book seats on the Narita Airport Limousine that terminates right outside the doors of the hotel, though be warned that the journey can take up to two hours. While there is a help and information desk on the ground floor, this is generally only staffed in the late afternoon.
Despite requesting a no-smoking room we were housed on a floor that smelled quite strongly of cigarettes, though thankfully the air in the room was odourless. The size of the accommodation was, however, a bit of a surprise, with no real space to lounge around or deposit luggage. In fact on leaving the room each morning we had to literally climb over our bags! Beds and pillows were firm and robust, though not uncomfortable, while the view out of the tiny, porthole window was rather impressive, with a vista spreading right across leafy Shinjuku Gyoen.
The room offered a fast and reliable wired internet connection, a range of cable television channels in Japanese, as well as a radio-alarm built into the wall. Air-conditioning, essential during the humid summer months, is also on offer, though be aware that if you are staying on a smoking floor that the air pumped into your room will have a slight tinge of tobacco, something I am assured is not uncommon for Tokyo hotels. Modern, Japanese toilets and a powerful shower made for an entirely serviceable bathroom, though clambering out of the deep bathtub each morning was a challenge in itself.
In terms of access, guests will be pleased at the speed and regularity with which elevators arrive; we noticed at least 8 separate lifts, meaning you do not have to wait long to be delivered to the floor of your choice.
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of restaurants, bars, izakayas and shops within a short distance of the hotel; after all Shinjuku is arguably the most lively and crowded of all Tokyo districts. Yet you do not have to journey far to indulge in good Japanese fare, as the complex offers a fairly comprehensive range of independent restaurants and bars on site, all operating on the basement level. Along with a cheap and cheerful eateries guests will find a pachinko hall, massage parlour, 24 convenience store, mobile phone store and a beauticians also trading in the building.
With so much on offer this basement area can become lively on weekends, so do not be surprised to see drunken salarymen and their coworkers queuing up at the Ramen Vending Machine on a Friday to feed their late-night appetites. The hotel is directly linked to Shinjuku Station by a well-lit underground passageway, perfect for avoiding inclement weather, and this is open from around 6 in the morning until 10:45 at night. Walks between the two points take around ten minutes and part of the journey, depending on the route you take, is hastened with the assistance of moving walkways.
Signs in English and Japanese direct pedestrians to a variety of nearby locations, as well as to the various JR and Metro lines serving Shinjuku station itself. Shinjuku is one of the most well connected stations in Tokyo, and from there travellers can reach just about any corner of this vast metropolis. This means the hotel is ideal for first time visitors seeking to frequent an array of sights. Also close to the hotel is the imposing Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office, and Nishi-Shinjuku’s futuristic Skyscraper district, making this is a popular hotel with those visiting Tokyo on business.
Because of the budget room prices I would highly recommend staying at this hotel, though do not expect to be pampered by the staff or to enjoy a spacious room. Overall, this is the perfect base from which to explore the Japanese capital, just as long as you aren’t planning on spending too much time in your room.
flickr image by zezebonoWrite a Review
You can be the first to write a comment.