Review: Andaz Tokyo Toranomon Hills

Introduction
Review: Delta One 767 Los Angeles To Tokyo Haneda
Review: Andaz Tokyo Toranomon Hills
Review: Park Hyatt Tokyo
Review: Delta One 767 Tokyo Haneda To Los Angeles


We took a taxi from Haneda Airport and, at 11:15pm on a Saturday night, it was a quick albeit expensive (with tolls, nearly $60) ride to the Andaz Tokyo, which is in a new shopping and office complex called Toranomon Hills.

The hotel is accessed through a porte-cochere and then an elevator ride to the 51st floor, where the lobby and the hotel’s main restaurant, Andaz Tavern, are located. Given that it was so late, the restaurant and its bar were closed and the lobby was quiet. There was a small check in area off the lobby where a host issued us keys very quickly. It appears that had we arrived during the day or evening, we’d have been offered a drink during check-in, though we were fairly tired and eager to get to our room anyway.

Andaz Tokyo lobby and check-in area
Andaz Tokyo lobby and check-in area

The lobby is near the top of Toranomon Hills tower, and the rooms are located in the floors below the lobby. Our room was on the 48th floor, and the host took us down and led us to the room.

Andaz Tokyo elevator
Andaz Tokyo elevator

The aesthetics of the hotel were immediately evident: it is, not to overstate things, exquisite. The elevator itself was stunning, even.

48th floor elevator lobby
48th floor elevator lobby

The hotel had a typically “modern” Andaz feel, though the design hearkened back to elegant midcentury Japanese design.  It didn’t feel like a W at all, say, but rather like a beautifully updated version of the old Sterling Cooper set from the early seasons of “Mad Men.”

Andaz Tokyo hallways
Andaz Tokyo hallways

The guest floors are large and have quite long hallways, but they were an absolute pleasure to walk through. Every inch of the hotel had a faint but intoxicating scent.

The Room

Our room was an Andaz Twin room, and my goodness was it enormous, especially for a hotel in a city notorious for space limitations.

Andaz Twin foyer
Andaz Twin foyer

The foyer had beautiful polished stone floors and mood lighting from a blown glass lamp on a storage console.

Andaz Twin foyer, looking toward the front door
Andaz Twin foyer, looking toward the front door

There was a separate console at the end of the foyer containing the minibar and a Nespresso machine, as well as a teapot.

Coffee and tea set
Coffee and tea set

The minibar was gorgeously organized. As with all Andazes, snacks and non-alcoholic beverages are free of charge.

Minibar
Minibar

The foyer led to the rest of the guestroom, which overlooked the city. There was a terrifically comfortable sofa spanning the width of the windows.

Andaz Twin room
Andaz Twin room

At the end of the sofa is a desk with a pull out stool, which seemed to me to be an ingenious use of space.

Andaz Twin room
Andaz Twin room

The two twin beds faced the wall of windows, and felt very “Japanese.” As I’ve been told is the norm in Japan, the mattresses were extremely firm. The beds came with one pillow each, and I didn’t see any other pillows in the closet, but housekeeping brought two extra pillows within minutes of my phone request.

Andaz Twin bedside control
Andaz Twin bedside control

A console between the two beds had control switches for the lighting, shades and “do not disturb” sign in the room. It seemed very high-tech, but I liked the analog nature of the switches themselves.

Andaz Twin phone and Bluetooth speaker
Andaz Twin phone and Bluetooth speaker

There was also a mini-Bluetooth speaker to connect to iPods and phones, as well as an analog, old-school style alarm clock. There were US-compatible outlets everywhere.

Andaz Twin TV set
Andaz Twin TV set

The giant flat screen television was embedded in the wall panels, but swung out seamlessly. It’s a great use of space, if you ask me — minimalist, but also luxurious.

Andaz Twin closet
Andaz Twin closet

The closet in the foyer contained an elegant yellow umbrella, as well as two traditional Japanese robes with sashes, and two types of slippers (a thong-style, and a Western-style slipper). All were, in my opinion, beautifully designed.

Really, not to sound like a broken record, but the design in the room was “unique” — sure, you can say that about lots of boutique hotels and many an Andaz — but also sumptuous, and really jaw-dropping.

For instance, while the idea of a chartreuse carpet in 2015 might sound iffy, if not altogether nauseating, the execution of the color here is perfect: calming, distinct, retro and yet tasteful.

There were other touches throughout that brought that concept home, as well, particularly in the wall decor.

Andaz Twin wall art
Andaz Twin wall art
Andaz Twin wall art
Andaz Twin wall art

As for the bathroom, well, as stunned as I was by the guestroom, the bathroom was even lovelier.

Andaz Twin bathroom
Andaz Twin bathroom

The sink console was beautifully carved and polished piece of wood, and the entire bathroom was dark and masculine, yet effortlessly elegant.

Andaz Twin sink
Andaz Twin sink

Opposite the sink are a series of shelves containing tissues, a hair dryer, some beautifully organized (and generous) amenities, and towels.

Andaz Twin bathroom cabinet
Andaz Twin bathroom shelves
Andaz Twin bathroom shelves
Andaz Twin bathroom shelves

And by beautifully organized amenity kit… I mean it.

Andaz Twin amenity kit
Andaz Twin amenity kit

The toilet was, as expected, a modern Japanese Toto toilet, though this one was sleek and unobtrusive, with nary a cable or wall plug in sight.

Andaz Twin toilet
Andaz Twin toilet

To the right of the sink was a huge shower room, with a separate bathtub just off the shower.

Andaz Twin shower
Andaz Twin shower
Andaz Twin bathtub
Andaz Twin bathtub

Toiletries were unbranded (as far as I could tell), though they were great, in my experience.

Andaz Tokyo toiletries
Andaz Tokyo toiletries

And yet as magnificent as the room decor itself was, the real star of the guestroom was the view, which was phenomenal.

Andaz Twin view at night
Andaz Twin view at night

It was gorgeous at night.

Andaz Twin view during the day
Andaz Twin view during the day

It was awe-inspiring during the day, with views to the skyscrapers of Shinjuku and beyond.

What a view to wake up to!
What a view to wake up to!

In short, it was the kind of view that made you want to linger in bed and just stare.

The Location

The first morning, we walked across the street and explored the neighborhood. Aside from being in a high-rise mall of sorts, there are several amenities within walking distance – including a terrific breakfast place called Good Morning Cafe across the street, convenience stores everywhere and the Toranamon stop of the Tokyo Metro just two blocks away.

That being said, Toranomon is not the most conveniently-located neighborhood for tourists. It isn’t “happening,” and tends to be quiet on weekends. It’s about a fifteen minute walk to the Ginza and just a bit more to the Imperial Palace and its gardens, however. The Tokyo Tower observation deck is about a twenty minute walk to the south, and there’s a charming historic shrine and temple complex just a block or two to the south of Toranomon Hills. Everything else is easily accessible by subway. However, this isn’t the hippest, coolest neighborhood, and it’s rather far from most of what tourists will want to see and do in Tokyo.

Facilities

We used the gym and spa facilities on both days, which are free to use for hotel guests (with the exception of spa treatments, etc., which of course are priced accordingly). The Spa is branded as “AO Spa.”

The entry to the spa and gym facilities is gorgeous.

Andaz AO Spa entryway
Andaz AO Spa entryway

The hallways leading to the men’s locker room and gym were just pieces of art, from an architectural standpoint.

Andaz AO Spa and gym
Andaz AO Spa and gym
Andaz AO Spa and gym
Andaz AO Spa and gym

As for the gym itself, it was decently sized and not particularly busy, with a variety of machines and equipment. Needless to say, the gym boasted terrific views, facing north.

Andaz gym
Andaz gym

I was able to work out facing the Imperial Palace.

Andaz gym
Andaz gym

It was the pool facility which impressed me most, however. There’s a large lap pool overlooking the city, with a grotto to the side containing what the hotel calls the “water experience” — two huge, beautiful infinity hot tubs leading to a dark, spacious warm-water (but not hot-water) bathing pool.

Andaz spa pool
Andaz spa pool
View of pool from spa entry
View of pool from spa entry

In short, I’ve rarely seen hotel spa and gym facilities that blow me away, but the Andaz’s spa is truly spectacular. I spent at least two hours at the spa one afternoon just in the water experience alone, and it’s a wonderful retreat at the end of a day exploring an otherwise hectic and crowded city.

Food and Drink

Though my friend and I are both Platinum Gold Passport members, we aren’t Diamonds, meaning we weren’t entitled to free breakfast. Nonetheless, we decided to get breakfast at the hotel on the second morning in the signature restaurant, Andaz Tavern. (There’s also a pastry shop in the Andaz ground-level lobby offering more quick and casual fare for breakfast.)

Andaz Tavern doesn’t offer breakfast a la carte, and only does a buffet, even during the weekday. Surprisingly, however, the breakfast buffet wasn’t offensively priced (as I’d expected it to be), but was ¥3000 per person, or just a little under $25.

The restaurant itself is beautiful, with soaring ceilings and, of course, knockout views.

Andaz Tavern restaurant
Andaz Tavern restaurant

There are sculptures hanging from the ceiling lending to the airy atmosphere.

Andaz Tavern restaurant
Andaz Tavern restaurant

The breakfast buffet was, to put it mildly, abundant. There were a variety of juices.

Andaz Tavern breakfast buffet
Andaz Tavern breakfast buffet

And an entire table devoted to bread and pastries.

Andaz Tavern breakfast buffet
Andaz Tavern breakfast buffet
Andaz Tavern breakfast buffet
Andaz Tavern breakfast buffet

Another table was devoted to smoked salmon, cream cheese, charcuterie, and cheeses, while yet another was dedicated to dairy and yogurt parfaits.

Andaz Tavern breakfast buffet
Andaz Tavern breakfast buffet

The fruit selection was not something you’d see in America, with the most adorably sized selection of bananas, berries, plums and apples.

Andaz Tavern breakfast buffet
Andaz Tavern breakfast buffet
Andaz Tavern breakfast buffet
Andaz Tavern breakfast buffet

There was an omelette station as well as selection of waffles, Nutella-filled brioche french toast, and scrambled eggs.

Andaz Tavern breakfast buffet
Andaz Tavern breakfast buffet
Andaz Tavern breakfast buffet
Andaz Tavern breakfast buffet

Finally, a selection of Japanese- and Asian-style breakfast dishes, including miso cod, which was delicious.

Andaz Tavern breakfast buffet
Andaz Tavern breakfast buffet

Again, without harping on the style and design of the Andaz, I just want to point out how incredible the restaurant’s plate selection was. I mean, whereas in any other given luxury hotel you’d help yourself to a basic if nice white china plate, here it was a visual buffet of ceramics at your disposal.

Andaz Tavern breakfast buffet
Andaz Tavern breakfast buffet

To me, this is when a hotel advertising itself as “unique” (as in theory, all Andazes do) really delivers.

We also visited the Rooftop Bar on the second night, which was partially outdoors and located at the very top of the Toranomon Hills skyscraper. The bar had views toward the south and east, facing Tokyo Bay, and was pretty, if rather sceney, smokey and packed. Drinks were not cheap — though by the standards of the New York Bar at the Park Hyatt Tokyo, they were a steal.

I actually preferred the Tavern Bar on the 51st floor, which had a more laid-back vibe and felt more peaceful, though it boasted equally impressive views, as well as a cozy fireplace nook.

Tavern Bar at the Andaz Tokyo
Tavern Bar at the Andaz Tokyo
Tavern Bar at the Andaz Tokyo
Tavern Bar at the Andaz Tokyo

Andaz Tokyo Toranomon Hills Bottom Line

I was expecting a “typical Andaz” when I booked this hotel — and surely expecting it to be the second banana to the famed Park Hyatt Tokyo.

By “typical Andaz,” I mean nice, friendly, comfortable, easy. Mildly quirky rooms, a reasonably hip vibe, but less full of itself than a W.

In truth, the Andaz Tokyo is really on another level entirely. It’s truly a luxury hotel, with a design and style that took my breath away. It really is hard to put into words what is such a visceral feeling, but I have tried to capture how truly lovely this property is — yet I also can’t do it justice, since it’s really a visual (sensory, even, since the scents used throughout the hotel are part of its appeal) experience you have to see for yourself.

As for service, the hosts made and changed reservations for us with aplomb, and the host at the AO Spa was terrific, just the right mixture of friendly, helpful and also genuine and unobtrusive. I think fans of the Andaz chain expect the service to be there when you need it, and out of the way when you don’t, and in this way the service at the Andaz was exceptional to me. However, the hotel didn’t give off a five-star service “vibe” as the Park Hyatt does (i.e., the sort of over-the-top welcome gestures and bows and such, bordering on obsequious) in part because I don’t think it positions itself that way.

Really, the only “con” with the Andaz may be its location, which is in a bit of an odd-duck neighborhood. However, the hotel is a quick walk to the subway and a leisurely walk to some of Tokyo’s sights in Ginza and near the Imperial Palace grounds. I actually didn’t mind it, and while it was a bit further of a taxi ride from the more “happening” restaurants and shops, the solitude of the neighborhood is appreciated after a long day out in the sensory overload that is Shibuya or Shinjuku.

In my opinion? The best Andaz out there, and maybe one of the nicest Hyatt properties, period.

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Comments

  1. Love the Andaz Tokyo! On our trip to Tokyo we did both the Andaz and the Park. The Andaz was definitely a favourite and I would recommend it over the Park which feels like it is in desperate need of a reno.

  2. Agree with all comments; last year in September my wife and I snagged a DSU when they were still taking them, and the experience was unforgettable. The staff, room, and food were all top notch and the spa was incredible. We stayed in the Grand Hyatt Tokyo, and the Park Hyatt Sydney on the same trip and both were nice…but this Andaz was the best hotel I have stayed in on any vacation.

  3. Totally agree with review. One of my favorite hotel in the chain. My favorite breakfast (and would be willing to pay for it if I was not Diamond.) A top city (infinity) pool.

  4. @Nick
    Were the “water experience” hot tubs part of a gender-segregated spa facility, or in the common pool facility?

  5. Nice review. Think it speaks for itself. I’ve got the option of staying here or Park with my Hyatt 2 night certs. What would you choose?

  6. @djibouti: The “water experience” hot tubs are in the common facility. There’s a hot tub in the gender-segregated spa as well but it’s not nearly as spacious.

  7. I stayed there with my husband and son this summer. I was able to get a rollaway bed and used the free certificates from the Hyatt credit card. We loved it! Easy walk to the metro and trains, past a ton of cheap places to eat. My son lived on $2.50 bowls of ramen. Efficient and helpful staff who went out of their way to accommodate my requests. Absolute perfection!

  8. With the fabulous subway nearby I don’t think the location is much of a problem. We stayed at the Grand Hyatt in March and loved it, but this review makes me want to try the Andaz.

  9. Agree with this review. This was the nicest hotel I’ve ever stayed in, and I am so glad I was there for 4 nights. Glad you also mentioned breakfast at the Good Morning Cafe, as that was also perfect.

  10. I love this hotel — stayed there three times. You’re review brings back great memories of Tokyo! 🙂

    One thing, you may have missed in the water experience is the funky carbonated pool. First time I experienced it was at the Andaz. I’m a fan.

    The neighborhood really is the only drawback, but fortunately it really is not too far from shinbashi and ginza. Also, there are some gems in the area. Kitty corner across the main intersection outside the hotel is a great soba place for lunch. Also, there’s excellent coffee on the 3rd floor of the building, Toranammon Coffee.

  11. The Andaz is also a Virtuoso property. The benefits we received included:

    — Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
    — Daily Buffet breakfast, for up to two in room guests served in Andaz Tavern
    — $100 USD equivalent Food & Beverage or Spa credit to be utilized during stay (not combinable, not valid on room rate, no cash value if not redeemed in full)
    — Early check-in/late check-out subject to availability

    The free breakfast and $100 F&B credit was a nice perk!

  12. Where does the ‘Andaz’ in Andaz Hotels come from?
    Is it from the hindi/urdu word ‘Andaz’, which means ‘style’?

  13. Staying here now. Great review. Had buffet yesterday morning and cost for 2 was 9200 yen. Price must have gone up. Amazing food spread.

  14. Do the Andaz properties have a club our lounge with evening appetizers/light food? I know the 5th avenue location serves some wine but not much else.

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