By David Parmer
In Yokohama’s Minato Mirai area, there are quite a few hotels with a nice view.
In the luxury class, we have The Royal Park Hotel, The Pan Pacific Yokohama Bay Hotel Tokyu, and The Intercontinental Yokohama Grand. I have stayed at all three of them. In this article I'd like to tell you my personal opinion about each and give you some tips to help you decide on the right hotel for you.
The Royal Park Hotel
The view from all rooms here is spectacular! (see the article titled “Yokohama’s Royal Park Hotel: Sleeping in the Sky!”) Looking out its windows, there is nothing at the same height as your eyes! The regular rooms are 27 square meters and you can enjoy a wide range of fine scenery through the big clear windows.
The east faces the bay area, the west side faces Mt. Fuji and city view, the north view is of the Tokyo metropolitan area, and the south view faces Chinatown, Yamashita Park, Negishi Bay and so on.
It's only about 5 minutes walk from JR Sakuragi-cho station and 8 minutes from the Blue line Sakuragi-cho subway station. There is a huge shopping mall in the same building (Landmark Plaza). But it is a bit far from the Minato Mirai subway station and the National Convention Hall. Although the restaurants have stunning views, they are a little expensive. But instead of those restaurants, there are plenty of other choices near the hotel.
The Pan Pacific Yokohama Bay Hotel Tokyu
This hotel is the nearest to the Minato Mirai subway station (the Minato Mirai line has direct access to Shibuya in Tokyo). A post office, convenience store, food court, and Minato Mirai Hall (a nice concert hall) are all very, very near. It is between the other two hotels, and connects to Queen's Square shopping mall.
Several days into your trip, you might not feel like having anymore big meals. A good solution is is the food court or cafes downstairs in the mall. Just go down several steps from the hotel entrance, and you can feel completely relaxed. This hotel has larger guest rooms than other two. Even if you reserve a standard room, you have 40 to 55 square meters. The room has a private balcony with a small table set. You can go out onto the balcony and feel a nice sea breeze on your face. From all park view rooms, the Ferris wheel, called Cosmo clock, which is nicely illuminated at night, is just in front of you. And their restaurant, Cafe Tosca, on the 2F is wonderful. They serve buffet style meals every day of the week.
The Intercontinental Yokohama Grand
The Conference Center is next door of this hotel. And the National Convention Hall and Exhibition Hall are both also near there. I’m pretty sure this is the best hotel if you need to go to Pacifico Yokohama.
The view from all the bay view rooms is basically a seascape. You can also see the Yokohama Bay Bridge arching gracefully over the water, boats passing in and out of the bay, and people enjoying jogging walking and fishing. If you want brilliant city illumination, you could choose a park view room. But the angle of the scenery might be less attractive than at the other two hotels. The rooms are 31-38 square meters for a twin or double.
The Ocean Terrace (buffet restaurant) on the 1F and La Vera (Italian restaurant) on the 2F serve pretty nice food. They also have a free WiFi service called FreeSpot (see the article “FreeSpot: Free WiFi Spots for Mac users in Yokohama”). I checked the connection using my iPad, and it worked very smoothly. The hotel will give you an access key, when you ask. The hotelman said, " Our guests can access the internet with their mobile devices everywhere in this hotel. But if the guests feel the connection speed is a bit slow, please let us know. We are happy to lend a mobile router at the front desk."
As a result, the best place for sky view seekers is the Royal Park, best for balcony and wide room lovers is the Pan Pacific, and best for the convention hall is the Intercontinental. For me personally (I live in Yokohama and am eager to show my pride for Yokohama to everyone who visits here Yokohama) I will use the Royal Park for my friends who are first timers, I will stay at the Pan Pacific with my family after enjoying a year-end concert at Minato Mirai hall, and I will reserve the Intercontinental for my wedding anniversary!
But finally, what I really want to say is this: I hope you have a nice stay in Yokohama!
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Japan is a small island nation, but we have a huge number of surprising things to discover here. Many of these delights can be found when you step off the main street onto small side paths. I really enjoy studying about and researching various aspects of traditional Japanese culture, and then sharing this information with visitors to Japan. I hope you will enjoy it, too! ARTICLE INDEX & PHOTOS: An index of most of my Japan Travel articles can be found at the entry page of my blog, and my photos are shown here. 日本はとても小さな国ですが、大通りから一本小道に入ればたくさんの発見があります。日本人が積み重ねてきた歴史を学びながら、古い建物や庭を訪ね、物語の舞台となった景色を眺めて、皆様といっしょに日本文化の奥深さを探求していきたいと思います。