On my second Christmas in Japan, I decided that I was not going to sit stay in my one-room apartment and eat fried chicken while being homesick. No indeed; I was going to take an expensive research trip to Tokyo by myself to work on a novel and eat fried chicken there, instead. And I chose, for my Christmas Eve, to make a single night's reservation at the Hotel Nikko Tokyo in Odaiba.
The holiday price wasn't for the faint of heart - long in the habit of budget travelling, my instincts rebelled at the 40,000 yen-per-night price tag. (You really don't want to know where I slept over the remaining two weeks of the trip.) But the Hotel Nikko delivered a top-notch experience I still consider to be one of the best I've had in Tokyo.
First of all, the hotel is incredibly well-placed. It's less than two minutes' walk to the Aqua City Odaiba shopping centre, as well as many of the nice restaurants the area has to offer. DECKS Tokyo Beach is just a stroll down the boardwalk. The Yurikamome station (not quite a proper monorail, but pretty close, by all appearances) is a hundred or so paces from the front door. And, of course, the Hotel Nikko offers one of the best views in this city - Tokyo Bay, particularly resplendent during the holiday season, when everything is lit by festive lights. During my visit, hotel guests were also treated to a special sleigh bell performance in the lobby, given by the employees.
The rooms are spacious, clean and comfortable - I had so much space, I could have hosted a party in there. Again, the view was where the money went, as the Nikko categorizes its rooms by what is visible from the balcony. You may choose the Port View, Park View, Ocean View, Rainbow Ocean View, Rainbow Tower View or Superior Ocean View for a standard room, and of course luxury and premium rooms are also available, for the right price. My Rainbow Tower room, among the more costly options, offered a fantastic view of - wait for it - the Rainbow Bridge and Tokyo Tower.
My favourite feature of the Nikko was, by far, the spa. It is of the same type you might find in a Western hotel, but the finishing touches were fully Japanese, from the bamboo decor in the changing rooms to the spacious rooftop open-air bath. Guests are provided with robes and towels, toiletries, and even a bottle of spring water as they tuck their possessions into neat rows of lockers. The pool with its view of Aqua City's promenade was fantastic in the nighttime, but seeing the sunset on the Bay and all the lights of Tokyo was by far the best from the open-air bath. Both are highly recommended! For those nervous about trying hot springs but wanting to get the Japanese spa experience, this is a good, if overly modern, option. Bathing suits are required and the rooftop bath is mixed-gender.
My stay at the Hotel Nikko Tokyo was brief but fantastic, and really served to recharge me for the long few weeks ahead. If you're looking for a luxury hotel in Tokyo, this is your spot - it has all you could ever need, for either a short or a long-term stay. I would go back there in a heartbeat - though it'll be a while before I'm feeling indulgent enough again for the Rainbow Ocean View's price tag!
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When I was young, I dreamed of going overseas and having a great adventure. By the time I was in university studying Japanese, I knew that place would be Japan. After three years teaching and learning Kansai-ben in the one and only Osaka, I returned to Canada. Lately I've enjoyed blogging and writing stories about my second home, so that others can share the places I knew and loved - I'll definitely go back there someday soon.