Old Jun 1, 19, 9:01 pm
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 26
Pre-Arrival Interactions:

We booked all the hotels minus Hiiragiya via Team Ourisman on Virtuoso rates. Booking was flawless and easy. We went back and forth for a long while when deciding on a few hotels (Bulgari in Shanghai, Rosewood/MO in Beijing, Four Seasons/Ritz Carlton/Suiran in Kyoto, etc.) and the team was super responsive and helpful in settling our plans— thank you for bearing with the 60-something long email chain from us!

Booking Hiiragiya on our own was straightforward. We initiated the request via their website, they responded via email, and we finished the booking via telephone/fax. They spoke good English and overall had no difficulties or hassles in this process, very friendly on the phone and waited patiently on the line as our fax was sent to ensure all details were safely received.

As for concierge interaction, for all the hotels (minus Hiiragiya/SS Duxton) we at least booked transportation, and for all except Amanfayun/Hiiragiya/SS Duxton we booked at least 2 restaurant reservations each. We booked activities through Fayun as well, and spa treatments at Aman Tokyo.

We started working with Aman Tokyo earliest because of the notoriously difficult Japanese restaurant reservations. Aman Tokyo was above friendly and responsive in all our needs. I found they were the best to work with out of all the hotels, always super kind in every email and responding thoroughly and appropriately to each email. I frequently changed my mind about certain reservations and they were super accommodating to each changed request, and very thorough about making sure all details were captured (ordered preferences of back-ups, alternative dates, etc.). Definitely around equal to the best of the best city-hotel service I’ve received, namely at the Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong (which was crazy good for first time visit) and Baccarat NY (where we are regulars so they take good care of us). First impressions were very strong.

The Peninsula Beijing was very good as well (and got better as time went on), just sometimes small missing details in emails but being thorough and responsive on the whole. They also had super quick turnaround time (especially compared to their counterpart in Shanghai), and I liked the detail they put in the confirmations (detailed PDFs).

St. Regis Osaka was receptive and responsive, but fairly straightforward in tone. Standard luxury service fare, didn’t prepare PDFs of the reservations (which I find to fairly standard practice across most luxury hotels, but that’s nitpicking). Also had trouble getting most hard to book reservations — successfully got one 3 Michelin Star restaurant (Ca Sento), but had trouble getting 4+ reservations after that. However, this might have been a blessing because the restaurant we ended up at ended up being a top 3 favorite meal for us on the trip!

I found the Peninsula Shanghai to be a league below the above because they almost took the longest time to respond from any concierge (minus Amanfayun, which is below), alongside not really reading any of my emails thoroughly. It felt very robotic— for example, I asked them for opinions on 2 restaurants, and they just responded with a generic recommendation (long) list of restaurants, not even acknowledging the restaurants I mentioned. Good hotels should give some sort of opinion when asked— Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong last year was amazing about giving honest feedback for example. We also tried to book two Rolls-Royces for transportation for the four of us, and instead they just replied rates on getting a minivan, not even mentioning the Royce (even though I explicitly asked for its rates with no mention of the minivan from my end). To top it off, two different concierges responded to my initial reservation request at different times, even though I had already settled our restaurant reservation with the first one— definite lack of communication/coordination there. Somewhat disappointing interactions as compared to the other hotels, especially after reading wondrous reviews of it. Luckily this was not a bad omen for the rest of our stay there!

And finally, Amanfayun. This was tough. A lot of unanswered emails, a lot of pressing from multiple people (myself, agent, Aman corporate contacts) and finally got a response. After linking in almost every China exec to our email chain we finally got some responses, but I was so worried about the level of service that I wanted to cancel and change to AmanYY. We persevered because we really wanted to see Hangzhou, and really did not like the look of the Four Seasons so we were left with no other options. Responses vastly improved once they finally acknowledged our emails and it was effortless to book the transportation and activities. However, no apology from anybody at the resort which I found odd (in person or via email). Luckily, our stay was magical here so I don’t regret coming despite the lackluster response time at the beginning.

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