Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Travel&Dining > Luxury Hotels and Travel
Reload this Page >

Tokyo: Conrad vs The Okura - help me pick

Tokyo: Conrad vs The Okura - help me pick

Old Dec 31, 19, 11:51 am
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 63
Tokyo: Conrad vs The Okura - help me pick

Looking for some help picking a hotel for an upcoming stay: Conrad vs. The Okura. This will be my 22nd or 23rd visit to Tokyo so very familiar with the city. I've stayed at most luxury hotels by now but haven't visited these two yet. (I like switching hotels around to keep my visits interesting.) No status with either, but will be booking via Amex Plat so would get FH&R benefits at Conrad. I'd be booking a standard bay view room at Conrad, Prestige upper floor room at The Okura. Pricing is about the same on my dates, give or take Y2,000 a night.

Conrad pros: I prefer the Shiodome location vs Okura. FH&R benefits.
Conrad cons: ?

The Okura pros: brand new, hard product looks great, I really loved the old mid-century lobby and want to see the re-creation of it.
The Okura cons: location. Keep reading about minor service issues for non-Japanese guests.

Would love some feedback, especially if anyone here has stayed at both properties. Or, if you have stayed at either recently, I would love to hear your thoughts. Especially looking for feedback regarding spa / sento, quality of concierge service (specifically, will need help booking a couple of fairly challenging restaurants + some help getting into a sumo beya to photograph practice), views (how good are the views from upper floors of the Okura Prestige tower vs Bay views at Conrad?), bars (don't care about restaurants as I will not be dining at the hotel), and overall stay.


Thank you very much.
od_sf is offline  
Old Dec 31, 19, 1:42 pm
  #2  
Moderator: Luxury Hotels and FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Palo Alto, California,USA
Posts: 17,164
Anyone can visit a sumo beya and no reservation is permitted or required. Some are more welcoming than others for foreigners. It's free but it never hurts to bring a gift of a bottle of nice whiskey for the sensei. Finding a beya can be a bit challenging, but a regular tourist office can help with that (as well as the rules for visitors, such as not pointing the soles of your feet towards the wrestlers). I suspect that policies regarding photos do vary a lot and they may well not be permitted. But you don't need a great concierge to arrange this.

I suggest you consider Musashigawa beya since it is headed by former yokozuna Musashimaru, who is a Hawaiian. Bear in mind that before the three annual tournaments held outside Tokyo,all the beyas decamp to where the tournament will be held. So whether you can do this depends on when you plan to be in Tokyo.
RichardInSF is online now  
Old Dec 31, 19, 2:07 pm
  #3  
Four Seasons Contributor Badge
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Berkeley, CA
Programs: Virtuoso, FSPP, STARS, MO FAN Club, PEN Club, Bellini Club, Dorchester Diamond Club, Travel Leaders
Posts: 1,752
Conrad Tokyo has Impresario amenities including buffet breakfast and $100 hotel credit pus double Hhonors points, if that interests you.
DavidO is online now  
Old Dec 31, 19, 2:17 pm
  #4  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 63
Originally Posted by RichardInSF View Post
Anyone can visit a sumo beya and no reservation is permitted or required. Some are more welcoming than others for foreigners. It's free but it never hurts to bring a gift of a bottle of nice whiskey for the sensei. Finding a beya can be a bit challenging, but a regular tourist office can help with that (as well as the rules for visitors, such as not pointing the soles of your feet towards the wrestlers). I suspect that policies regarding photos do vary a lot and they may well not be permitted. But you don't need a great concierge to arrange this.

I suggest you consider Musashigawa beya since it is headed by former yokozuna Musashimaru, who is a Hawaiian. Bear in mind that before the three annual tournaments held outside Tokyo,all the beyas decamp to where the tournament will be held. So whether you can do this depends on when you plan to be in Tokyo.
Thanks for the reply Richard. I've timed my visit to take place several weeks before a basho, so practices should be ongoing. And I have already read up on beya etiquette and have looked at the most visitor friendly options in Tokyo, so Musashigawa beya is already on my radar.

I will want to rely on the concierge mostly to confirm that photography is allowed (it is at most beya, but of course flash photography and loud shutters are not), as photographing practice is the main goal of my visit to the stable(s). Also, the concierge will need to help me verify practice is taking place on the day I want to visit and confirm time for beginning of practice on that day, as apparently practice schedules can fluctuate from day to day. Sure, a great concierge is not necessarily needed to complete these tasks, but having a good concierge assisting with this will certainly make it easier for me.
od_sf is offline  
Old Dec 31, 19, 2:25 pm
  #5  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Minneapolis: DL DM charter 2.3MM
Programs: A3*Gold, SPG Plat, HyattDiamond, MarriottPP, LHW exAccess, ICI, Raffles Amb, NW PE MM, TWA Gold MM
Posts: 87,157
Rough dates of travel? IIRC the Okura has a nice Japanese garden.

I'd also consider ease of public transportation (metro lines and connections required?) to the locations of your intended activities while in Tokyo. Even if you plan to use taxis or the hotel's car service, the severity and likelihood of traffic delays can vary greatly.
MSPeconomist is offline  
Old Dec 31, 19, 2:27 pm
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 63
Originally Posted by DavidO View Post
Conrad Tokyo has Impresario amenities including buffet breakfast and $100 hotel credit pus double Hhonors points, if that interests you.
Thanks for your response. I would be booking using Amex Platinum, so would receive the FH&R benefits which are slightly better: room upgrade if available, free breakfast, guaranteed 4pm checkout, and a $125 credit (on top of the very useful AMEX 5 points per dollar spent earn...)

Last edited by od_sf; Dec 31, 19 at 2:35 pm
od_sf is offline  
Old Dec 31, 19, 2:34 pm
  #7  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 63
Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
Rough dates of travel? IIRC the Okura has a nice Japanese garden.

I'd also consider ease of public transportation (metro lines and connections required?) to the locations of your intended activities while in Tokyo. Even if you plan to use taxis or the hotel's car service, the severity and likelihood of traffic delays can vary greatly.
Late October / early November visit, although to be honest fall foliage is not something I'm all that interested in.

The location of the Okura is definitely less convenient for me, but not a deal breaker. I've stayed at the Andaz (an 8-minute walk east of The Okura) many times and don't dislike the location.
od_sf is offline  
Old Jan 1, 20, 4:56 am
  #8  
Moderator: Luxury Hotels and FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Palo Alto, California,USA
Posts: 17,164
Practice at sumo beyas (stables) generally starts early, so plan to be there by 7 am (even earlier on a day when there is a tournament on) and it runs 7 days a week. But the November tournament is in Fukuoka so in late October/early November when you plan to visit, the stables will already have left Tokyo. You can watch practice in Fukuoka instead but the locations are harder to find, a local concierge there might be able to find out.
RichardInSF is online now  
Old Jan 1, 20, 9:36 am
  #9  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 63
Originally Posted by RichardInSF View Post
Practice at sumo beyas (stables) generally starts early, so plan to be there by 7 am (even earlier on a day when there is a tournament on) and it runs 7 days a week. But the November tournament is in Fukuoka so in late October/early November when you plan to visit, the stables will already have left Tokyo. You can watch practice in Fukuoka instead but the locations are harder to find, a local concierge there might be able to find out.
The November basho doesn't start until November 8th. How many days ahead of the basho do the rikishi leave Tokyo?
od_sf is offline  
Old Jan 1, 20, 9:59 am
  #10  
Moderator: Luxury Hotels and FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Palo Alto, California,USA
Posts: 17,164
Originally Posted by od_sf View Post
The November basho doesn't start until November 8th. How many days ahead of the basho do the rikishi leave Tokyo?
Not precisely sure, and likely varies by stable. Your best bet might be to ask this question through JNTO (Japan National Tourist Office). Here's a Japan Times article probably from earlier this year which seems to suggest that it varies all over the place, but can start as early as mid-October:

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/sports/...ushu-location/
RichardInSF is online now  
Old Jan 2, 20, 1:21 pm
  #11  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 63
Thanks again for the useful information Richard.
od_sf is offline  
Old Jan 6, 20, 2:01 pm
  #12  
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 71
For me the Okura location is close to a deal breaker. I much prefer the Conrad's location.

Concierge wise both are excellent. I do find the Okura concierge is willing to make certain reservations that the Conrad will not (e.g., Sushi Sawada) but generally both have performed well with complicated requests and are very responsive. Tokyo Station Hotel is still the best concierge in town in my opinion.
loofa133 is offline  
Old Jan 7, 20, 11:30 am
  #13  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 63
Originally Posted by loofa133 View Post
For me the Okura location is close to a deal breaker. I much prefer the Conrad's location.

Concierge wise both are excellent. I do find the Okura concierge is willing to make certain reservations that the Conrad will not (e.g., Sushi Sawada) but generally both have performed well with complicated requests and are very responsive. Tokyo Station Hotel is still the best concierge in town in my opinion.
Thanks, this is useful feedback. How would you compare the rooms?

ps: agreed regarding the Tokyo Station Hotel concierge team, I'm a huge fan of Ms. Mori and team and stay there often.

pps: sadly, as of last month, Sawada bookings are handled exclusively via omakase, he's no longer accepting reservations from any hotels.

Last edited by od_sf; Jan 7, 20 at 11:35 am
od_sf is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search Engine: