Travel Planning: Fall in Asia
Review: LAX Star Alliance Lounge
Review: Singapore Airlines Suites Class LAX - NRT
Review: Park Hyatt Tokyo
Recap: Time in Tokyo
Review: HND JAL First Class Lounge
Review: JAL Business Class HND - GMP
Review: IP Boutique Hotel Seoul
Recap: Time in Seoul
Review: ICN Cathay Pacific Lounge
Review: Cathay Pacific Business Class ICN - HKG
Review: Hyatt Regency Tsim Sha Tsui
Recap: Time in Hong Kong
Review: HKG Cathay Pacific “The Wing” First Class Lounge
Review: Cathay Pacific First Class HKG - SFO
When we found out that our award routing would take us to Tokyo for three nights, in Chris' mind, there was only one place to stay - the Park Hyatt Tokyo. The Park Hyatt in Tokyo is actually an incredibly iconic hotel and we found it was very well-known around the city. We never had a problem when telling taxi drivers the name of the hotel in English and they all knew where it was. As its biggest claim to fame, for those of you who have seen Lost in Translation, virtually the entire movie takes place at the Park Hyatt Tokyo and in the hotel's signature bar, the New York Bar.
We landed at Narita around 7:30 PM and grabbed a train and a taxi from the airport, then arrived at the hotel around 9 PM. Despite getting quite a bit of sleep on our Singapore Suites flight, we were still pretty tired. Upon arriving at the hotel, we were greeted by several employees who helped us get our luggage out of the taxi and another who met us and asked for the name our reservation was under. She then proceeded to escort us through the entrance lobby and up to the hotel's actual lobby on the 41st floor of the building. Upon stepping out of the elevator, you will arrive into an atrium area with seating and amazing views of Tokyo. The area is mostly unused except in the evenings when it turns into the Peak Lounge. As Diamond guests, we were able to attend a complimentary happy hour in the Peak Lounge, which happens every day from 5 PM to 9 PM. The happy hour offered a full bar, several bottles of white and red wine and champagne, and a few snacks. The snacks were not substantial, but the happy hour was nice and I would recommend checking it out if you're back from sightseeing early enough.
From the atrium area, she took us right and led us past one of the hotel's restaurants, Girandole, which is where you can get breakfast in the morning, then through the library and finally, into the reception area. At that point, we were met by another employee who took us straight to our suite to complete the check-in process.
As I mentioned, check-in was completed in our room but I honestly was not a fan of the courtesy. To me, it was incredibly awkward to be walked into our room and to sit down in our living room, then be asked all the standard check-in questions and not be able to just relax once we arrived in the room. Luckily, it was a fairly quick process and of course the staff member was incredibly polite and professional. He explained the features of the hotel, asked us to select our Diamond benefits and then thankfully, we had the room to ourself.
Chris paid cash for a standard room and then used a suite upgrade that he received for participating in the Hyatt Diamond Challenge, so we were upgraded to a Park Suite King. We took a separate elevator that only goes to the guest floors up from the lobby to our room and the same bluish color scheme from the reception area continued into the hallways. Our doorway was flanked by ducks on pedestals, which made it look incredibly special and when we made it inside, the room was incredible.
We walked in to a completely separate front entrance hall and only after walking through that could you see any of the suite. The layout was well thought-out and had distinct areas, but was only actually separated by an accordion style wall. The suite had a living room with dining table and desk, a large bedroom, an incredible bathroom and even a dressing table and large closet to place our luggage in.
The room was beautifully appointed and the decor was timeless. There were light Japanese touches throughout, which really made us feel like we were in Japan despite actually being in a Western hotel chain.
The newest of American Express' Centurion lounges opened on November 6th at SFO. Centurion lounges are available for American Express Platinum cardholders and their guests regardless of what airline or class of service they are flying. The others currently open are located at New York LaGuardia, Las Vegas McCarran, and Dallas Fort Worth.
SFO's lounge is located airside in Terminal 3, which is SFO's United terminal. Unfortunately, I primarily fly American Airlines out of Terminal 2 these days, but we decided to book a flight to LA on United for November 7th so that we could check out the new lounge.
The signage for the lounge starts at the far end of Terminal 3 and directs you to gate 74, which is nearly all the way to SFO's international terminal. Unfortunately, the majority of the flights out of Terminal 3 are quite far from gate 74, so you've got a bit of a walk to your gate if you decide to visit the lounge.
The entrance to the lounge is quite grand and is immediately noticeable when walking up to it. The lounge is on the second floor of the terminal and the entrance has a huge two story glass wall which showcases the living wall inside as well as the staircase and wood paneling.
When we arrived at the lounge, it was quite busy and there was a bit of a line at the front desk, which took about 10 minutes. Since it was only day two of the lounge being open, there were honestly quite a few kinks that they were still working out: the first of which was how much information to give to each visitor when they checked in at the front desk and how to process each person quickly.
Despite the wait, the front desk agents were extremely friendly and handed every cardholder a grand opening welcome gift, which consisted of a gigantic cookbook written by the chef who created the menu for the lounge, Christopher Kostow, and a American Express branded candle. Despite being quite generous, the gifts didn't seem to be very well thought-out by American Express as they were quite heavy and bulky and now travelers would have to carry them with them to their final destinations and back. As a result, I witnessed several people in the lounge trying to pawn off their gifts to others so they wouldn't need to carry them.
One of the lounge's most memorable areas is the glass wall full of wine that you see when you walk into the lounge on your left. The wine wall is also seen in the dining area and one of the most fun aspects of the lounge is the wine tasting you can do. If you ask the bartender, you can get a ticket good for five tastes of wine, which you can use at the wine wall to taste a selection of 15 white, red, and rose wines from Northern California. Unfortunately, quite a few of the bottles were empty when we were in the lounge, so we were a bit limited in our selection, but it was still a very fun option.
Just a twenty-something with a full-time job and a full-time obsession with traveling. It's best to LiveTraveled.