Today at Japlanning we have our first hotel review for you. We stayed recently at the Shinjuku Washington Hotel, right off the centre of Shinjuku. Read on for the low down on this moderate three star hotel.
The Shinjuku Washington Hotel is located on the south side of Shinjuku Station, just beyond the electronics district, and bordering the business district. It’s location is outside the bustling shopping and attraction centre on the other side of Shinjuku Station, however the short walk to the station makes the hotel a great option for accommodation, offering a quieter environment, yet still not being completely removed from all the action. A great feature of this hotel is the connection to the underground walkway that goes directly to Shinjuku Station, meaning any weather access to the busiest station is only a few hundred meters walk away!
The hotels piercing white exterior with uniformed porthole windows covering the entire building make it quite the landmark, and it’s easily spotted from miles away. Once entering the hotel, you’ll notice that there is a Family Mart convenience store on the ground floor, which is extremely handy for a quick breakfast to take with you, or late night snack - it’s open 24-hours, so extremely handy for the jet lagged among us. The lobby and check-in is located on the 2nd floor, and accessible by escalator and elevator. It’s facilities do feel a little dated, however they do offer all modern conveniences, including free wifi, and self checkout computers - so you can skip the queue and get going faster.
Check-in was a breeze, with extremely helpful staff who got us our room, a non smoking annex twin, and even showed us to our room, taking our bags and refusing any sort of tip (another reason to love Japan - no tipping culture).
Once we got to the room though, the disappointments began: The room itself was quite small, and the style and wear of the furniture and linen made it quite tired looking. We have come to expect small rooms from most Japanese hotels, however this was the smallest yet. The real issue was that the room was well worn, and also had a distinct stale smoke smell to it. We did get changed to another room, where the stale smell was much less obvious, but still there. This was a disappointing factor of this business hotel.
The amenities in the room were very standard, with your usual Japanese offerings of shaving kits, toothbrush and tooth paste, cotton buds and bathing products. All were refilled daily, and in abundance. Along with kettle and green tea, which were also refilled daily (which was a nice touch for a morning tea before a day of sightseeing). Although the room was small, it was well organised with some very smart use of space, and it did contain places for luggage, meaning the room wasn’t cluttered with our suitcases for the entire stay. The room does come with television, however be warned that like most business hotels in Tokyo, the only English station you’re going to have is CNN and / or Fox News, however, like most trips we take, we didn’t spend much time in our room beyond sleeping.
The hotel has over 1600 rooms, ranging from single to triple occupancy facilities, and has three in-house restaurant options, starting with their fine dining restaurant on the 25th floor, The Manhattan Table, which offers Californian cuisine and spectacular views over Shinjuku. On the 1st floor, there is Steak and Syabu-Syabu Fujita, which is their Japanese offering with a dim light and a great view over their Japanese garden. The last is their cafe and bar called The Baron, which offers standard fare, which is open for breakfast and lunch, as well as coffee, and then changes to its bar scene for the night. The hotel also has many fast food and external restaurants in the basement, near the connecting underground walkway to the station.
The hotel lobby also offers storage lockers, foreign currency ATM’s, mobile recharging stations, relaxation rooms for quiet computer use (including print facilities). The Front desk offers many items for rental, from irons and humidifiers, to laptops for personal use in your room. The hotel also offers free Wi-Fi throughout. Another great feature is that the Shinjuku Washington is a tourist hub - so most day trips, Airport limousine buses, and other tourist services depart from the Washington, meaning no long walk to another hotel for pick up and drop off. The front desk can also book you on dozens of day trips and tours, with as little as a few hours notice.
The Shinjuku Washington Hotel was a nice stay, with our only real complaint being the dated and tired room furnishings and the lingering smoked-in smell issue. The hotel is a good option if you’re looking for a decently priced room in Shinjuku, away from the hustle and bustle of central area, but with easy access to it all when you want it.
Japlanning would recommend planning this hotel as a apart of your stay in Shinjuku if it is the cheapest hotel in your price range, and you don’t mind a more dated room. However, there are certainly better hotels closer to the excitement of Shinjuku and the station that are similarly priced and more contemporarily furnished.