Review: Aman Tokyo, Tokyo

Aman Tokyo opened last December as the first city Aman.  Going completely off script from their existing business plan of very remote, ~30 room resorts, this is supposedly the start of expansion into other cities world wide, I thought we would try out their latest venture.

Aman Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan
Room type: Deluxe Room
Duration: 8th -> 11th September
Booked with: AMEX FHR

Aman Tokyo welcome sign

Getting there

An Aman that is easy to get to, you say?  Well, I just did and yes, it is easy.  Cheap however is up for discussion, but it will be a short discussion.  As it’s our first time to Japan I decided to have Aman waiting for us at Haneda airport to collect us, in case there were any language issues.  Once through customs our driver was waiting for us with the Aman Tokyo sign, which must count for half of the £220 cost for this 30 minute transfer.  It must rank as the most expensive £ per mile ride I’ve ever been on.  Whilst I wouldn’t recommend anyone does it and simply takes a taxi/Uber instead, I cannot fault the person greeting us, as he was fluent in English and very helpful.

Our flight was due to arrive at 7:20am and before arriving Aman did make it clear that our room may not be available, but we would be able to use the spa etc.  Our flight was delayed by 90 minutes as someone managed to check their bags in and then somehow not make the flight, to which I spent a good 5 minutes trying to suss out how you can even achieve that.  In reality this was about 10 seconds, as the other 4 minutes 50 seconds was spent realising that BA’s F product is the equivalent of staying in an outdated, grubby Hilton.   We ended up arriving to the airport sometime after 9am – I don’t think I’ve ever seen an airport so empty before.  It would have made for a perfect set for a Scooby Doo episode, although the sheer efficiency of getting through customs would have made for a terrible ending.   Before 10am we were at Aman Tokyo and had the room free.  It was greatly appreciated that they would do this for us, as of course they had no obligation to and some hotels would charge for an extra night.

Lobby view

Rooms

Aman doesn’t like me.  There, I’ve said it.  It’s out of the way now.  That felt good.  Whilst several staff made a note to mention that we were Amanjunkies (if you include repeat visits, as we’ve been to Amazoe 4 times, this is our 14th visit to an Aman since October 2013) and even the GM thanked us for our repeat visit, I’ve not once received an upgrade.  Not once, Aman!  Now I’m taking it personally, as every single room category was available during our stay.  Due to never having previously had an upgrade I thought it wouldn’t hurt to have AMEX phone up in advance to ask for one.  Still a no go.  I’m going to try poems, roses and chocolates next time.  Maybe a balaclava the time after that.

Oh, so back to the rooms.  Even for the standard room, sorry, the “deluxe room”, Aman have done a fantastic job.  Very spacious, beautiful views, easy to use controls, quiet and aesthetically pleasing.  Lots of ticks.  The rooms are really beautiful and well thought out, whilst keeping in line with their apparent room design across recent properties  – Amangiri and Amansara come to mind, with the bed in the middle, desk area behind you and part of the bed design and the overall minimalism of it.  The bath area offers a Japanese bath, shower,  twin vanity areas and the mandatory Toto.  Unlike at Amangiri where going into the bathroom would wake up most people in a coma, Aman Tokyo has made the doors using actual material made in this century.  Gotta love those geniuses in the design department.  I was full of praise, until the Internet kept cutting off on me and I forgot all the other nice things I was going to say.

Aman Tokyo Deluxe Room bed
Bath
View from bath
View from bath with TV
Living room area
View from room

 

Amenities

Unfortunately my poor photography skills make a mockery of the lobby, as it is simply stunning. It is the centrepiece for the entire hotel and once again like Amangiri everything is based around it.  From here you will have direct access to every facility available, except the spa, which is on the next floor.

Lobby alternative view

Aman Tokyo has a selection of available amenities.

  • Heated swimming pool
  • Spa
  • Library
  • Meeting rooms
  • Bar
  • Public seating areas
  • Restaurant
Library

It is a city hotel, which should never be forgotten when you stay there.  This isn’t an excuse for them to fall down in some areas where they do, but it is accepting the reality to not expect the same Aman product you would elsewhere.  The biggest issue with this is similar to The Shangri-La in London, whereby it’s a tourist trap and therefore a lot of people there will likely not be staying there.  Add in the larger amount of rooms and it does feel very busy around lunch times and evenings.  Due to the size of the lobby this is not as big a problem as you may expect, but it certainly removes the serene feeling that you would want.

Lobby area
Pool view
Pool view
Pool view
View from pool
Pool beds

Excuse the poor photos once again, but you should get jist that the pool is a remarkable area.  It is a great area to spend time to relax, even if you’re just reading a book by the side of the pool.

Food

I feel somewhat harsh reviewing this, as Tokyo offers so many good restaurants that we spent most of our time eating out.  So with only 2 breakfasts and 1 lunch to comment on, it may not be the best sample size.  Regardless of your view on quantitive vs qualitative statistical analysis, I’d rate Aman Tokyo amongst the worst Aman’s for food.  Sure it may look nice, but that’s where it ends.  The French toast was almost inedible, the American breakfast was perhaps the strangest interpretation I’ve ever seen and we found ourselves not eating most of what we were given.  If you are staying here you would be well advised to eat elsewhere.

Australian lamb rack
An “American” breakfast
I can’t remember, but it was actually pretty good

Drink

To sound repetitive here, but as we don’t drink alcohol I can’t make any comment on this, other than to say that the Apple juice in the mini bar tastes like it’s been there since Eve stole it off the tree.

Service

I love Aman.  I love their service, I love how they make me feel and I love their entire philosophy.  What I don’t love are the following things that took place whilst we were there:

  • As we wanted to visit so many restaurants as part of our stay, I started contacting their concierge back in March.  Sometimes responses took almost a week to come back and it wasn’t clear what was being communicated.  This got significantly better in recent months and when all the bookings were confirmed, so I’m ok with this.  I do feel though that their concierge needs to be able to communicate in English better.  At the Mandarin it seemed English was near perfect for all the staff, yet at Aman Tokyo you were not sure if you were being understood.  We also had some ideas of places we wanted to go, only to go there and find they were quite frankly rubbish and would have appreciated the concierge just being honest about this.
  • Our room was being cleaned when we came back from lunch at 2:30pm, even though we left the hotel at 11:30 and the concierge knew we were gone for lunch.  Aman normally has some paranormal sense when you are not around and will be in and out of your room before you can even blink.
  • Room service calling at 2pm to ask when to service the room, even though do not disturb was on, due to the fact that we wanted to sleep.  They kindly woke us up.
  • The GM called at 1:45 on the day we arrived, as he could not meet us when we arrived.  Whilst this is appreciated, once again the Do Not Disturb sign was on and we were woken up.  I would have thought at times some common sense should be used that if someone has spent 12 hours traveling and is in a timezone 8 hours ahead, that they may not be sleeping in the same patterns as you expect.  A simple note under the door would have done, especially if that note mentioned something about my upgrade.
  • On our last day we left the room at 12, handed the key over and told them they could have the room back whilst we just had a quick lunch.  I asked if they could collect our luggage and we discussed how many bags were there.  As we left at 1:30, we arrived downstairs only to be told our luggage was not available.  At this stage we were receiving a lot of apologies and told it would take 5 minutes for them to get it.  10 minutes later there were 3 people rushing to our car with our luggage to hand it to us.  Ok, not really a big issue, but I cannot understand how they just forgot about it and then at no stage between paying the bill and getting into the elevator that no one thought of it.
  • I could tell I was at an Aman as the food took so long to arrive that I could have hand raised the animals quicker.

 

Spa entrance

Worth knowing

  • Do not mention you know me, as your room upgrade will be denied.
  • The mini bar is free, but only some of it, and I didn’t find it clear at what point it wasn’t free.  I couldn’t find a price list either.
Spa waiting area

The Good

  • Some of the best rooms in a city hotel I’ve ever been in.
  • Even though it can get busy in the lobby in the evenings, it does still have an Aman calmness around the place, mostly due to the visuals of the lobby and how large it is.
  • There are some wonderful staff at the resort who truly cared about making sure we were happy. I’ve read other reports of people being asked room numbers constantly and asked if they were staying in the hotel, but we had no such issue at any stage.  Not having to wait for the bill is something I always appreciate.

The Bad

  • The hallway smelt like a cow had died giving birth.
  • The service is definitely not up to the best-of-the-best Aman service, such as Amanzoe, Aman-i-khas, Amabagh or Amanpulo.
  • The GM was conspicuously absent for most of the time.  I saw him once on our first day and cannot recall the last time an Aman GM didn’t at least say goodbye.
  • I would consider this over priced for a city hotel.

The Luxurious

  • Breathtaking  swimming pool, lobby and views.

Conclusion

I would stay here again, but only at the right price.  It seems that unlike other Aman’s that are priced per season, Aman is taking a city approach and charging based on availability.  If it was at the higher end of their prices I simply don’t think it’s worth it.  There are definitely issues here that need to be addressed and I’d like to believe they will get fixed, but the hotel has been open 9 months now so it should be past the teething stage.

3 Comments

  1. Thanks for the review. I think you were quite kind – I found Aman Tokyo to be a nightmare of a hotel: slow service, way too big to walk around, looks like a prison, no nice bathroom products – quite rare in a Japanese hotel. If a hotel woke me when I had the DND sign on I would have strangled someone, after a 12 hour flight sleep is so important!

  2. Pingback: Around the World with my iPhone: Tokyo, Japan – MostlyLisa.com | Photography tips & iPhoneography inspiration

  3. I do like the review. Tokyo is on my list and I’m getting old. The trouble is I travel with someone who thinks that £98.00 is already too much for a hotel room then walks around looking self conscious . What to do? I’ll think of something whether it will be Aman I don’t now but i’ll keep looking at prices.

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