Picking accommodation in Tokyo is a mind field. Too many great options in too many fantastic locations. I’ve stayed in a dozen or so different hotels in Tokyo, and can honestly say there are pro and cons for each.
I went to stay at the Shinjuku Granbell Hotel with really low expectations. A 4 star hotel at really competitive rates was too good to be true I thought. I had originally booked to stay a total of 3 nights in an economy double and ended up extending my stay to five nights.
The hotel is located in the northern park of Shinjuku. There are many Japanese love hotels in the surrounding streets and its nearest main road is the hub of the red light district. Please don’t let that turn you off this hotel. I’m a female traveller in her 20s who was travelling alone, so safety is my first priority. The red light district is timid. I walked down the main street late at night (some nights well past midnight) in a pair of short-shorts, and I did NOT ONCE feel threatened or unsafe. The hotel is in a quiet side street so noise isn’t a problem, but its still within easy distance of convenience stores, food outlets and the famous Golden Gai drinking district. There is a metro train station (Higishi Shinjuku) located on the same block, an easy 3 min walk away.
The room I stayed in was an economy double, which was perfectly adequate for a solo traveller. A basic but modern room. A large comfy double bed with a desk. It’s not a huge space but fit a large suitcase with room to spare. The room also features a small safe (big enough for an 18inch mac if in sideways), great aircon and reliable FREE wifi.
The bathroom was sleek and spotless. Big bath with shower overhead, and modern toilet with a terrifying amount of buttons.
The only criticism I have was that the windows don’t open, so there was no fresh air. The room was designated as non-smoking, but the smell of cigarettes still permeated the room. It was unnoticeable with the aircon on. There is only a glass window dividing the bathroom and the bedroom so there would be no privacy if there were a couple staying in the room. Also the walls are very thin meaning that noisy neighbours and cleaning staff can be heard easy.
The facilities are top notch, with an entire room of vending machines, a great coin laundry (Y200 for a load), bicycles to rent (Y2000 a day) and a laptop with printer in the foyer. Also the FOH sell stamps- which is useful to know as I spent hours looking for a post office. The staff very helpful, with most able to speak English.
I ate breakfast once at the hotel buffet (Y1200) and was pretty disappointed. I ended up having a Japanese breakfast, as the western style menu was pretty lackluster. The eggs were soupy, the bacon too sweet, only tiny rolls, no fruit. The Japanese breakfast was fine. I also had a coffee every morning in the reception area (y450). The coffee was hit and miss, sometimes excellent and other times undrinkable. The reception cafe also served cold drinks (including booze) and light snacks. The rooftop bar is not to be missed. It was a beautiful view over Shinjuku, which is especially stunning at night. I had a cocktail there; it wasn’t great, stick to beer.
The Shinjuku Granbell hotel is the newest addition to the Granbell chain, which also have hotels in Shibuya and Asakusa. It does have some teething problems but these issues are all minor details. For the price it’s an excellent place to stay, and it would be where I’d book when I next return to Tokyo.
Disclaimer- in the spirit of honest travel blogging there are some of the links on this page are affiliate links. If you do decide to make a booking using these links, I will receive a small commission – but that comes at NO extra cost to you. I only make recommendations that I have personally experienced and would suggest to my very closest friends!