The value of staying near Tokyo Station cannot be overstated, particularly for those relatively unfamiliar with the heaving, at times overwhelming capital city. Much has been written about the exceptional transport system of Tokyo, and this station is most certainly its beating heart, which is why a hotel like Courtyard By Marriott Tokyo Station is such an attractive option for those who want to squeeze a lot of travel out of their trip to Japan.
The property offers some of the more affordable accommodations in the area; compared to the Shangri-La and Four Seasons hotels which physically flank Tokyo Station, Courtyard is located around a 4-5 minute walk from the station’s Yaesu South exit and lies right next to the inspired Kyobashi Edogrand, a futuristic twin-tower plaza with plenty of retail outlets and restaurants. The open-air development is also located directly above an exit for Kyobashi station which gives guests easy access to the Ginza line, one of the most utilised and convenient in Tokyo. Having complete access to the city’s most visited areas, as well as a nearby Shinkansen (bullet train) stop, from the comfort of a reliable brand hotel is more than ideal.
Not only convenient by way of transport, Courtyard also sits at a nice cross-section of some very exciting neighbourhoods. You’ve got the ritzy Ginza and financial Marunouchi nearby but also Nihonbashi and Kyobashi, two areas densely populated with top-quality restaurants, izakaya, bars and casual eats. Many will be tempted to head out to famous places like Shibuya and Shinjuku for their fix of energetic Tokyo, but it’s a perfectly acceptable alternative to keep it local and just explore these two underrated neighbourhoods, both of which maintain a distinctive Showa atmosphere despite their gentrified surrounds. Plus, you’ve always got the well-known Ginza, where you’ll find some of the best big-brand shopping in the entire country, plus essential eats like Ginza Bairin and bills as well as numerous depachika (seemingly endless food halls at the bottom of department stores).
So how about the hotel itself? Well it’s located across the first four floors of the 21-storey Kyobashi Trust Tower with just 150 guest rooms split by four room types. It’s certainly business in its focus, although the contemporary design and clear love of colourful art pieces have a broad appeal. A most charming lobby is located on the fourth floor, preceded by two lone elevators that sit in the otherwise dull street-level entrance, distinguished by a large welcome mat and gorgeous oil painting by Brooklyn-based artist Diana Delgado.
Check-in kiosks and a traditional reception area (that doubles as a bar) are buoyed by efficient service, but the real winner here is the lobby design itself. Shaped as a modern city apartment, it moves away from the delicacy of traditional Japanese aesthetics towards something that feels more European, perhaps even New York, with a casual appeal worked up by imported design furniture and sightly pieces of modern art. Oddly enough, they’ve also included a lounge, which isn’t typical of Courtyard hotels, and looks awkward but is a nice attempt at providing a more exclusive area. It’s just a corner of the lobby really, although it features a small roundtable and a fridge packed with free drinks. There’s a sign above the fridge which indicates that raiding this selection of drinks is only for Platinum and Gold members, even if there’s not really any way to enforce it other than Japan’s famously honorable culture.
Guest rooms are larger than your standard hotel room in Tokyo though not quite near the level of nearby, higher-end branded properties like the aforementioned Four Seasons or Shangri-La. Still, the Editors King Room is decent in size, defined mostly by a comfortable King sized bed and quaint seating by a small window, best for those who want to enjoy in-room breakfast. This being a hotel largely used for business, not much character can be found in the design other than a brief of neat and functional, achieved with plenty of business essentials like convenient placement of all sockets, a working desk, and a comfortable bathroom.
A 32-inch wall-fixed TV is positioned opposite the bed, and the free Wi-Fi is as fast as one would expect from a business hotel in Tokyo. Inside the bathroom sits premium products from Nirvae Botanicals, although this is switched up to L’Occitane in the several women-only rooms. A mini-bar, kettle and steam iron make up the other in-room amenities.
Those wanting to fit in a quick workout can do so at the 24-hour gym accessed within the hotel. Other than that, there aren’t many amenities given this leans towards business, but anyone here for a short-term stay is best advised to spend most of their time exploring the surrounds.
Hotels in Tokyo have stiff competition when it comes to shaping their own dining scenes. Just about every neighbourhood across the city is packed with highly-rated food, so it’s admirable that Courtyard don’t try and overplay their hand here. There are two street-level dining spots for the hotel, one being a cafe and bakery officially titled GGCo, and the second is Lavarock, a restaurant anchored by grilled meats and fresh produce, as well as the location for the impressive breakfast spread each morning. Lavarock seems to be quite popular for dinner, which is saying a lot since given the multitude of restaurants nearby.
The most valuable thing here is the location, and you’ll be hard pressed to find something this affordable that offers so much to both business visitors and the intrepid traveller, especially given how expensive hotel accommodation in Tokyo is already.
THREE AND A HALF STARS OUT OF FIVE
The average nightly price for a room at Courtyard by Marriott Tokyo Station is AUD $265.
Address: 104-0031 Tokyo Prefecture, Chuo-ku Kyobashi 2-1-3, Japan
Contact: +81 3-5488-3923
The writer stayed as a guest of Marriott International.
Feature image supplied.