As part of my quick run to Japan for a flight on ANA‘s 787 Dreamliner I found myself in need of a hotel quite close to Haneda airport. Normally I’d stay in a small room or pod hotel when in Tokyo (I’ve done a plywood box, too!) but with the subway not running 24×7 there I was concerned about getting out to the airport in time for a 6:45am departure and not spending a fortune on a taxi. There is a hotel at the terminal but the rates there for the nights I needed were rather steep; instead I found myself at the JAL City hotel, just a few minutes from the terminal.
Not being at the airport offered a few benefits over and above the lower rate. The hotel is located just a couple blocks from a subway station with a solid collection of restaurants and shops lining the path between the two. That made it quite easy for me to get a beer on arrival between the train and the hotel as well as dinner the one night I needed it.
It also meant that getting to and from the hotel was incredibly easy. The hotel offers a free shuttle but service from the international terminal wasn’t running when I arrived and I didn’t really want to wait around the second night after I returned from Hiroshima so I took the train both times coming in. With the subway running every 10 minutes or so and the fare at ¥300 (~$3.50) or less it was easy and cheap to just hop on the train.
As for the room, it was pretty much exactly what I expected from a "single" in Tokyo: SMALL. Enough room for me to dump my bag and sleep and even get into the bathroom but not much additional space for hanging out or relaxing. When I wanted to sit at the desk I found that the bed was quite close. Still, it was pretty much exactly what I needed for the nights I was there and only ~$120/night which was pretty good given the convenience of the location (the on-airport hotel was ~$250/night).
The other particularly interesting part of this hotel stay was that I needed to have some laundry done. I was on the road for 10 days with only a small backpack so the laundry day wasn’t really a surprise. In fact it was a planned part of the itinerary. And I think my clothes may have had a better time at the hotel than I did. They were certainly more pampered. The five shirts and pair of jeans I had cleaned came back individually wrapped in plastic. Then wrapped in a bow. Then stacked and wrapped again. Oh, and the shirts had wax paper or something like that folded inside to keep them wrinkle free. And it definitely worked. The clothes traveled quite well for the second half of the trip despite being jammed in the same backpack as the first half.
Overall I have no regrets about the stay. And if I find myself in a similar situation – late arrival or early departure from HND – I wouldn’t hesitate to stay there again. Lacking that time sensitivity I’d head into town, but that’s not always an option.
Read more from this Trip Report under the Dream2011 tag here.
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