Shin­juku’s slice of heaven

There’s some­thing about Tokyo that makes it a lovely city to visit. Syida Lizta Amirul Ih­san ex­pe­ri­ences the finest Ja­panese hos­pi­tal­ity at a lux­ury ho­tel in Shin­juku

New Straits Times - - Jom! -

2-2-1 Nishi-shin­juku, Shin­jukuku, Tokyo, 160-8839 Ja­pan

81 3 3344 0111

www.keio­plaza.com

From Narita Air­port, take the Narita Ex­press that runs every 30 min­utes to Shin­juku Sta­tion (3,910 yen (RM152) one way, 4,000 yen round-trip). At the sta­tion, look for Cen­tral West Exit and the ho­tel is less than five min­utes on foot.

The new Pre­mier Grand Floors, with 100 club rooms and 11 suites offer ex­cel­lent rooms with great ameni­ties. Spread over five floors, this is a new cat­e­gory of rooms in­tro­duced in De­cem­ber last year for dis­cern­ing trav­ellers.

The Club Lounge of­fers ex­cel­lent food, es­pe­cially the Ja­panese break­fast set. Other­wise, the Western dishes are great too. There are two tow­ers of the ho­tel, boast­ing 15 eater­ies and seven bars.

There’s a small park next to the Gov­ern­ment Build­ing where chil­dren skate­board on week­ends and Toky­oites take leisurely stroll when the weather is cooler. Other­wise, if you are head­ing any­where in the city, Shin­juku Sta­tion serves as a good base.

Hara­juku, for ex­am­ple, is just two sta­tions away and Ueno, where the fa­mous Ameyoko­cho mar­ket is lo­cated, is 16 via the Ya­man­ote line.

Ex­cel­lent ser­vice - this is Ja­pan, af­ter all. Food qual­ity is su­perb, room is ex­cep­tion­ally clean. There is not a sin­gle spot on the win­dows.

Noth­ing I can think of Sta­tion’s Cen­tral West exit, the bustling area is at the ho­tel’s doorstep. My usual din­ner des­ti­na­tion is the soba vend­ing ma­chine eatery where a hearty bowl of the Ja­panese noodle costs 430 yen, about RM16. There’s some­thing about soba in Ja­pan that tastes dif­fer­ent than what I usu­ally get here.

The Stand­ing Sushi Bar is an­other favourite. There’s a stand­ing space for 12 peo­ple and the chefs pre­pare your sushi in front of you. It’s the fresh­est sushi you can get, with the nori (sea­weed) still crisp as you sink your teeth into it. Din­ner for a small eater cost about RM25, quite rea­son­able con­sid­er­ing Tokyo is an ex­pen­sive city.

Oh, and did you know Shake Shack, the Amer­i­can es­tab­lish­ment, is also in var­i­ous lo­ca­tions in Tokyo? One is nes­tled at the far end of Shin­juku South, in front of home­ware store Franc Franc and near Takashimaya. The out­let serves great burg­ers and ex­cel­lent shakes for tourists want­ing Amer­i­can food.

HARD TO LEAVE

I re­quest for a 1pm check-out and had ini­tially planned to go to Hara­juku for a short spree. But at 9.30am, I re­alise that this piece of heaven doesn’t come of­ten in Tokyo so I de­cided to stay in and savour my room.

I take a long, lux­u­ri­ous shower with the L’Oc­c­i­tane toi­letries and wrap my­self in the fluffy and su­per ab­sorbent Imabari towel, a far cry from nor­mal ho­tel tow­els. I no­tice the Ja­panese iden­ti­ties in the room - muted colours and Ja­panese pa­per mak­ing up its lamp­shade.

I ap­pre­ci­ate the clean lines of the fur­nish­ing and the space. Ah, space is the best bit of lux­ury. I can un­pack my suit­case, lay my things on the car­peted floor and still have space to move. I lie on the bed and won­der how many peo­ple test the pil­low to get the right hard­ness that tired trav­ellers can fall asleep the minute they close their eyes.

At 1pm, I bid heaven good­bye. It isn’t easy but the sub­lime and lux­u­ri­ous ex­pe­ri­ence, for a mere mor­tal like me, is price­less. The Imabari towel comes from a re­gion famed for its soft tow­els.

L’Oc­c­i­tane ameni­ties in the room. The Ja­panese Tatami suite for fam­i­lies want­ing to ex­pe­ri­ence tra­di­tional Ja­panese rooms. The Club Lounge serves ex­cel­lent break­fast, over­look­ing Shin­juku.

The Pre­mier Grand room at Keio Plaza Ho­tel gives guests the lux­ury of space.

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