Home Destinations Shangri-La Tokyo in 2023

Shangri-La Tokyo in 2023

by Jerry

When: November 2023

Where: Tokyo, Japan

Length of stay: 10 nights

Room booked: Horizon Club Deluxe King

Room got: Horizon Club Premier Room

Price per night: 158 900 JPY

Travel companion: Wife

Status / collaboration: Collaboration with hotel

*In collaboration with Shangri-La Tokyo

Shangri La Tokyo Horizon Club

Until 2019 we used to visit Japan each year with my wife, but then the pandemic happened and closed the borders of many countries, including Japan. A few months before all of this in November of 2019 we had the chance to work together with Shangri-La Tokyo and do a blog collaboration with them. This hotel turned out to be one of our favourite hotels in the world, so for four years we dreamt of going back there. I’m glad to say that finally in November 2023 that day came and we got to spend 10 wonderful nights in Shangri-La Tokyo.

This blog review has been done in collaboration with the hotel. We paid full price for a Horizon Club -level room, but received an upgrade as part of the collaboration. As always, the review is an honest opinion of our experience without sugarcoating things, which should be pretty apparent as we paid full price. I also believe that our experience with customer service etc. wasn’t affected by the fact that it was a collaboration and we were treated as any other customer. I base this on my observations between other guests and the staff.

As this was our second time in Shangri-La Tokyo, instead of just a normal blog review, I felt the need to focus more on the changes that have happened during these four years, especially after the pandemic. If you want a more comprehensive review and feel like something is missing here, I hope you’ll find what you are looking for from the previous hotel review here.

ARRIVAL

Shangri La Tokyo
This is the entrance to the hotel on the basement parking level (we used this on our departure).

In 2019 we arrived by taxi, but this time we came to the hotel straight from Osaka using a shinkansen (bullet train), which meant walking to the hotel from the station. Shangri-La Tokyo is located literally next to Tokyo Station, the main hub for all of the shinkansen in Tokyo, which means the walk to the hotel only takes a few minutes. The station can be a bit daunting because of its huge size and passenger numbers, but thankfully Shangri-La Tokyo offers a meet-and-greet service for those arriving by train.

We had informed the hotel of our train schedule including the train car we were travelling in, so that they could send someone to wait for us in the right spot on the platform. Once we arrived a friendly employee originally from Switzerland called Lorenz was there to greet us with a smile. He had also brought umbrellas in case we needed them in the rain (even though we only walked maybe 20 steps outside without any cover). I decided to take care of our suitcase even though he offered to help, but instead I let him do the hardest part, which meant navigating from the platform through the station all the way to the hotel. This made our arrival a lot easier and quicker, so I recommend asking for this service, if arriving through Tokyo Station (the service is free).

Once we entered the lower lobby of the hotel on the 1st floor, we were glad to notice the signature scent of the Shangri-La Tokyo had remained the same, because we absolutely love it. After stepping into the elevator fitted with a chandelier and crystal banisters, it whisked us up to the 28th floor where we changed elevators and continued up to the 37th floor to the Horizon Club lounge. Our check-in was handled efficiently while we enjoyed some welcome drinks and marveled the Tokyo skyline.

OUR ROOM

Shangri-La Tokyo Horizon Club Premier Room

During this stay we had the exact same room as last time, except just one floor down, which means we were staying on the 35th floor in a Horizon Club Premier Room. This category is just below the suite categories.

Shangri-La Tokyo Horizon Club Premier Room
Shangri-La Tokyo Horizon Club Premier Room

The room was as wonderful as we rembered it to be, with plenty of space, gorgeous views over Tokyo Station and all the way to Tokyo Skytree thanks to it being a corner room with windows to two sides. You can even see Tokyo Tower, if you go right against the windows and look to your left.

Shangri-La Tokyo Horizon Club Premier Room

As you can read from my previous post, the whole room just works. Everything is where it should be, the bed is comfortable and huge and there is plenty of space to put your stuff down, relax and work. The only change was that previously I was able to easily use my Netflix account on the TV, but this time I couldn’t, so we just had to entertain ourselves with the Japanese programming (the commercials are the best part), if we wanted to watch TV.

Shangri-La Tokyo Horizon Club Premier Room

Just a side note, but in Finland we are used to proper insulation when it comes to buildings and especially windows, which have at least double glazing. In most of the world, Japan included, this isn’t the case, so when the temperatures drop, you can really feel the cold emanating from the windows. This is thankfully easy to fix by lowering the thick drapes to insulate the room better – and of course the air conditioning also helps. Just wanted to mention this, if you happen to hate the cold and want to know how to remedy the situation.

Shangri-La Tokyo Horizon Club Premier Room

BATHROOM

Shangri-La Tokyo Horizon Club Premier Room bathroom

The bathroom of the Horizon Club Premier Room is clad with earthy tones of marble, the toilet and shower have been separated from the rest of the bathroom by glass doors and the bathtub has an amazing view of Tokyo Skytree, which is one of our favourite sights in all of Tokyo.

Shangri-La Tokyo Horizon Club Premier Room amenities

The Bvlgari-amenities of 2019 had been changed into L´Occitane and they had done away with the red, silky amenity bag that we had on our previous stay. Water bottles were no longer plastic 0,5-liter bottles as they had switched them to smaller aluminium bottles. None of these changes really mattered to us as we really liked both the old and the new amenities.

Shangri-La Tokyo Horizon Club Premier Room bathroom

We also usually ask for the hotel to provide us with liquid hand soap instead of a bar of soap, so our room had a large bottle of Molton Brown soap on top of the other amenities.

Shangri-La Tokyo Horizon Club Premier Room bathroom
Shangri-La Tokyo Horizon Club Premier Room bathroom
Shangri-La Tokyo Horizon Club Premier Room bathroom

Shangri-La Tokyo’s rooms of course have Japanese high-tech toilets with warmed seats and a lid that opens up when you step up to it, a TV screen in the bathtub and plenty of counterspace next to the sink. We did have small issues with the shower, because controlling the temperature was a bit difficult. Just a little nudge of the temperature control to either side could result in huge variations. Also for some reason the water coming out of the shower felt really “hard”, so you had to be careful not to use too much pressure or else the shower became uncomfortable. We didn’t have these problems last time, so either this was particular to this room or maybe there was an issue with water pressure etc. Otherwise we love the shower as it’s huge, luxurious and the water is contained within the shower instead of going all over the bathroom.

Shangri-La Tokyo Horizon Club Premier Room

CLUB LOUNGE AND BREAKFAST

Shangri La Horizon Club waffles

The club lounge of Shangri-La hotels goes by the name Horizon Club, and it was one of the main reasons we decided to spend 10 nights in this particular hotel. We absolutely love using hotel lounges, but the level of lounges varies quite drastically around the world. Shangri-La Tokyo’s Horizon Club is one of the best we’ve been to. Even though the area of the lounge isn’t that huge, it never feels crowded, and in a way it makes it feel more cozy.

Shangri La Tokyo Horizon Club breakfast

In the Horizon Club lounge you can have excellent breakfast with made-to-order items like my favourite “Eggs Royale” with lobster and caviar or even a full Japanese breakfast set. On top of breakfast there are multiple food settings throughout the day. In the evening there is full cocktail service with wines and of course champagne.

Shangri La Tokyo Horizon Club breakfast

What I especially love about club lounges is the intimacy of the space and connections you make with the staff which isn’t possible elsewhere in the hotel. Some of our best interactions were with the Horizon Club assistant manager Takano-san, who was visibly sad to see us leave after our 10 night stay. She even provided us with a farewell gift on our last day. The whole staff of the lounge was extremely nice to us and other guests and they made sure we felt like home during our stay. We even got to meet the hotel’s general manager Mr. Sutter while having breakfast in the lounge. I took note of the fact that he even helped the rest of the lounge staff clear out dishes, while he was there, so he seemed like a really down-to-earth kind of person, who takes care of his team.

When comparing our stay in 2019 to our stay in 2023, I think the lounge had seen the biggest changes. They weren’t that big, but still something we noticed. In 2019 the menus you would get when you sat down to have breakfast were like proper books that were a joy to flip through including information on where the tofu or salmon came from etc. Now those had been replaced with a simple paper menu. The selection was plentiful, but still felt a little less than on our previous stay.

Shangri-La Tokyo breakfast
In-room dining Japanese breakfast set
Shangri-La Tokyo breakfast
Some Eggs Royale
Shangri-La Tokyo breakfast

My only real disappointment was the fact that champagne is not served during breakfast, at least not for free, like it previosly was. I personally feel like there is something missing when I’m staying at a luxury hotel and there isn’t champagne on offer. However I also noticed this at another 5 star hotel in Osaka during our trip – there they had sparkling wine during the mornings and proper champagne in the evenings. I actually talked to the general manager about this afterwards and he said they will take the matter into consideration. Hopefully they will bring the bubbles back, because for me the breakfast is perfect, if they do that.

In 2019 I basically only had one “bad thing” to say about the Horizon Club. Then it was a small issue that they didn’t take my allergies into consideration as well as they should have. In 2023 however they had really stepped up their game regarding this matter as they always double-checked, if they were uncertain and always gave me the necessary dietary information I needed. During the evening cocktail hours they even provided me with special treats from the kitchen without asking, if some of the food items on offer included things I couldn’t eat.

Shangri La Tokyo Horizon Club
Special treat for me
Shangri La Tokyo Horizon Club

THE SERVICE

During our stay in 2019 we only received less than stellar service once while visiting the Lobby Lounge -restaurant on the main level, but otherwise everything was fantastic. This time there was nothing to fault in the level of service anywhere in the hotel. We tested out the spa, gym, Lobby Lounge restaurant, room service, the Horizon Club and even the hotel shop – the whole staff was excellent. And we weren’t the only ones experiencing this, because I even overheard one guest singing a staffmembers praises to the general manager after they had helped her with something. This guest wanted to make sure this reached the general manager as well, because she was so grateful.

Shangri La Tokyo
Takano-san gave these to us as a farewell present

Sometimes the excellent service was something very noticeable. Like when I told the staff at the Horizon Club that the taxi company I tried pre-ordering a taxi from said they couldn’t provide us with an airport transfer, but after a while I got an email from Takano-san saying that they had called the company back and arranged the transfer regardless. Sometimes when you can’t manage something on your own, a well-known hotel can get it done just like that.

But most of the time the service is something almost unnoticeable, if you aren’t paying attention, whether it be the bookmark that they bring to your room during turndown service or the filling of your glass before you even have a chance to notice it’s empty when sitting in the club lounge. When I left out some receipts on a counter in our room, they had placed a piece of cloth on the table and stacked the receipts there to make it look tidier.

Shangri La Tokyo
They had done this to our toothbrushes during turndown service.

SUMMARY

Shangri-La Tokyo Horizon Club Premier Room

After being away from Japan for four long years we had extremely high expectations, when returning to our favourite hotel, The Shangri-La Tokyo. At first I was a bit worried, if it could reach that level anymore, but those fears were unfounded, because our whole stay was excellent.

I want to be honest about something. For me paying a thousand euros per night was a bit high, as before the pandemic the prices were around half of that. If a Horizon Club room was priced at 500 euros, I wouldn’t hesitate paying that much. 700 euros would still be good, but a thousand is a bit too much. After the pandemic there have been lots of issues with getting enough workforce back to the hospitality industry, which I understand is a big issue. Also I understand that Japan took a big hit, even bigger than most countries, because they kept their borders shut for a longer period of time. Now with a huge influx of foreign tourists and not enough people to serve them, I get it that hotels keep their prices high to make up for the lost revenue. And this isn’t just with Shangri-La Tokyo, I’ve seen it with most hotels in Japan, especially in Tokyo. I just hope that the prices come down to a more manageable level at some point during 2024, because I’d love to stay in Shangri-La on every trip, but my budget might not always allow it with these prices.

However all-in-all this really is one of the best hotels you can find in Tokyo, so I wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone looking for luxurious accommodations, great service and a fantastic location. Hopefully this post and my previous post have given you a good look into what Shangri-La Tokyo can offer, but if you have any questions, leave a comment and I’ll answer as well as I can.

Shangri La Tokyo Horizon Club

I want to thank Ohira-san for making this collaboration possible and I especially want to thank Takano-san and her team at the Horizon Club lounge for making our stay so memorable. Hopefully we’ll return in 2024 and see all of you again!

And thank you for reading this review. Hopefully it helps you make an informed decision when choosing a hotel on your upcoming Tokyo trips.

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