Korea Trip 2010, Part 2: Excel Hotel Tokyu


Continuing from Part 1: Flying to Tokyo....originally we were supposed to have a 3 hour layover at Narita Intl Airport then go straight to Inchon Intl Airport in Korea but there was delay for one reason or another and we got to stay in Tokyo overnight!

We got vouchers for a one night stay at the Excel Hotel Tokyu and for a free dinner and breakfast. We didn't get to go anywhere outside the hotel since we were scheduled for a morning flight to Korea but nonetheless we had a great time~

We were given a paper with directions on how to board the bus to get the hotel, when to return to the airport etc written in English and our new tickets. Then we were put on a shuttle to the hotel. It was raining so the exterior shot of the hotel is awfully gloomy. And my stupid camera handles motion shots as well as it handles macro shots so -_-;;

Airport shuttle then a (blurry) exterior of the Excel Hotel Tokyu. Bottom: the foyer of the hotel.
The hotel had a flower shop and gift shop (selling the famous Japanese Kitkats!) right across the entrance. The inside of the hotel was quite nice, lots of white marble and everyone spoke English to some degree. I have the say the service is on a whole new level of amazing in Japan - they actually have people that just greet people at the door :\ At first it seemed like an enormous waste of manpower but then again it's a job. Not to mention, after seeing Korea as well I realized it's simply that "service" has a whole new meaning in Japan/Korea. Seriously, they just go above and beyond and no tips are expected! Wait till I tell you about what happens when your car breaks down in Korea....

Anyway, we were quite efficiently booked into a room...

When we first got into the room we couldn't figure out how to turn on the lights or A/C so we had call room service. As it turns out you put the keychain into the plastic slot by the door and that "activates" the electricity and A/C. That way when you leave (taking your key w/ you), all the electricity in the room automatically shuts off thereby saving electricity! Whattt?! ahah so environmentally friendly! The only con is that it was bloody humid and hot in Tokyo that day so every time we returned to the room it was like a sauna. Neway, the room had a robe (wheee) and slippers! That really charmed me for some reason...The hotel room itself was clean and neat and "American" in many respects excluding the electricity-conserving aspects. I could tell the hotel is on the old side but it was certainly well maintained.

For me the most fascinating experience was the bathroom. It was legit a hobbit's bathroom. A STARVING hobbit's. But I liked how everything was made from one piece of plastic?...well there were no tiles and things that involved grout. I hate tiles in bathroom, in fact I hate almost anything that presents an opportunity for mold to grow between the cracks in bathrooms.

Tangent: One Japan/Korea characteristic I am very fond of is their penchant for bathrooms that can literally doused in water and not mold. For example, in Korea (and in this hotel room) there was a drain on the floor for water to drain out; so you could literally just spray the shower nozzle willy nilly and all the water would conveniently go down the drain. Everything was made of things that could get wet so no worries about mold. I'm not too sure about Japan but I know in Korea, people do just about everything from laundry to showering in the bathroom so it's a necessity to have a well-ventilated, water-resistant bathroom. This means no wooden cabinets and painted walls. And no shower curtains most of the time b/c splashing is no problem. Also all the toilets were the butt-washing/drying kind ahahha. It was an interesting experience needless to say :D especially since I couldn't read which buttons were supposed to do what ;)

OKAY moving on...after we settled in we took our dinner voucher up to the top floor. We had a choice between Chinese, Japanese or American cuisine and being in Japan we decided on the Japanese restaurant.

We received this meal and it was quite good~ It was noodles, this soy sauce-y thing you dip the noodles and small dish of fish and spring onions (or was it chives?) on the side. There was also a small bowl of eggs with bits of seafood mixed in. The amount of food was small on American standards but I found it quite filling and felt very light and healthy :D Also I couldn't take any pictures because it was dark outside but the VIEW was amazing. I think we were on the 22nd floor and being able to eat (for free no less!) in front of a panoramic night-scape of Tokyo was just...wonderful.

The next morning we went to the first floor for a quick breakfast buffet.

Miso soup + liche.
There was a ton of food, I kid you not. Rice, scrambled eggs, toast, miso, liche, apples, coffee, water, OJ, and this delicious tea that had a strange name...it was called something that sounded unappetizing (sour vinegar tea or something) but was very refreshing! I was too busy eating to take pics except these two...love the curly float-y things...they looked like hard little spiral crackers but I saw this granny drop them into her soap and tada! I also tried liche for the first time and what do you know, there are huge seeds in the middle O_o

After eating we strolled around and found the crown jewel of the hotel - a huge garden!

There was also a rock garden (top right) but it didn't hold a candle to the lovely rock-less? garden. Apparently they hold weddings on the porch by the pond. The porch leads to a wedding hall inside as well. The koi were as big as my arm and little stone path pleases me. It reminds of Miyazaki movies - mysterious and charming... It's a pity that I didn't take more pictures but there were 3-4 for bridges among the trees, very romantic.

They also had this beautiful purple flowers I've never seen before. It befuddles me why only the buds around the edges open. We also came across this lovely house which was a block away from the hotel. Someone told us it was shrine...? But it looked very house-y to me as there was laundry hanging up and a lovely veggie garden on the side.

[EDIT 6/29/12: Omg I finally know the name of this flower! It is called 'ajisai' or a hydrangea. I did think the flowers looked a lot like hydrangeas but the buds in the center really threw me off. Turns out that hydrangeas bloom in two different ways - in mophead/pompom formation or in lacecap formation with sterile blooms on the outer edges and fertile buds in the middle!]

The trees please me. Especially the round bubbly one on the left. Sadly, afterwards we had to head to the airport. Overall, our stay at the Narita Excel Hotel Tokyu was quite nice! It got decent ratings as well so it seems they are consistently provide good service.

A quick jaunt in the Narita Airport...

LT: The gift shop right next to Gate 36. RT: cute chickies...I would feel bad to eat them :(

And we were off to Korea!

1 comment :

  1. i remember visiting japan and the service was AMAZING!!! they were so friendly and helpful~ love their customer service~


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