The Strings InterContinental Tokyo Review
The last hotel stay during my Tokyo/Seoul trip was at the Strings by InterContinental in Tokyo. I used my IHG Chase card Free Anniversary Night; though a straight points stay would have been 55,000 points. Under the new rules, the Anniversary Night will not be valid at the Strings. Had I paid cash, it would have been over $400. Not a bad use of a free night certificate that cost me a $49 annual credit card fee.
The Strings is located next to Shinagawa Station, one of the larger train stations in Tokyo. In fact, you never have to go to street level to get to the hotel from the train station. There are a series of walkways that directly connect the hotel to the station. Still, it is about a 5-7 minute walk from the train to the hotel.
From the train, take the East Exit and turn right (just past the Dean & Deluca). Walk down the walkway and you will see a sign for the hotel.
Getting to or from Haneda Airport couldn’t be easier. There is an express train that runs directly to Shinagawa station and only takes about 15 minutes.
The neighborhood is mostly offices. There is not much to do around it; in fact my copy of the Lonely Planet Tokyo didn’t even mention the area.
However, due to the proximity to the train station, you can get to most parts of Tokyo without much difficulty. You will just need to take the train a few stops.
The lobby is on the 26th floor of the Shinagawa East One office building. In the photo below, the hotel are the floors with the different style windows at the top.
There is a small elevator lobby on the 1st and 2nd floors of the building. You take the elevator directly to the 26th floor and are at the main lobby.
I arrived at 3:30pm, 30 minutes after check in time. I was told that my room was not yet ready and that I would need to wait 10 minutes. I said that would be fine if they bought me a drink. The agent took me to the restaurant in the lobby where I was offered coffee, tea, or a soda.
25 minutes later, the staff had not come to get me my keys so I went back to the front desk. The staff member was just finalizing my room and handed me the key with no apology for the wait.
The room manager happened to be nearby and asked me if everything had gone okay with check in. I explained I was told it would take 10 minutes but it took 25 minutes instead. And that I was glad that I was offered a soda, but I was hoping for something a bit stronger.
The manager was incredibly apologetic and said that I should enjoy the bottle of wine (for free) that was in the mini bar. I thanked him for that gesture. He gave me his card and said to contact him if there were any issues with my stay.
Another staff member brought my bags to my room and informed me that, as a Platinum elite, he had added the 600 point welcome amenity (worth about $3) to my account and that he assumed I wouldn’t want my drink certificates. I asked about the drink certificates and he said I could either have those or the points. I didn’t remember how that worked with IHG. I said the points would be fine.
A few minutes later I received a call saying that I was welcome to the wine as well as anything else in the mini bar for free as an additional apology for waiting for my room. I was definitely impressed by the continued thoughtfulness of the manager and the staff to make sure I knew that they felt badly about the delay.
The lobby, it must be said, is quite beautiful. It is an atrium style with the rooms opening up on hallways with views directly into the atrium. The halls are glassed in so you can see down but the area remains quiet.
The lobby and night looks lovely (sorry about the blurry photo).
I have read on FlyerTalk that the rooms assigned at the Strings for those using points are tiny. I am not sure what room I ended up with, but after the warnings, I was pleasantly surprised that the room was not just a closet.
I was assigned room 3117.
As you enter the room, the closet is on your right and the bathroom is on the left. The main section of the room is not huge but fine for one person.
Next tot he bed was an outlet brick with standard US outlets as well as USB charing ports. Built into the wall was also a rather old control panel for some of the lights and a clock.
Against the large window is a couch. The bed faces the built in desk and TV.
Under the TV is the mini bar (free for me!).
The floor to ceiling window looked out towards the train station and the city including Tokyo Tower.
Back towards the front door is a closet with the standard items.
I was not much of a fan of the bathroom in my room at the Strings. It is small and oddly shaped. Half of the bathroom is a glassed in shower/bath tub area. The rest of the area, which isn’t much, is the toilet and single sink.
I did appreciate that the toilet not only had a bidet but also had the option of turning on water sounds to cover up any bodily sounds that might be made.
The actual shower was adequate. It was a just a handheld wand that could be adjusted up and down. The tub was also very standard. There were warnings about keeping the glass door shut in order to prevent the steam from setting off a fire alarm.
There is no pool at the property but there is a gym off the lobby.
My stay started off on the wrong foot, but the management was quick to make things right and then some. I only stayed at the Strings for one night. It is a great location for access to Haneda Airport though the direct neighborhood isn’t very exciting. However, due to the care by the manager, I would not hesitate to return to the hotel, especially if I was traveling via Haneda or on a quick layover.