One @ Tokyo

A stylish design hotel with a view of Tokyo Skytree,  it’s not hard to find a reason to want to stay at One @ Tokyo. I found five.

Reason 1: It’s brand new opened in April. Sure it might have the teething issues but I was willing to take a chance.

Reason 2: It looks cool I didn’t know it at the time of booking but One @ Tokyo was designed by renown Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, an alumni of University of Tokyo with a love of Japanese craftsmanship and a way wood and other natural materials. The facade and interior of One @ Tokyo bears the hallmark of Kuma-san’s imitable style. Curiously, the Asakusa Culture and Tourism Centre, which grabbed me by the eye balls when I was wandering the area on my last day in Tokyo, is his work too. (Read an interview with with him and see more examples of his work, including the upcoming 2020 Olympic Stadium, here.)

Reason 3: Affordability A little more expensive than the AirBnb places I looked at but cheaper than the design hotels I was attracted to, the introductory rates helped too.

Reason 4: Handy At my Airbnb I had the benefit of a portable wifi unit and power bank. Returning to Tokyo I didn’t, which made The Handy, an appealing convenience. A smartphone provided by the hotel, it’s akin to a do-it-yourself-hotel concierge that can be used to  check maps, browse the internet, look up recommendations, access the hotel’s concierge services and make free calls in Japan and 15 countries while on the go.

Reason 5: The view One @ Tokyo rooftop view of Tokyo Skytree sealed the deal for me, and its location, in Oshiage in the east of Tokyo, was a  chance to explore a completely different part of Tokyo that includes Sumida River and Asakusa.

The hotel has 5 room types: the sprawling 600 square feet Atelier and Library Suite rooms; the 300 square feet Loft room (all three have views of Tokyo Skytree); the equally spacious Universal room ( designed for wheelchair users); and the Studio Room.

My studio room.

I bagged a Studio Room. A double, the 150 square feet space is a squeeze for two but ideal for one and manages to pack a lot of mod cons despite its size. Reception made a lot of the Chromecast flatscreen TV. I didn’t use it, but I did find the wifi and Handy, erm … handy, using it to navigate the city. There were also sufficient plug points peppered around the room, including 2 plus 2 USB ports at the desk.

The bed was divine – no issues falling asleep at all, and although the website doesn’t list a fridge as one of the room’s amenities, there was one tucked under my table, while a cabinet hid a kettle and coffee maker.

The lack of a wardrobe does means the room is best for short term use. The attached bathroom includes a shower and toilet. The seat cover automatically lifts every time you walk by, even with the bathroom door slid closed, and closes when not in use, but hey, no more toilet seat arguments, right?

The breakfast was adequate although entirely Continental – cereal, pastries, scrambed eggs, bacon…. I would have welcomed some local Japanese offerings.

Offered a welcome drink upon arrival, I opted to take mine on the rooftop. Unfortunately I had to order it from the Lobby Cafe and have it brought up, and it only includes a choice of tea, coffee or a soft drink. Also the rooftop is only open from 5pm to 7pm, just after sunset. It would work a lot better if it had a full service bar on the rooftop and opened til late.

In terms of service, I contacted One @ Tokyo ahead of my stay to arrange luggage storage for 5 days while I hiked Fuji and visited Kamakura and Enoshima. I was pleased when the hotel staff responded positively, although I didn’t take them up on it in the end. The lovely Sayada, who checked me in, also helpfully checked train times and ticket prices back to Narita Airport for me.

Positives Friendly helpful English speaking front desk staff (thanks Sayada!), phenomenal rooftop view, very comfortable room, use of Handy smartphone and accessibility from Haneda and Narita airports.

Conveniences Ice and drinks machine on the 10th floor, Yoshinoya next door and 24 hours Lawson and Aeon stores nearby.

Negatives 30 minutes away from Shibuya and Shinjuku, which may not be ideal if it’s where you plan on spending time.

Overall Hotels in Tokyo are not cheap but One @ Tokyo packs in plenty for its price. I’d definitely stay again.

Best time to visit Stay for the Sumidagawa Fireworks Festival, which takes place at the end of July (weather permitting) along the Sumida River.

Will appeal to Solo travellers, media types.

Rates As it’s a new hotel, rates are introductory. I booked my two night stay through agoda.com for RM1105.85 inclusive of 10% service charge and 8% tax. Breakfast is not included but was provided complimentary to all guests.

Getting there Just round the corner from the Oshiage Station which services the Toei-Asakusa, Hanzomon, Tobu and Keisei Lines. The latter provides direct access to Narita via the Keisei Sky Access and Haneda Airport via the Keikyu Limited Express.

Take exit  A1 just off the entrance/exit to the Keikyu line. At the Family Mart on the corner take a left. One @ Tokyo is across the road 2 to 3 blocks down.

One @ Tokyo 1-19-3 Oshiage, Sumida-ku, Asakusa, Tokyo, 131-0045, Japan. T: +81 3 5630 1193 W: onetokyo.com/en/

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