If you’re looking to explore every inch of Tokyo, spend a few nights in the neon metropolis of Shinjuku. Well connected by public transport, home to bustling nightlife and filled with endless daytime attractions, this vibrant neighbourhood is arguably the central nervous system of Tokyo. As you might expect, Shinjuku has an array of hotels and accommodation options, from elegant luxury stays to traditional ryokan inns.
The term “centrally located” sounds somehow like an understatement when talking about Hotel Gracery, which has a Godzilla statue as a watchman. Situated right behind Shinjuku Station, the most trafficked train station in the world, walking distance from the meticulously manicured Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden and practically across the road from the restaurant- and bar-lined Memory Lane (Omoide Yokocho), Hotel Gracery may be sky-high, but it has the city at its feet.
A five-minute walk from Shinjuku Station, the Prince Hotel has convenience, style, price and accessibility wrapped up in one tidy hotel package. The 571-room high-rise hotel serves city views, space-maximising design (a key feature in this heavily populated area) and, at the on-site Bonsalute KABUKI Italian restaurant, deliciously crispy oven-cooked pizza.
Five-star luxury in a five-star part of the city, Hyatt Regency Tokyo is upmarket living in downtown Shinjuku. The suites are the embodiment of Japanese modern-traditional hybrid design, blurring the edges of where contemporary sleekness and classic minimalism meet. With an on-site fitness centre, spa and dining options that span authentic Japanese kaiseki and teppanyaki to Italian-inspired and all-day dining, there’s near no reason to leave. Still, when you do, the heart of the city is on your doorstep.
Basic, convenient, well-located, comfortable and consistent are the hallmarks of the Sotetsu Fresa Inn chain, a group with a cluster of hotels across Tokyo. Still, this one is their most central outpost. Situated in Higashi (West) Shinjuku, it’s close enough to walk into central Shinjuku but far out enough to retain a sense of Tokyo’s neighbourhood charm. Excellent independent restaurants and bars surround it, but if you want to take it slow, there’s always the Western-style breakfast buffet at the hotel.
Capsule hotels don’t have to be dinky human-storage facilities lacking ambience and style, as Nine Hours in Shinjuku-North attests. With cool Brutalist concrete interiors, Scandi-style minimalist furniture and plug-in communal workspaces, Nine Hours looks more Shinjuku start-up than a place to crash. Stay for a ‘nap’ in the capsule beds, pop in to take a quick shower or power through those deadlines by renting a desk.
For the ultimate in comfort and convenience in the heart of Shinjuku, you can’t look past Shinjuku Granbell Hotel. In the heart of the neon-drenched streets of the lively Kabukicho neighbourhood, the hotel is just 10 minutes’ walk from the ramshackle Golden Gai bar district and just a five-minute stroll from Shinjuku Station. Opened in 2013, the hotel is sleek and modern but still welcoming, perfect if you’re looking for a stylish yet relaxed stay. One of the main highlights is the on-site art lounge, which features a rotating exhibit of exciting, up-and-coming artists and sporadic live shows.
Directly connected to the Tochomae Subway Station, Hilton Shinjuku is easily accessible if you want to explore everything the city has to offer. The 800 rooms are located between the 8th and the 38th floors, serving unforgettable city views. The design is both modern and sleek, but features warm, homely touches such as rich wood furnishings, traditional Japanese shoji screens and complimentary pyjamas.
If you’re looking for somewhere easy to crash for a few nights and have value for money in mind, Citadines is a good shout. This stylish, centrally located, budget-friendly hotel is relaxed but still offers impeccable service and high standards. Rooms come with kitchenettes and heated toilet seats, a novelty for first-timers in the city. Shinjuku Gyoen Park is around the corner, and Golden Gai and the main shopping district are around 20 minutes away by foot. If you want to explore a little further, Shinjuku Gyoenmae Subway Station is just a five-minute stroll away.
Just a five-minute walk from Shinjuku Station, Keio Plaza Hotel is a striking, 47-storey tower overlooking the picturesque grounds of Shinjuku Gyoen Park, a tranquil hideout in one of the most densely populated corners of the world. Like its neighbouring park, the hotel is a picture of oppositional harmony, where the manic and the peaceful, the new and the traditional meet. Inside the hotel are a number of accommodation options, including traditional Japanese rooms, more Western-style offerings and, for those looking for something a little different, Hello Kitty-themed rooms.
If you’re looking for a traditional Japanese experience in the heart of the city, then don’t look past Ryokan Takemine. Fully renovated recently, this ryokan inn features classic tatami mat flooring and contemporary comforts. It’s located a little over 10 minutes from Shinjuku’s Kabukicho district by train, making it accessible while still also being the perfect city hideaway.
Lucy Dayman contributed additional reporting to this article.
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