All images © Keio Plaza Hotel
Hello Kitty Heaven at the Keio Plaza Hotel
The Keio Plaza Hotel is located right in the heart of Shinjuku, less than a 10-minute walk from the world's busiest station, which makes it extremely accessible by bus or train. However, thereís a plethora of activities on tap for travellers in the area, without having to set foot on public transport. Have a picnic in the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden and then visit the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building observation deck to get a birdís-eye view of the city for a fun and entirely cost-free afternoon. Another day, you could visit a cat or an owl cafe, go shopping and grab a bite to eat at Kabukicho and finish the day off with dinner at an exciting Robot Restaurant.
As I was led to my room, I could feel my excitement growing. Of the 1,438 guest rooms across the two soaring towers of the Keio Plaza Hotel, I was lucky enough to be staying in one of the eight Hello Kitty-themed rooms. It didnít disappoint; it was like Iíd died and gone to Hello Kitty heaven. The room was over-the-top in the best way, with walls painted to resemble the Sanrio Puroland (which is 30 minutes by train from the hotel) and photos of Hello Kitty herself at the hotelís grand opening. Sitting on the bed was a take-home special edition Hello Kitty doll, complete with trademark Keio Plaza eyelashes, rosy cheeks and miniature robe (along with a larger, matching robe for me). Moving to the bathroom, I was delighted to find a pink tub and all Hello Kitty amenities.
But if the kawaii feline isnít your thing, the hotel also offers a number of other room types such as the traditional Japanese suite with tsubosan and a Japanese cypress bath. However you choose to stay at the Keio Plaza Hotel, you will experience the sophistication and culture encompassed by the Japanese hospitality philosophy of omotenashi.
The hotel is a food-loverís dream come true, with 15 restaurants and seven bars on site serving everything from delicate French and Italian cuisine to the finest cuts of steak, to traditional teppanyaki and sushi. A recent addition is the Premier Grand Club Floors: 111 suites and premium club rooms, plus the Premier Grand Club Lounge on the 45th floor and a renovated Sky Lounge Aurora where you can enjoy your sake 160 metres above the ground. If youíre staying in a Hello Kitty suite, you will be greeted each morning with an extra-special Hello Kitty breakfast, complete with Hello Kitty-shaped sandwiches, omelette and delicious beverages.
Keio Plaza offers a range of cultural experiences with the intention of helping guests to ďexperience the beauty of Japan from within the hotelĒ. Thereís the Sado tea ceremony held in the So-fu-an tea room, the Ikebana flower arrangement workshop with flower artist Hiroki Maeno, the Yukata casual kimono experience and a range of traditional craft exhibitions. And when itís time to unwind at the end of the day, guests are free to enjoy the sky pool or the fully equipped gym.