With 206 guestrooms and suites, the Strings by InterContinental Tokyo is a medium-sized hotel that’s best suited to those that have business in South Tokyo, thanks to its location in Shinagawa.
Occupying the upper floors of the Shinagawa East One Tower, the Strings by InterContinental Tokyo still feels well-maintained and contemporary despite opening in 2003 – join Australian Business Traveller as we explore this 5-star property.
Location & Impressions
Despite its South Tokyo location, the Strings by InterContinental Tokyo is easily accessible due to its proximity to Shinagawa station (located on the Yamanote Line), the only station apart from Tokyo station on this line that is a stop for the Shinkansen high-speed train.
The hotel is located a short walk from the station, which means you can easily access the airport via rail – Haneda is less than 15 minutes by train, while Narita is just over an hour away. Meanwhile, if you need to head into Tokyo proper, the train takes just 10 minutes from Shinagawa station to Tokyo station, or around 20 minutes by car.
The main lobby of the hotel is located on the 26th floor of the Shinagawa East One Tower, with rooms occupying floors 27 to 32.
The lobby is well decorated, with soaring ceilings, a small Japanese pond and other seasonal touches that make it feel unique. Check-in staff speak English well, and we’re also presented with a hot towel on arrival – a nice touch – before being whisked up to our Premier Room.
Premier Rooms range in size from 35 – 40sqm, with twin rooms slightly larger than double rooms. The size of the rooms aren’t exactly small by Tokyo standards, but they did still feel a little too cramped because of all the furniture in the room.
Décor inside the rooms is inoffensive and modern, but didn’t really stand out in particular. The room layout makes good use of the large windows, overlooking Shinagawa station and Tokyo.
When you first enter, there’s a small hallway with storage space, leading into the main room.
With a king-size bed, a small working desk, and a sitting area all in one space, there’s not a huge amount of room to move around.
We did the find the bathrooms to be larger than the average Tokyo hotel, with a separate bath and walk-in shower...
...although no his-and-hers sinks.
Other features included an espresso machine, and an iPod speaker / charger – there’s also plenty of sockets around the room for plugging in your own devices, although you will need an adapter for Australian plugs and a step-up converter for any high-powered devices that usually draw 230 volts in Australia.
Added perks for guests staying in Premier rooms also include a 20% discount on laundry, late checkout, and complimentary newspapers.
Unfortunately there’s no Club Lounge level at the Strings by InterContinental Tokyo, which was disappointing considering how business-focused the hotel is.
In-room WiFi is fast and free, and we generally didn’t have connection issues when moving about through the hotel. Since, there’s no Club Lounge level and the lobby can be noisy, you’ll have to make do with working in your room.
The work desk provided is not exactly large, and the office chair is more stylish than comfortable, so if you’ve got a lot of work to do after meetings you’ll want to keep that in mind.
Within the hotel is a ‘business corner’ where basic tasks like photocopying and printing can be taken care of.
A breakfast buffet is provided at ‘The Dining Room’ restaurant in the lobby – featuring a decent mix of Western and Japanese dishes, The Dining Room also hosts lunch, teatime and dinner throughout the day.
The Strings by InterContinental Tokyo also features a Cantonese restaurant, China Shadow, on the lobby floor, although we didn’t dine there.
For those looking to unwind, there’s a Bubbles bar serving up champagne and cocktails, along with small bites of food.
If you’re after Japanese food, there are more options within the Shinagawa East One Tower itself, as well as at next door's Atre Shinagawa shopping centre. On the other side of Shinagawa station is the Shinatatsu Ramen Street, a well-regarded ramen destination with 7 different ramen restaurants serving up their own take on the dish.
The Strings by InterContinental Tokyo features a small fitness centre, with a limited range of cardio machines, some weight machines, and free weights, plus a ‘mist sauna’.
With no full-service spa, or swimming pool, there’s not too much else to do within the hotel. If you’ve got spare time, the proximity to Shinagawa station means you can easily catch a train out of Tokyo for a day trip, or head into Tokyo itself to sight see.
While the Strings by InterContinental Tokyo offers up a decent range of facilities, the cramped layout of the rooms and the lack of a Club Lounge were big disappointing. With that being said, it’s location is handy, especially if you have business in South Tokyo, and the rooms are well maintained and feature the standard amenities you’d expect from a 5-star hotel.