Earlier this month , we’d been on a one week trip to Tokyo to attend an award ceremony and for the first two days we were put up at the Tokyu Stay, an extended stay hotel in Akasaka. A thirteen or fourteen story building ,the Tokyu Stay’s frontage was deceptively small , but inside it opened out with 200 rooms arranged around a central courtyard. It was roughly comparable to a Holiday Inn in the U.S but there were several interesting differences.
Sizewise , the room was definitely smaller , perhaps 3/4 that of a U.S hotel room . Not surprising , because the Japanese are smaller in stature. We found it perfectly adequate , if a l-i-t-t-t-le bit cramped. However , there were many , many things about it that we loved.
The first was the mattresses and pillows , which had just the right amount of firmness. In the states , I find the mattresses too soft . Some may equate that with luxury but , as for me , I am not comfortable sleeping on them . I also loved the temperature controls . At the Tokyu Stay , the room thermostat allowed guests to adjust the room temperature to the exact temperature they desired .After a bit of mental math , converting degrees Farenheit to degrees Centigrade , we did just that and were comfortable throughout the night .
My biggest applause though was reserved for the toilet amenities where we got our first experience of the Japanese toilets we’d only read about . To begin with , the toilet seat was heated which , in the middle of winter , is a source of enormous well-being . Blessings be on its inventor , surely one of the great benefactors of mankind. Blessings also on the head of the person(s) who invented the various controls on the Japanese toilet. Our toilet had a “shower” and a ” bidet” function . When the proper button was pressed , a strategically aimed jet of water cleansed one’s nether parts . Pressing another button halted the flow . These refinements enabled one to avoid using toilet paper ,if one so desired. This was an important consideration because the toilet paper in Japan , as in many other countries , is tissue thin and maddeningly non-absorbent.
One other thing we noticed about the bathroom amenities was that the body wash , shampoo , and conditioner were in large , refillable pump dispensers . A refreshing change from the dinky little dispensers in U.S hotel rooms . But then , Japanese hotel guests do not think that the room price entitles them to make away with th the soap, shampoo, etc .
Our hotel stay entitled us to breakfast and we were given breakfast coupons for the adjoining Jonathan’s Cafe , part of a Tokyo restaurant chain. There we had a choice of set breakfasts , four of them Western style , four Japanese style . I had the Western # 1 … scrambled eggs, one slice of toast ( 3/4 inch thick), a paper-thin slice of ham , one sausage , coffee and juice with free refills. Both the ham and the sausage were very tasty but it would have been more enjoyable if the food had been hot instead of merely lukewarm . Even the coffee wasn’t hot as we have come to expect. However , the waitress was so obliging and polite we didn’t feel like asking her to warm up everything.
One other thing we noticed at the restaurant is that everything was rationed out ; there was no waste . Patrons got one sausage , one slice of ham , one slice of toast, one pat of butter and one little container of jam . (Elsewhere, we noticed that even paper napkins and tissues were doled out very sparingly .) A welcome change from the U.S where there is so much waste at the all-you-can eat buffet tables. It also explains why Tokyo is so clean and litter free.