“Value” for money (in a city like Tokyo), this is a superb option.
Sometimes you just pull up at a place and know you’re in the right place. When my ride pulled up curb side in the Jingumae neighbourhood of Tokyo, not far from Harajuku, Shibuya, Yoyogi Park or Omote-Sando, I knew I had found a new gem in Tokyo before I walked in the door. The rooms: pretty small. The hotel: small. The vibe: totally refreshing and everything desirable.
Looking for a hotel in Tokyo is a challenging experience. Most hotels are extremely expensive by any standards, and unless you’re using points – or are prepared to sleep in an actual tube – it’s hard to know where to start. When I found Trunk Hotel on the Tablet Hotels website, it instantly caught my eye, partially because it offers just 15 rooms.
I like boutique, I like chic and I find that places like this tend to care for guests more than 500 room behemoths. I paid about $275 per night for a standard room which was by no means large, but extremely comfortable and efficient. In Tokyo, it felt like a win.
The totally stylish and eco centric hotel is perched on a hill toward Aoyama. It’s within walking distance of world class shopping, some of the best pastry on earth and one of the worlds top five sushi dens. It’s more West Village NYC boutique than midtown high rise, and gives you a really fun sense of life in Tokyo.
There’s greenery all over the hotel, with both indoor and outdoor spaces for guests to relax. The first thing I noticed were bikes which guests are welcomed to borrow, and a “Trunk Store” which is like a general store for guests and the public alike. Anything you find in your room is on sale in the store.
Upon entering the hotel, I found a modern, vibrant open floor lobby filled with locals. Reading reviews, it’s clear that this is a popular local meeting place to catch up over coffee, or a cocktail. I made the quick right and right to the actual check in area, nicely separated from the bustling lobby. From the start: this isn’t the place you send your mom and her garden club friends.
There’s no ornate entrance and you won’t find anyone wearing long tail coats and top hats either. This is modern, casual, cool and artsy AF.
The staff quickly and politely checked me in and got me on my way to my third floor room. Worth noting: they greeted me by name on each subsequent encounter, and I’m quite sure they had no idea I run a blog, for any of the cynics out there.
Small, understated, modern, Japanese. That’s pretty much the simplest way of describing the digs here, but there was plenty of luxury, or at least functional touches too. The bed was set on a beautiful Japanese wooden frame and was of the finest quality, with great linens, pillows and connectivity.
Within arms reach of the bed you could find a dimmer for room lights and power ports for phones, iPads or anything else you can’t sleep without. I loved the thoughtfulness in which they were laid out. At the end of the bed was a selection of complimentary amenities, but also a wider array of items you could pay for than anywhere I’d ever seen, with everything from minibar selections to helpful travel necessities and even carrying bags for days out.
The wifi was super fast, the bathroom offered a signature Japanese toilet with all electronic controls, a heated seat and all the other Rolls Royce style fixings which most western guests are blown away by. Looking back, the room was modest, but not in a way that made you feel like you were missing out on anything. I had great towels, a lovely shower, space for my case, plugs for my stuff and a nice view down to the charming neighbourhood below.
It wasn’t the room that made me love this place. The room was good. The place however was just so well curated, I couldn’t help but love the lobby bar, the shop (where I bought my new favourite matcha powder) and everything surrounding.
Plenty of hotels like to claim that they’re part of the community, but that’s often far from the case. At Trunk however, it was beyond obvious. Everyone in the lobby spoke Japanese and seemed to have wandered in off the street. The bar had a steady mix of comfy chairs, sofas and tables, with a solid cocktail menu to boot.
The Trunk Store though was a real treat. It’s like the hotels personal general store, with everything from bath robes and hotel t shirts to exquisite seasonal iced green tea lattes, gifts for home, snacks and anything else you might find yourself needing at a random time of day. I ended up buying some of said matcha powder to take home, as well as well curated gifts.
The outdoor beanbags, cool mist and free bicycles were awesome too. Tokyo is incredibly hot during the summer, and being able to cool off under a shady tree, or grab a bike to at least enjoy a breeze while you move around the city made life feel easy – and when you’re on vacation, it’s nice for life to feel easy.
There’s no pool here, nor is there a gym, but I really didn’t mind. Minutes away from Yoyogi Park, I chose to run instead. Afterward, I discovered that the restaurants serve up two takes on great food. The Trunk Kitchen offers fusion items with excellent attention to sourcing, while Trunk Kushi is a more unique and local style focused on kushiyaki grilled food concepts. Both are excellent, but it’s Tokyo – so you should go out anyway, at least once.
Why I’ll Be Back
The bed may have only had just enough room to sleep two, but it was genuinely comfortable and the room itself was perfectly laid out to give you everything you actually need. I’m coming back because ultimately the price is right, the staff attitude is lovely and the neighbourhood is second to none if you enjoy world class shopping, out of this world dining and a side of Tokyo that makes you want to hop back on a plane as soon as you get home.