Review: A Weekend At The ANA InterContinental Tokyo, Japan

by | Jan 2, 2024

I spent some time this fall visiting family in Japan, mostly in Osaka, but wanted to spend some time in Tokyo as well. After reviewing options, I chose to spend two nights at the ANA InterContinental Hotel. The hotel is located centrally in Tokyo’s Akasaka neighborhood with easy access to most points of interest.

The hotel delivers on everything you’d expect from a five stay hotel in Tokyo but there are definitely some quirks which I’ll get into in my review.

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ANA InterContinental Tokyo Hotel Basics

The ANA InterContinental Hotel Tokyo is a 5-star hotel located in the city’s Akasaka area. Located in Akasaka, it’s walking distance to Roppongi and Ginza, along with Suntory Hall, the Imperial Palace, Tokyo Tower, and more. It has 844 rooms and suites ranging start at 22-28 sqm and go all the way up to the 157 sqm Miyabi Suite which has stunning views of Tokyo from large windows.

The “ANA” in the name of course refers to All Nippon Airways, the largest airline in Japan which originally developed this hotel and other properties in Japan. In 2006, ANA started a joint venture with IHG to operate its hotels in Japan.

That’s why as you travel around Japan, you’ll frequently see “ANA InterContinental” or “ANA CrownePlaza” hotels. The ANA InterContinetal Tokyo is the joint venture’s flagship property in the capital.

The hotel’s Club InterContinental Lounge is on the 35th floor with complimentary afternoon tea and cocktails. Breakfast is also available for club-level guests at the lounge. Perks include a private meeting room, complimentary Tokyobike, and a swimming pool. There are 26 club-level suites (compared to 19 suites without club access). There are also 59 club-level rooms. The rest of the rooms are divided between standard rooms and premium rooms.

F&B is a big focus for hotels in Japan and ANA InterCon delivers with twelve restaurants and bars, including some that are Michelin-starred.

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Map of ANA InterContinental Tokyo’s Location

Booking the ANA InterContinental Tokyo

I was visiting family in Osaka this fall and wanted to spend a weekend in Tokyo. For most of 2023, Tokyo hotel rates were incredibly high, and the weekend of my visit was no exception.

Even hotels that are usually reasonably priced had hiked their rates for extremely high demand (the Hyatt Centric in Ginza was over $1000 USD before tax) this year. There was no Hyatt award availability and the redemption rates from other programs unrurprisngly reflected the high cash rates.

Luckily, I had an IHG Ambassador Free Weekend Night award from purchasing an InterContinental Ambassador membership earlier in the year. After confirming the award’s eligibility, I booked the ANA InterContinental Tokyo for ¥89,000 JPY (about $630 USD) per night, with the second night free. That brought my daily rate down to a bit over $300 a night, very reasonable.

Given where rates were in Tokyo, this was a good use of the Free Weekend Night award offered with InterContinental Ambassador. Ambassador membership also provided several benefits during the stay which I’ll explain below.

Getting to ANA InterContinental Tokyo

One of my favorite things about Japan is getting to ride the Shinkansen. To get to Tokyo from Osaka, I headed to Shin Osaka and took the Tokaido Shinkansen to Tokyo Station. Since I hadn’t pre-purchased a ticket, I simply went to the station, bought a ticket, and then headed to Tokyo.

After arriving in Tokyo you have a number of options for getting to the ANA InterContinental. A taxi will take about 10 minutes while you also have a number of subway lines to choose from that’ll take about 20 minutes. I didn’t have a lot of luggage so I took the Ginza Line to Tameike-sanno Station.

Tameike-sanno Station is directly connected to the ANA InterContinental. Just follow the signs for Exit 13 for a shorter walk or Exit 14 if you have rolling luggage (about 2 minutes longer but with escalators and elevators available instead of stairs) until you see the hotel.

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ANA InterContinental Tokyo Check-in

To check-in at the ANA InterContinental Tokyo, go to the second floor. If you go up the pictured elevators to the second floor and enter the hotel, the check-in is located to your right. The hotel has a pretty impressive lobby foyer.

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I arrived around 5 pm. Unfortunately, the Ambassador check-in desk was not staffed. While I also held IHG One Rewards Diamond, there didn’t seem to be an exclusive line for elites beyond the unstaffed Ambassador desk so I got in the line.

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There was a short line but it only took a few minutes before an agent was available to check me in. Things proceeded in typical Japanese fashion: extremely polite but not necessarily the fastest.

I had booked a classic room but I was informed that I had been asigned room 2818, a “1 king bed premium high floor” room. I wasn’t sure if this was due to my Diamond status which allows upgrades up to suites or due to my Ambassador memership which guarantees a one category upgrade.

While it was described as a multiple category upgrade, in reality it’s simply a slightly larger room on a high floor. Despite Diamond status having a higher qualifying requirement (75 nights) than Hyatt Globalist (60 nights), IHG’s upgrades simply don’t compare to Hyatt’s Globalist upgrades at check-in.

For my Diamond welcome amenity, I was given a choice between breakfast, one drink voucher, or 600 IHG One Rewards points (worth about $3). Obviously, I chose breakfast. Interestingly, the free breakfast benefit for One Rewards Diamond members is one of the few incremental benefits for top-tier members over IHG Platinum elites.

Finally, I was given a welcome letter with an overview of the hotel’s benefits for Ambassador members and Diamond elites. Beyond the welcome amenity, breakfast, and room upgrade, a few additional benefits were listed:

  • Guaranteed 4 pm late checkout (this is an Ambassador benefit, IHG One Rewards does not guarantee late checkout even for Diamond members)
  • Daily complimentary mineral water (the Ambassador benefit is for water on arrival and there is no water benefit from IHG One Rewards, so this is an example of the property providing more than the program requires)
  • A ¥2,000 JPY F&B credit usable anywhere on the property except Sushi Kenzan (this is an Ambassador benefit)
  • High-speed internet (an Ambassdor benefit)
  • Single room rate for double occupancy (an Ambassador benefit)
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Breaking down whether benefits came from Ambassador membership rather than Diamond status was interesting to me. Aside from free breakfast, pretty much every perk offered at the hotel derived Ambassador membership which anyone can purchase.

ANA InterCon Tokyo 1 King Bed Premium High Floor Room

With check-in formalities completed, I declined assistance with my luggage and headed up to the 28th floor and my room. The room is laid out in a familiar layout.

You walk into the room through an entryway with the bathroom to the left and closet to the right with the bedroom laid out in a fairly standard layout.

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While I make fun of hotels breaking rooms into mini-categories based on floors and views, the view was definitely a highlight.

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I was checking in at 5 pm but slippers were already laid out next to the bed. On my next night, this was only done during turndown service.

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There was a water bottle (refreshed daily) left on each bedside table. On the left table, there was a retro alarm clock while the right table had a phone.

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The desk was pushed up against the far corner against the wall with a (quite small) tv next to it.

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There was a Nespresso coffee machine with a selection of pods to choose from along with a kettle and some tea next to the minibar. Appropriately, the selection included Tokyo Vivalto Lungo which is one of my favorites. (The other non-decaf option was Vienna Linizio Lungo.)

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The Minibar (described as the “private bar”) pricing were about what you would expect for a five-star hotel in Tokyo and didn’t strike me as particularly unreasonable.

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The hotel changes linens every two days, but gives you the option to have them changed daily by leaving a card on your bed.

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In addition to general information, on the desk there was a letter explaining that the hotel has been underoing room renovations since October and apologizing for any disruption. I didn’t notice this construction anywhere.

I asked a staff member about the construction, they said that they were starting on the lower floors and were blocking out a floor below and above to avoid inconveniencing guests during construction. While things didn’t exactly feel drab, there are definitely areas of the rooms that could use updates (old-style USB plugs instead of USB-C, more outlets, etc.) so it’s good to see they’re getting ahead of it. And, of course, minimizing inconveniences to guests in the process.

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ANA InterCon Tokyo 1 King Bed Premium High Floor Closet

The closet was located to the right of the entryway as you walked into the room. While compact, it was laid out thoughtfully to be practical with an integrated luggage rack and wardrobe.

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Amenities in the closet included all of the standard items plus a steamer and a foot massager.

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ANA InterCon Tokyo 1 King Bed Premium High Floor Room Bathroom

The bathroom in the ANA InterCon Tokyo 1 king bed premium high floor room is located to the side of the entryway.

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This is Japan. Naturally, the toilet featured an advanced TOTO bidet.

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Cosmetics are from Byfredo’s Bal D’Afrique line in bulk containers. I found them satisfactory.

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A number of common amenities were waiting in the bathroom.

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Unfortunately, the shower featured only a handheld showerhead rather than a waterfall shower which is my preference.

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ANA InterContinental Tokyo Dining

The ANA InterContinental Tokyo has quite a diverse array of dining options available ranging from Pierre Gagnaire’s double Michelin-starred restaurant on the 36th floor and Teppanyaki Akasaka on the 37th down to more casual options like the Brewer’s coffee shop.

The hotel features eight restaurants.

  1. Pierre Gagnaire (36th Floor): A two Michelin-starred restaurant by Pierre Gagnaire with French food.
  2. Teppanyaki Akasaka (37th Floor): Teppanyaki with Kobe beef and fresh seafood from Toyosu Market as highlights.
  3. Cascade Cafe (2nd Floor): Where breakfast is served, this is open all-day with an international buffet, with some regional specialties.
  4. Pierre Gagnaire Pains et Gateaux (2nd Floor): A bakery and pastry shop by Pierre Gagnaire located next to Cascade Cafe.
  5. Unkai Japanese Restaurant (3rd Floor): Traditional Japanese food with a tranquil garden and pond view.
  6. Karin Chinese Restaurant (3rd Floor): Authentic Cantonese dishes prepared using traditional methods.
  7. The Steakhouse (3rd Floor): Focused on char-grilled steaks and seafood.
  8. Sushi Kenzan (3rd Floor): High quality sushi and sashimi made expertly made fresh using quality ingredients.

There’s also a coffee shop and two bars.

  1. Brewer’s Coffee & Bar (3rd Floor): Casual coffee shop.
  2. Mixx Bar & Lounge (36th Floor): Cocktails and city views. Unfortunately, it was closed during my stay.
  3. Atrium Lounge (2nd Floor): Next to Cascade Cafe, the menu features light snacks and drinks.
  4. Da Vinci (3rd Floor): Cozy lounge bar with a significant cocktail list. It’s known for being one of the best bars in Tokyo.

In addition, the hotel has a Club InterContinental Lounge on the 35th floor. The breakfast there is designed by Pierre Gagnaire and an alongside afternoon tea and evening cocktails is offered.

I had plans for essentially ever meal except breakfast during my weekend in Tokyo so I didn’t have a chance to experience any of the other F&B options at the ANA InterCon.

ANA InterContinental Tokyo Breakfast

As noted above, breakfast is served on the second floor at the Cascade Cafe, the hotel’s buffet restaurant from 6:30 to 10:30 am.

The breakfast costs ¥4,289 JPY (pegged to be aproximately $30 USD) for adults. It was included included for me as an IHG One Rewards Diamond elite since I selected complimentary breakfast as my welcome amenity.

The buffet features Western, Japanese, and regional Asian options. I’m a huge fan of Japanese and Asian food for breakfast so I was excited to see so many regional.

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I ordered my standard, an egg white omelette, the first day. I also sampled some of the various Japanese and Asian options. I had no complaints. As one would expect, the Asian options were fantastic.

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I also ordered an oat milk cappuccino. It was definitely drinkable but could use improvement. It was served with barely any foam and wasn’t very smooth.

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One thing to be aware of is that shortly after the breakfast buffet concludes at 10:30 am, the staff start to turn the dining area over to prepare for lunch service which starts at 11:30 am. That means a bit before 11 am, if you’re still working on your food, you’ll be politely asked to wrap up so they can prepare for the lunch service.

I’m personally not super hungry when I first wake up so my usual strategy when I’m staying at a hotel and breakfast ends at 10:30 am is to catch the tail end of the buffet and work on my food. That, unfortunately, isn’t the best strategy here… But based on the number of other guests rushing to finish up at 11 am, I’m not alone here.

Notably, the ANA InterCon provides breakfast to Club-level guests at the Club InterContinental on the 35th floor, as part of their partnership with Pierre Gagnaire. Presumably, being able to work on your breakfast without a hard cut-off time is an additional benefit of club access here 😉 But, frankly, being rushed to finish breakfast isn’t ideal for anyone.

ANA InterContinental Tokyo Ka-tsu Gym

The ANA InterCon’s fitness center is located on the fourth floor and is open 24/7. It’s easy to find. When you exit the elevators, you’ll see the equipment through windows. Turn left on the hallway to find the entrance which can be opened using your room key.

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The gym has a variety of equipment for both cardio and strength training. I visited twice and it was never busy (I only saw one other person in it over the two combined hours) despite the hotel being nearly full. The equipment is modern (with cardio equipment syncing to Apple Watch for workouts) and kept clean.

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Workout clothes are available for rent with a full set available for ¥1,200 JPY (about $8.50).

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Towels and a water cooler are provided.

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ANA InterContinental Tokyo Ka-tsu Sauna

Also on the fourth floor, the ANA InterCon offers a sauna. It’s located within the locker room so it’s divided by gender. The sauna is open from 7 am to 10 pm.

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There were also showers and lockers available here.

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ANA InterContinental Tokyo Spa

There is a spa, the THANN Sanctuary, on the sixth floor. I didn’t have a chance to visit and treatments need to be booked in advance. You can see the spa menu here.

ANA InterContinental Tokyo Ka-tsu Outdoor Pool

The outdoor pool is only open from June to September so it was technically closed for the season during my November stay. However, the area around the pool was still open so I took a walk around. The pool is 20 meters and located on the fourth floor and surrounded by greenery. There’s also a small splash pool for kids and, when the pool is open, a poolside snack bar for snacks and cocktails.

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The pool is a nice vantage point to get a view of the hotel’s tower from below.

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ANA InterContinental Tokyo Service

Service at the hotel was polished across the board. I didn’t spend a lot of time in the hotel but everyone I interacted with was polite and helpful.

That said, I do think that there could be a bit more flexibility. I already mentioned how staff were nudging guests out of the dining room shortly after the buffet closed at 10:30 am.

While checking in, I asked if a checkout time past the guaranteed 4 pm would be possible since I was catching a late flight out of Haneda. The answer was that 6 pm might be possible but that I’d need to check back in the morning and that it would cost 50% of the room rate (~$200 USD based on my rate). A 50% charge for a 6 pm checkout might be a great value for guests with a standard 11 am checkout time (you’re getting 7 more hours!) but I didn’t think it was worth it for me for just 2 extra hours in the room.

That said, it’s hard for me to be too critical because of how unfailingly polite everyone was, even as it seemed like everything was being done quite rigidly according to a manual that could use some updating.

ANA InterContinental Tokyo Bottom Line

The ANA InterContinental Hotel is a great choice if you’re looking for a central Tokyo hotel with with easy access to Roppongi, Ginza, and other attractions. The hotel has modern facilities including a well-equipped gym, sauna, plenty of F&B options, and of course, an outdoor swimming pool in the summer.

Beyond that, the hotel isn’t particularly remarkable either positive or negative. Elite recognition was about on part with what you could expect at an IHG. I wouldn’t go out of my way to stay here again, but also wouldn’t hesitate to do so if it makes sense on a future visit to Tokyo.

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Giovanni Hashimoto

Giovanni Hashimoto is editor of Travel Spill. He's a growth hacking consultant and an expert in maximizing credit card rewards and loyalty programs. Giovanni grew up as a third-culture kid and is a citizen of the United States, Japan, and Italy. He's now a digital nomad who's visited over 65 countries, often leveraging points and miles to improve his travel experience.

Giovanni Hashimoto is editor of Travel Spill. He's a growth hacking consultant and an expert in maximizing credit card rewards and loyalty programs. Giovanni grew up as a third-culture kid and is a citizen of the United States, Japan, and Italy. He's now a digital nomad who's visited over 65 countries, often leveraging points and miles to improve his travel experience.
All posts by Giovanni Hashimoto

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