Hotel Grand Fresa Akasaka Review - An Affordable Accommodation in Tokyo

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Tokyo used to be a luxury destination for travelers. Though it’s still one of the world’s most expensive cities, flights and accommodation have become more affordable over the years. Initially, my mother wanted to book the hotel where we first stayed at in 2012, but with a price of Php 11,000 per night, we knew it was too much, considering we will be mostly out and about during the day.

japan hotel review

That’s when Hotel Grand Fresa Akasaka came into view. A 2014 TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice, the hotel is part of Sotetsu Fresa Inn’s chain of hotels which are popular for business and leisure travelers. My husband and I already stayed at their Nihombashi-Kayabacho branch in 2015, so I was looking for available rooms at that hotel once more. However, the said branch was fully booked for our travel dates. When I saw their Akasaka branch and the rates were less than half of Php 11,000, I immediately booked three rooms for our stay.

If you’re looking for affordable hotel rooms in Tokyo within the city center, let me give you an overview of our stay at Hotel Grand Fresa Akasaka.

1. Accessibility

Grand Fresa Akasaka is located in Minato district, central Tokyo. We came by train with medium size luggage at hand, so it was convenient to find the hotel 1-2 minutes away (on foot) from Akasaka Station, Exit 6 (Chiyoda Line, subway). Once we got out of the escalator, we turned left and walked until we reached the hotel sign board.

In addition to its easy access to and from the subway, Akasaka Station is also very near to other popular Tokyo hubs such as Shibuya (12 minutes by subway including transfers), Tokyo (17 minutes), Ginza (12 minutes), and Shinjuku (20 minutes) to name a few. The area is very close to Roponggi and also Tokyo Midtown (about a 12-minute walk), which is a commercial and leisure complex where you can shop, dine, and unwind.

street in Akasaka

2. Convenient Location

Akasaka is both a residential and commercial area, filled with corporate headquarters as well as luxury hotels. Grand Fresa is situated in a small commercial street with lots of Japanese restaurants that serve gyudon (namely Sukiya, a 24-hour restaurant), sushi, and ramen. Foreign restaurants are also available along the street as well as Anytime Fitness. In addition, there are two Family Mart and one 7-Eleven that are all walking distance from Grand Fresa. At the end of the road is a McDonald’s. When you cross the other side at Akasaka station Exit 3A, you’ll get a view of Akasaka ACT Theater and Tokyo Broadcasting System. Opposite the said exit is Starbucks and a 24-hour supermarket called Maruetsu Petit Akasaka, all of which we stumbled upon by walking from the hotel.

woman on escalator going down the train station
a commercial street in Akasaka
commercial street, buildings and trees

3. Hotel Facilities

For a small, mid-rise hotel, the lobby is clean and spacious. The reception is on the right side of the entrance doors and we were able to check-in in less than 10 minutes after giving our booking confirmation and passports. For female guests, we received Japanese skincare kits which I think is pretty cool.

hotel reception, exit doors

There’s a sofa set at the lobby and when you take the stairs, you’ll see a phone, vending machine for drinks and Nissin cup noodles, as well as a public restroom for male and female guests. In between the sofa set and the reception is a desktop computer for when you need to research, send mail or check-in online for your flights, and a shelf filled with travel brochures, tea sachets, bath powders, and toiletries.

sofa set at hotel lobby
drinks vending machine
cup noodles vending machine
stuffed toys on shelf
shelf with toiletries
shelf with tea packets, bathing powder, and travel brochure

Two elevators serve all floors and you have to tap in your room key card in order to access the elevator. All six of us can fit one elevator without luggage. There’s also an ice dispensing machine on the second floor (if I remember it correctly) which you can use for free.

hotel floor information, hotel lobby
woman getting ice on ice machine

4. Room Size

I booked three Standard Double rooms which are 13 sqm each. The room was very compact, which is very common in Tokyo standards. My husband and I carried medium size luggage each, which provided us enough walking space inside the room. However, when both pieces of luggage were propped open on the floor, it’s a challenge to move around.

Some rooms were bigger (about 15 sqm), which could accommodate two adults and two small children (ages 0-5), but it will be a challenge for them, considering families with children need to carry more stuff (extra luggage, stroller, etc.). Each room only has a maximum occupancy of two adults (in some rooms, only one).

hotel room with bed, desk, chair

5. Bedroom Amenities

What lacked in huge space made up for room amenities. What I liked about Japanese hotels is that despite the rooms being small, you’ll find almost everything you need inside the room. The bed was comfortable and bigger than I expected. There were two bathrobes placed on the bed when we arrived. The hotel also stocked complimentary water bottles inside the fridge.

Near the bed is a small desk and entertainment area. A comfortable chair is neatly placed and under the desk, you’ll find a garbage bin. There’s a small flat screen TV, lamp shade, phone, tissue, wall mirror, electric kettle, mugs, glasses, coffee and tea, and mini fridge. Every room is equipped with free wi-fi.

double bed size at hotel room
hotel room
mini fridge

The room doesn’t have a full closet but like a semi-closet where you can hang some of your clothes or place your shoes at the bottom. Free bedroom slippers were also provided. In the Standard Double room, we didn’t have a city view but there’s a window which can be opened slightly. The room has an air conditioner, a heater, a luggage rack, and a full-length mirror near the doorway. Hotel door signs are magnetic. The floor is carpeted and the room has good soundproofing.

What the room didn’t have were in room safe box (which I don’t normally use) and an iron and ironing board, which might be useful for those traveling for business (available in their Nihombasi-Kayabacho branch).

6. Bathroom Amenities

I’m very particular with the bathroom when I travel. Aside from room privacy and security found in hotels, I also make sure I have my own bathroom space. That’s the reason why I prefer to “splurge” a little on hotel rooms than dorm-type hostels because I want to keep my belongings safe, I want privacy, and I want my own bathroom.

Considering the room was only 13 sqm, I was surprised the bathroom was spacious. Common in Japanese bathrooms are their high-tech toilets. These are their button-operated “washlets” with an installed bidet, flush, and toilet seat heating system. Below the toilet paper supply are feminine disposal bags. Under the sink is a garbage bin.

hotel bathroom with toilet, sink, shower, and bathtub
hotel bathroom with toilet, sink, shower, and bathtub-
remote control and tissue paper on wall

A huge wall mirror can be found in the bathroom. At the sink area are accessories such as hand wash, cups, cotton buds, tooth brush, compact hair brush (I love this!), razor, and body sponge. On the opposite side of the mirror are hanging racks with two bath towels, two hand towels, and a hair blower. A floor towel is folded and placed on the side of the bathtub which is also the shower area. There’s a shower curtain provided to prevent water splashes on the floor.

handwash, cups, and toiletries
hair blower hung inside bathroom
bottled bath essentials

The hotel also provided generous bottles of shampoo, conditioner, and body wash so there’s no need to bring or buy any bath essentials (unless you’re particular with your brand). I used their shampoo and conditioner during my entire stay and these products didn’t dry out my hair. There’s hot and cold water both in the shower and in the sink.

7. Hotel Service

We didn’t have any particular requests with the hotel, but like what I mentioned earlier, the check-in process was fast. Two key cards were given per room. The hotel reception staff spoke good English so it’s easy to converse with them. They’re very polite, too and would greet us whenever we arrive or leave the hotel.

The check-out process was a lot quicker. Just surrender your key cards and they make a quick run through in the computer and you’re good to go. Guests can leave their luggage at the lobby upon check-out or while waiting to be checked-in.

Our room was cleaned when we asked to make up the room and I remembered the water bottles being replenished. 

hotel lobby reception

8. Breakfast

Breakfast was not included in the rooms we booked, but the hotel has a coffee shop called Ueshima Coffee Shop which is just beside the hotel property. For rooms with breakfast, the food menu is usually a combination of coffee, sandwich or toast, and green salad.

hotel coffee shop


Summary

Overall, we had an excellent stay at Grand Fresa for four nights. To be honest, it’s hard to beat the price, accessibility, and convenience of their location. We can go out early in the day and come back late, not having to worry about food availability within the vicinity and we can easily walk towards the hotel in just a couple of minutes from the subway. Though the room was small (but very common in Tokyo standards), our stay was very pleasant and comfortable. I’m pleased to have booked three rooms in advance because Hotel Grand Fresa Akasaka gets fully-booked quickly. It truly is a hidden gem in this upscale, corporate district.

hotel front


Overall Rating: 4/5


Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. The contents of this entry are purely my opinion and 100% honest based on my booking experience and accommodation. To secure your booking faster, I included direct links to Agoda on this hotel property.

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