Japan is one of the best year-round destinations for families. If you go there – you’re likely to stay in Tokyo. We know it can be hard to find a hotel that is big enough for families. We sent Tatyana Leonov to do a Peninsula Tokyo review – find out what she thought.
This luxurious hotel is located in the thick of it, opposite the Imperial Palace and next to the buzzy precinct of Ginza. You’ve got so much to see and do within walking distance and plenty of mini-marts around for necessities. Hibiya subway station is directly below the building and the hotel is easy walking to Yurakucho train station.
Why we stayed here
Family travel isn’t always about budget options… sometimes you just want to luxe it up, especially in a buzzy city such as Tokyo. The Peninsula Tokyo is one of the city’s most luxurious hotels – and it’s also family friendly.
A stay here will forever be memorable as there is just so much wow factor. From the outside, the building looks like a dazzling lantern. Inside, the lobby is most guests’ first impression of the hotel and it astounds, with a massive chandelier as the focus.
The huge rooms (the hotel has 314 guest rooms, including 47 suites) all come with floor-to-ceiling views of the city, the Imperial Palace gardens or Hibiya Park. Even the smallest rooms (deluxe rooms start at 54 square meters) are more than adequate for a small family.
The interior design scheme of the rooms is a mix of traditional Japanese design fused with modernity, with a palette of earthy colours making for a calm ambience.
Concealed buttons and gadgets are used for all kinds of conveniences, from electronic weather displays and an inbuilt hairdryer to a hidden Lavazza machine and a TV screens embedded in a mirror in the bathroom. This hotel has thought of everything.
The service from one of the largest concierge teams in Tokyo is impeccable. Whatever your activity enquiry, a concierge member will point you in the right direction. Depending on availability, guests can book one of the chauffeur-driven Royals-Royce (one-way within a radius of two kilometres) complimentary of the hotel.
Peninsula Tokyo also has a customised and luxurious car fleet, including Rolls-Royce Extended Wheelbase Phantoms, 1934 Rolls-Royce Phantom II, BMW, Tesla, Mini Coopers and bikes. We took up the offer and our Mini Cooper was fitted out with a baby seat for our daughter.
The Peninsula brand is known for its Pen Academy program. This is an overarching brand initiative and each hotel offers a highly-customised program to bring to life the best of the local culture. At Peninsula Tokyo, some of the activities for families include:
Origami for kids- children are taught to create shapes in the Japanese art of paper folding.
Fun with faux food- kids learn to craft their own food models using plastic and wax at a family-run business)
Wind chime making- families are taken to a family-owned glass studio where they make their own furin wind chime by blowing the glass and painting the bell
- Karate lessons conducted by professional Shihan Kudaka.
Food & beverage
With six dining options (including room service) you don’t need to even leave the hotel. A la carte breakfasts in the elegant lobby are divine. Afternoon coffees and sweets from The Peninsula Boutique and Cafe provided us with a new burst of energy each day.
The cafe is also open on weekends for buffet breakfasts. It’s not, however, comparable to a typical hotel breakfast buffet; Here guests point at beautifully arranged fruit cups and order hot items off menus.
The room service menu features the usual roster of international staples, as well as the option to order Cantonese from Hei Fung Terrace. Peter is the elegant international restaurant. Kyoto Tsuruya offers traditional Japanese cuisine in sophisticated surrounds.
In Tokyo, there is so much to see and do and regardless of how long you stay, you will still need more time. Cultural highlights include visiting Meiji Shrine, Sensō-ji Temple, Asakusa, and Yanaka. Shopping fans will love Ginza and Harajuku.
Then there’s just the hustle and bustle of the city. Waiting to cross the Shibuya Crossing is a must. Alleged to be the world’s busiest intersection, this massive crossing is as hectic as they come.
Takeshita Street in Harajuku is great for people watching (think Japanese youth dressed in all kinds of cool and wacky).
The best views of the sprawling metropolis are from Tokyo Skytee, Japan’s tallest building. Adults will definitely want to chill out in an onsen at some stage (there are plenty around). Kids won’t want to miss Tokyo Disney Resort.
Family Travel tip
Families of all shapes and sizes will find a configuration to suit.
The hotel has 32 interconnecting rooms which can configure up to five bedrooms. It also has eight rooms which can connect with outside doors, forming a private corridor.
Accessible travel tip
Seven rooms at The Peninsula Tokyo have been designed for guests with disabilities.
When you travel every day is different! You get to experience different cultures, meet new people, get lost, find cool laneway bars, try weird and delicious foods, snorkel with sea lions, fly over mountains carpeted in grass, laze about in hammocks immersed in Windex-blue water, horse ride alongside gauchos, call sleeper trains, igloos and yurts home for a night, cycle past giraffes, dance with Masai warriors, play with local school children.