JAPAN is one destination guaranteed to hand travellers a healthy dose of culture shock with many of the capital city’s hotels charismatically categorised as quirky.
So if you fancy being welcomed by a robot, sleeping in an airplane’s first-class suite but never leaving the ground, having a dinosaur check you in and eating a Hello Kitty breakfast served by room service, then these Tokyo properties are the place to visit.
Lodge in a library
Staying at Book and Bed is bliss for literary lovers with the hostel-like property, described by those in the know as “an accommodation bookshop’’, letting guests camp in capsule-like compartments right beside the shelves.
There are three addresses in Tokyo – Ikebukuro, Shinjuku, and Asakusa – as well as in Kyoto and Fukuoka and accommodation options include single and double beds, bunks, and even “private’’ rooms shielded by curtains.
Stay in a first-class capsule
Capsule hotels are famously Japanese and while there are ample seedy pay-by-the-hour venues scattered around the suburbs there are also designer digs with First Cabin, boasting eight locations around Tokyo, modelled on the first-class suites offered by airlines.
Rooms with robots
It’s no surprise to learn tech-mad Japan has hotels staffed by robots and while the first Henn–na Hotel opened in Nagasaki a few years back there’s now an address in the capital’s Maihama Bay neighbourhood – close to Tokyo Disneyland – with six more opening before 2018 closes.
Upon arrival dinosaurs manning the reception desk invite guests to register using computerised kiosks, a robotic arm stores bags for those looking to leave luggage with the concierge, and instead of a human bellboy, it’s an automated trolley that hauls cases to the room.
Capturing cool quirk
Moxy is Marriott’s answer to chic quirkiness – crafted for “a new generation of fun-hunting travellers’’ so think industrial design, the cool crowd camped in the bar, hipster bicycles to rent – with Moxy Tokyo Kinshicho unveiled in one of the city’s gritty eastern neighbourhoods late last year.
All about the characters
Hello Kitty is mega in Japan and the Keio Plaza Hotel Tokyo in hip Shinjuku has captured pop-culture kitsch by creating a collection of rooms worshipping the cartoon cat – there are designs for both the kids and grown-ups – with the chance to order a themed breakfast from room service.