Going Hello Kitty Crazy at the Keio Plaza Hotel (Tokyo)

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I had kept it as a surprise for 2 months. We were at the Premier check in counter of the Keio Plaza Hotel when Lissette spotted a familiar image on the room cards that were handed to us. “HELLO KITTY!!!” she exclaimed, her face suddenly red in excitement. She did a skip and a hop. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen her as happy.

We had a list of “things Japanese” that we wanted to do in Japan: karaoke, a ninja training class, dressing like a geisha, visiting a Maid café, going to the Robot Restaurant. Staying in a room designed and furnished after Hello Kitty was the icing on the cake, it is one of those Japanese experiences that has to be experienced in Japan. And the only place to do that is at the Keio Plaza Hotel in Tokyo.

I’ll admit that I don’t understand the whole Hello Kitty phenomena. But for most girls (and women, judging by Spanky’s reaction), Hello Kitty personifies everything cute. Not just cute, but classy and sophisticated. And although not a Hello Kitty fan, I couldn’t help being mesmerized by the décor and attention to detail in our Hello Kitty room. It was like a really bad sugar rush – at some point you just have to give in to it and embrace the craziness. That’s what I did. Spanky on the other hand was oohing and aahing over every little Hello Kitty detail. She was in love.

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 Above: breakfast in bed! Part of the Hello Kitty experience.
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Above: Hello Kitty accessories. Do you know that there are over 50,000 different Hello Kitty items you can buy, ranging from Hello Kitty gravestones to Hello Kitty breast pumps? See some of the items here.
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Above: red face and glossy shine – stage 1 of going Hello Kitty crazy…
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If you think the above isn’t enough, The Keio Plaza has two types of Hello Kitty rooms. The one in which we stayed is the Princess Kitty room. The other is called Kitty Town and is even crazier. If you want to see the real Hello Kitty as well as the rooms (and the rest of the hotel) you might enjoy this video.

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The hotel was kind enough to give us a tour of a Kitty Town room.

Below: Kitty Town

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Above: Keiko who gave us the tour. I think we spent the whole time laughing.
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Price

I’m not going to lie to you: the Hello Kitty rooms are a luxury experience and they don’t come cheap at 50,000 Yen (including breakfast) per night. But for that price you’re treated like a king and queen Princess Kitty: you check in at the VIP Premier counter, you have access to the Luxe Lounge on the 34th floor (we’d come up here for mid-afternoon snacks and coffee), you also have a choice of breakfast at 3 restaurants in the hotel (if you don’t want to be served breakfast in bed). You also get a whole bunch of Hello Kitty souvenirs to take home (a couple of dolls, a pen set, slippers, etc).
Everything you need to know about the Hello Kitty rooms

Below: The Luxe Lounge

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The Keio Plaza is a 5 star hotel – beautiful, classy and centrally located in Shinjuku. It was actually Japan’s first high rise hotel and has hosted many personalities including Muhammed Ali who was in Tokyo in 1976 to fight Antonio Inoki, one of Japan’s most famous professional wrestlers (below). Ali was my favorite boxer of all time and I enjoyed seeing some of his photos posted in the lobby.

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On a side note: During our stay, the hotel invited us to participate in a Tea Ceremony. The preparation and service of green tea is an art in Japan and taking part in the ceremony gives you many insights on Japanese culture. We were a bit nervous taking part because we had previously done it in a Japanese teahouse in Prague and the whole ceremony had taken over two hours. It wasn’t anything like that here. We were served tea and cakes and our host, Michiko, was informative and funny. And it only took 30 minutes. If you stay at the Keio Plaza you should sign up for this demonstration. More here.

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Summing up our Keio Plaza stay

We had a great time and met some fantastic people who have left us with lasting impressions of Japan. Special thanks to Sunaho and Keiko.

Any negatives? The Hello Kitty breakfast was served cold (coffee, soup, eggs). Maybe Hello Kitty doesn’t like to get burned when she spills her breakfast. Anyway, breakfast in the downstairs restaurants was excellent and we would recommend that instead.

Why stay here? Great location (I’ve previously written about its central location in Shinjuku and the proximity to Shinjuku station and the entertainment district of Kabukichō), good food, superior service…and the only place in Tokyo with Hello Kitty rooms. Seriously, Japan is the home of Hello Kitty and if you’re in Tokyo once in your lifetime the Keio Plaza is the place to live the Hello Kitty experience.
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Website: Keio Plaza Hotel Tokyo

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Disclosure: We stayed at the Keio Plaza Hotel for 2 nights as guests in exchange for an honest review.  As on every other post, we write it as we see it – the good, the bad, and the ugly. All photos above are ours.
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Comments

  1. Those Kitty rooms are absolutely crazy looking and so much fun! Would be perfect for parents with kids.

    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      Thanks so much Peter. yes, I think the first one (the Princess Kitty) is more adult orientated but the Kitty Land room for sure is all about kids. A bit wacky, right?

  2. That’s a whole lotta pink! You deserve something special after that Frank, lol. The Princess Kitty is the room to stay in, the other is so busy I think I’d get dizzy.
    Paula Wheeler recently posted…Harvesting Crab In Bandon, OregonMy Profile

    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      I think you are right Paula. While I can live with the pink of Princess Kitty, the Kitty Land room would give me nightmares.

  3. I have suddenly discovered why I hate pink, and why I have an aversion to cats (or kitties…) – with the sole exception of my sister’s very affectionate (a rare quality) , Siamese cat “Pookie” ! Whew ! I have had a total overdose just looking at the photos . Much rather you both than me … Yughh ! I would go for the Tea Ceremony though . The Japanese Garden at the Montreal Botanical Garden has a very good, authentic one – and all without the pink, the Kitties, and the cruddy fla-fla. Thank God ! Otherwise, No Comment… How can there be ?

    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      Ha! I thought that might be your reaction Tony.
      Having been to some gardens here, I have to say that they’ve done a really good job with it at the Montreal Botanical Garden (I’m attaching my post about it here, many don’t know about the Montreal Botanical Garden).
      I’m assuming then that you don’t like Pokémon either? They have signs outside many of the temples here in Japan telling people that they shouldn’t be playing Pokémon Go at inside their temple. Ah the younger generation…

  4. Staying in one of those rooms would give me the fear but strangely I’m drawn to the experience – may be next time!!
    Mark recently posted…Staying at Peak Lenin Base Camp in KyrgyzstanMy Profile

    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      It’s Japan, right? I can now leave knowing that I can cross off “stay in a Hello Kitty room” off my list.

  5. I know that Hello Kitty is huge in Japan; but wow, I would have to admit that room is “overload.” The decor is hardly relaxing. I’m not a big fan of pink, but I do like cats…. I’m sure your overall experience in Japan was wonderful. There is no way you can not say that your stay, was not memorable.

  6. I would have so loved the Tea ceremony experience. Right up my alley and something l wish we’d done while there. I would never have pictured Spanky as a Kitty fan. I have to admit that l am not a big fan and l would not sleep in that room for anything. That being said, for a Kitty fan, l think it would be an awesome experience and l am really happy that Spanky got to experience it 🙂
    Kemkem recently posted…Excellent Visit to Wat Pho Temple in Bangkok. Plan on itMy Profile

    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      Spanky’s not a Hello Kitty fan but she’ll always be a young girl at heart – she loves anything cute.
      You might not love Hello Kitty but even if not the room is fabulous: about twice the size of any room we’ve had in Japan with this view. I’d come back any day! 😉

  7. Hilarious and gross at the same time! I have not managed to become a fan of Hello Kitty, not even my girls would be. The whole set up though is so humorous and even the breakfast was themed. I do like their marketing!
    Jane recently posted…Big Things Australia!My Profile

    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      Definitely crazy…but an incredible room even if not a Hello Kitty fan. And if you are I think it’s just about heaven.
      It’s amazing how popular Hello Kitty is. You know they have planes featuring Hello Kitty. You should have a look at this Jane. Imagine – a Hello Kitty jet!
      Besides the Keio Plaza in Tokyo, there are 2 other hotels that I know of with Hello Kitty themed rooms: one in Taipei, another in Seoul.
      Great marketing I agree. Understanding it is something else, I honestly don’t know…

  8. My first comment has disappeared. So trying again…I would enjoy the Hello Kitty hotel, it looks like a lot of fun. Certainly the Japanese tea would be a must for me.
    Gilda Baxter recently posted…A Weekend in East Devon and Our First Airbnb ExperienceMy Profile

    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      Yay, it worked! Sorry it always gives you problems Gilda – must be because you’re special 🙂
      Great, glad to know you’re young at heart too!! It is a lot of fun even if not specifically a Hello Kitty fan. The Tea ceremony a must, it really is part of the culture here and you’ll find temples renowned for their tea ceremonies. Understanding at basics is a good thing.
      Thanks for taking the time to comment Gilda.

  9. Oh my goodness Frank, it’s 6.45;am right now here in London & I’m just bursting with excitement reading this post!!! That pink Hello Kitty room – it’s even better than I had imagined & I know this makes me sound crazy but it makes me feel like I want to return just to experience it – though persuading husband could be a lifetime’s worth of work! But gravestones seriously?! That’s a step too far even for me but if that’s what gives the bereaved or their families some peace after a loss, then I guess why not?!
    Shikha (whywasteannualleave) recently posted…The Hello Kitty Cafe in Seoul, South KoreaMy Profile

  10. Hello Kitty breast pumps? OMG this is a craze I just don’t think I get and there’s way too much pink and cute for me! But, to be honest, I could be talked into staying there if: 1) I had daughters who loved Hello Kitty or 2) I was comped! 🙂
    Anita recently posted…Part 1- Figuring It Out Along the way – Life in PortugalMy Profile

    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      You’re right Anita – we loved our stay and we were on vacation so we wanted something different, but we wouldn’t have paid that much money for a room. Japan is the only place we’ve been comped and that’s just because it is such an expensive destination. So it’s the first time we’ve used being travel bloggers to our advantage. Was sweet though 🙂
      Frank (bbqboy) recently posted…The 4 places on our “Expat base” shortlistMy Profile

  11. wonderful!perfect for my best friend:)
    Tanja (the Red phone box travels) recently posted…Chocolate Festival in OpatijaMy Profile

  12. Meow! We knew Asia is kitty-cute crazy, but didn’t know there was a Hello Kitty hotel! It’s not really our style :-). But we have to confess it is kinda cute. The U.S. has Disney and Mickey Mouse, Japan has Hello Kitty… Huh!
    Sand In My Suitcase recently posted…Why You’ll Love This Koh Samui Luxury Resort: Tongsai Bay reviewMy Profile

  13. Haha this is crazy! It’s too much and at the same time it’s so cool, if this makes any sense. I prefer the Princess Kitty room 🙂
    Except for the cold breakfast, it must be a great experience 🙂
    Laia recently posted…Bern: music, roses and… bears?My Profile

    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      Makes complete sense Laia – we really enjoyed it, was a totally different experience and I’m sure nothing we’ll ever have the chance to do again.

  14. errrrggggghhhhhhhh uummmmm no the hello kitty phenomenon is not for everyone. still, its something to gawp at and makes for a good blog topic.
    Andrew Boland recently posted…Accommodation Review – Hotel San Francisco, Quito, EcuadorMy Profile

  15. wow that is ridiculous and funny at the same time, thanks for sharing!

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