The Gate Hotel Asakusa: Review
We don’t usually stay in hotels when we travel. We’re full-time travellers so we usually rent apartments. But Tokyo was different. For one thing, we were on vacation (it’s been a while since we were on “vacation”). No cooking, no cleaning, no buying groceries. The Gate Hotel reminded us that it is sometimes really, really nice to stay in a hotel and have a bit of luxury.
Why the Gate Hotel? The first reason is that we wanted to start our time in Tokyo in the historical Asakusa neighborhood. Located in northern Tokyo, it is the perfect spot for anyone coming in from Narita airport (which is an hour northeast of the city). We were coming from Spain and arriving in the evening – after 20 straight hours of travel – the last thing I wanted to worry about was navigating the Tokyo metro. A second reason is the neighborhood. Asakusa (and nearby Ueno) have some of Tokyo’s most interesting tourist sites. Lastly, the location is perfect for a daytrip to the temples and shrines of Nikko.
Below: Our room. That thing next to the “egg” is a coffee machine, the nicest coffee machine we’ve ever had in a hotel room. Some people care about cable tv or free wifi (both of which the Gate Hotel has) – but give us a good coffee machine and we’re as happy as fat kid eating cake. The other thing I personally like? Windows you can open. I like fresh air and not the recycled air you get in most hotels.
One of the unusual features of the Gate Hotel is a 24 hour restaurant. It’s unusual because it’s not a particularly big hotel (136 rooms) and you would think that there probably wouldn’t be enough demand to warrant 24 hour service. But when you’ve travelled 20 hours to fly somewhere, avoiding plane food along the way (sorry Turkish Airlines, but some of the stuff you served us was just really, really bad), you’re pretty happy when you get to your hotel and find out you can order a gourmet meal at 11pm (or 3 am in the morning). That’s basically what we did.
The next morning we had our first views of Tokyo in the light of day. We knew that the hotel would be in a good location – but we never expected to be literally looking straight down at the Sensoji temple (one of Tokyo’s top attractions). The hotel is also an easy 15-20 minute walk to the Tokyo Skytree (the highest tower in the world). Fantastic.
Another meal, this time breakfast (which is included in your stay). Although there is a buffet, you also get a choice of various menu options (again, all included). For 4 days in a row, I had the eggs benedict. Lissette would have the scrambled eggs or, on one day, the pancakes. Then I’d go back to the buffet and get some more croissants and even pasta (they always had a pasta dish even though this was breakfast). Breakfast would usually end up being our main meal of the day.
Another great feature of the hotel is the 14th floor terrace and bar (which is for the exclusive use of guests of the hotel). We had good weather during our stay in Asakusa and one of the things we’d do after a day of sightseeing was to come up here and have a drink while enjoying the views.
The Gate Hotel categorizes itself as a “Design Hotel”. You can see that walking around the hotel. They’ve done a great job with the details, the touches that puts it in a different category from the larger hotels: the individualized paintings in the rooms and common spaces (no generic flowers, boring landscapes or scary clowns here), the egg-type lights (we called them “Ostrich eggs”), the varying color motifs on different floors, the beautiful light fixture in the lobby that – like a lighthouse – calls out to lost guests in the middle of the night…
Any negatives? The only one I can think of is that the subdued lighting in the room can make things hard to find at night. On the other hand, sometimes that keeps the romance alive.
Overall however, we unequivocally recommend the Gate Hotel Asakusa. We knew the location would be great, that’s why we chose it. But it also had all the other touches and amenities (including a great restaurant) that make for a great hotel stay. Don’t believe me? Have a look at their Trip Advisor reviews.
Note: If booking over a weekend, make sure to reserve in advance. The hotel is quite popular with Japanese tourists on weekend getaways.
To Book: The Gate Hotel Asakusa Kaminarimon by Hulic
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well it looks very well appointed indeed. 🙂 will check them out via web
Natasha von Geldern
This seems like everything a Tokyo hotel ought to be! Definitely putting this on my “Japan trip planning” list! I think I’d be more into the historic and traditional aspect as well. Thanks for sharing this review!
Thanks for taking the time to comment Natasha 🙂
A lovely place and I’ll definitely consider it if we ever find ourselves in Tokyo. It’s on our list somewhere and, with your posts and KemKems, it’s moving up rapidly! I especially love the lounge area, the fabulous night scene and the ability to look out over the city as well as the proximity to the Sensoji temple. Fabulous!
Thanks Anita – we stayed in 2 different parts of town: Asakusa (which is more traditional) and Shinjuku (high rises, red light district). Both are totally different and I’m happy we experienced both, both I think the Asakusa fitted us better. Just more historic and traditional. So I really recommend the location.
Hope you do make it to Japan one day 🙂
Paul and Carole
Looks a great place to stay and in a good location. Never knew that about Japanese toilets, Paul would never leave the room! Like you say why cant there be toilets like these around the world. We have stayed at a few hotels where the reception is not on the ground floor, strange initially but I guess it doesn’t really matter. The 14th floor bar and terrace looks a great place to hang out too, sounds like our sort of hotel. Great post, have pinned it for future reference.
Thanks Carole. That comment about Paul could be misconstrued as homoerotic…just to clarify, I’m sure he just really appreciates good hygiene, right? 🙂 I think Japanese toilets are great: besides the bidet spray (imagine the space Europeans could save if they got those toilets instead of a separate bidet) I think the warm toilet seat is reason enough to spend time on the pottie. I mentioned it above: it would do great in Canada with those cold winter mornings.
Glad you like the other hotel features too.
You managed to make a hotel review entertaining :). I’ve been to the Gate Hotel as well and thought it was excellent quality and good value. We’ll be going back in the spring and plan on staying there again.
Good to hear, thanks Lori!
Nice! What an awesome view of the Sensoji temple too! I would certianly enjoy a stay here. I think my favorite would be indulging in some terrific food (no paella 😉 ) and drinks on taking in the views like you did. Very brave indeed to have the 13th floor..haha! but then again, that is more of a western idea, the 13 number and doom! If we ever make it back to Japan, l would definitely consider the Gate Hotel. We do AirBnB and hotel mixtures for our travels 🙂
Thanks Kemkem. Actually, I’d like to get a Japanese toilet when we make a base somewhere. I was telling Lissette that I can’t believe nobody else has adopted the technology. You know how popular a warm toilet seat would be in Canada on a cold winter day?
Hey, what do you have against paella? Lissette said it was really good.
Anyway, yes, recommend the hotel, nice place and we really like the neighborhood.
Looks really nice. And that food looks fantastic. I’m afraid to ask: what’s the going rate? I know how expensive Japan is…
Thanks for the comment Jack. Actually, it’s not as expensive as you might think. The Basic rate for our room (including breakfast) is 22,475 Yen. That’s $270 Canadian or $200 US these days. Sometimes you can find specials on Booking.com – I just checked it and there’s a special rate going on right now at $223 CAD or $165 US including breakfast. I think that’s a pretty good deal.