Highly Ranked Hotels on the TripAdvisor “Word-of-Mouth” Website

04-01-2011

Highly Ranked Hotels

on the TripAdvisor “Word-of-Mouth” Website

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IHCSA Café takes a look at two highly ranked hotels introduced on the TripAdvisor website, which provides diverse travel-related information in 19 languages and, thanks to the wealth of user feedback available, boasts a phenomenal number of hits worldwide.

Comfortable Stay in Room with Kitchenette: Citadines ShinjukuMAP

        

A new type of apartment-style hotel

Citadines Shinjuku, an apartment-style hotel that outstrips many more well-known and expensive hotels in the ranking of best hotels in Japan, is a lodging facility that combines the convenience of a hotel and the privacy of an apartment. Especially popular among mainly middle-class travelers, both Japanese and foreign, it opened two years ago and is situated within walking distance of Shinjuku’s shopping and entertainment district. This hotel chain has facilities in the main cities of the Asia-Pacific region, Europe, and the Persian Gulf region, and it is especially well-known in Europe. Foreigners account for around 70% of the guests at Citadines Shinjuku, and in 2010 it came seventh in TripAdvisor’s ranking of popular hotels among foreign travelers in Japan. In the Japanese “Travelers’ Choice 2011” ranking, which includes popularity among the Japanese, it comes eleventh.

      

Relaxing at-home comfort

The distinguishing feature of Citadines Shinjuku is that all of its spacious rooms, which are available at reasonable rates despite the central location, are equipped with a kitchenette. In addition to a drier, iron, electronic safe, LAN cable, and so on, the basic cooking utensils and tableware are provided, including an IH stove, a microwave oven, a toaster, and an electric pot. There are many convenience stores and food shops in the neighborhood, so guests can easily buy things and cook for themselves. What is more, there is plenty of storage space in the rooms and a coin laundry on the premises, so Citadines Shinjuku attracts long-stay guests as well.
Security is thorough, too. The front desk is manned 24 hours a day, and room keys are necessary to use the elevator and to enter the hotel late at night, so women can stay here without anxiety even if they are traveling alone. Other services include multi-language cable television and a DVD player in each room and a fitness gym open 24 hours a day.

Importance of Japanese hospitality

All of the staff at Citadines Shinjuku are Japanese-English bilingual, and among them only people with a high level of English proficiency and capable of handling all-around business are appointed as front-desk staff, who take care of everything concerning a guest’s stay. All the staff members are friendly, try to create a homely atmosphere, and have a concierge-like readiness to answer any inquiry. They always take the initiative in approaching guests, who lavish much praise on the staff for “doing a good job.”
As well as a thorough response to requests concerning facilities and services within the hotel, Citadines Shinjuku also provides information at the front desk concerning not only the immediate vicinity but also popular tourist spots that guests often inquire about, such as Kamakura and Hakone. The information is carefully arranged so that it can be given to guests quickly upon request. In addition, the hotel apparently gives handwritten memos to foreign guests who are not accustomed to getting around in Japan in case they get lost.
Since many guests stay for several nights, their requests are wide-ranging. Among them, the hotel manager, Ms. Yuka Yamane, feels that Asian guests in particular “have much expectancy of Japanese service.” Citadines Shinjuku is operated Western style, but Ms. Yamane says, “We educate our staff to approach foreign guests with Japanese-style politeness and cordiality.” No doubt this impeccable hospitality is the reason why so many people recommend this hotel.

  

 

Citadines Shinjuku

1-28-13 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160-0022
TEL: 03-5379-7208 FAX: 03-5379-7209
URL: http://www2.citadines.com/en/japan/tokyo/shinjuku.html ( English)

ACCESS: 5-min. walk from Shinjuku-gyoenmae Station on the Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line;
                    7-min. walk from Shinjuku-sanchome Station on the Toei Shinjuku Line
and the Tokyo Metro Fukutoshin Line;
                   15-min. walk from Shinjuku Station

SISTER HOTEL: Citadines Karasuma-Gojo Kyoto

Photos: Courtesy of Citadines Shinjuku

 

Effect of “Word-of-Mouth” Info on the Internet

Following the diffusion of the Internet and advance of technology, it has become easier for general users to transmit information. As a result, the image of brands, products and services is transforming into something that spreads in real time, created spontaneously by users who have experienced them. For users who are considering the options, such feedback becomes a reference for making a decision. (People tend to choose things about which feedback is available over things with no feedback.) And the more comments there are, the greater is the objectivity and credibility. User feedback is already establishing its position as an important source of information.

For the rankings cited in this article, please see the following URLs:

The best hotels in Japan 2010 – selected by Japanese vs. foreigners (Japanese only)

    http://www.tripadvisor.jp/pages/BestHotelJapan2010J.html

Travelers’ Choice 2011—Japan

    http://www.tripadvisor.com/TravelersChoice-g294232-cTop25-Japan.html

 

Unique Tatami Floor: Capsule Ryokan Kyoto MAP

   

A style of guesthouse that did not exist previously in Japan

The Capsule Ryokan Kyoto, which completely overturns the conventional image of “capsule hotels,” opened a year ago in Kyoto, a city with 17 World Heritage sites. Quickly attracting the attention of foreign travelers, especially backpackers, it placed first in 2010 in a ranking of the most popular ryokan among foreign travelers in Japan.
The founder, Mr. Keiji Shimizu, traveled around the world and stayed at many cheap yet comfortable guesthouses in his student days, and he thought it was a pity that only youth hostels were available in Japan. He developed a strong desire to provide foreigners traveling in Japan with a cheap guesthouse that they could use more easily and comfortably. Using the savings that he had accumulated while working for a company, first of all he opened a lodging with just three rooms. Mr. Shimizu and his wife handled everything, from waiting on guests and cleaning to distributing leaflets in front of the railway station. Their efforts paid off, and now they operate four facilities.

Comfort created in a confined space: Tatami Capsule

There are potentially many foreigners who want to experience staying in a capsule hotel, a uniquely Japanese type of lodging, but in practice several problems arise. In particular, Japanese male salaried workers who miss the last train and flock to the capsule hotels tend to be very noisy, so foreigners cannot get a good night’s rest. And in many ways cheap ryokan are not very suitable for foreigners. Therefore, Mr. Shimizu had the idea of creating an original type of lodging that combined the two and enabled foreigners to experience the atmosphere of a traditional Japanese ryokan safely and comfortably.
At first sight the capsules appear to be rather cramped. But when you go inside, actually they seem very comfortable indeed. Although it is for common use, guests can use the bathroom, equipped with a bathtub, free of charge. And by the side there is a shelf with a key that is large enough to store a suitcase, so guests can easily access their luggage.

   

Compact room for two: Ryokan-style en suite room

For twosomes, there are 10 square meter Japanese style rooms equipped with such facilities as a shower cubicle, toilet, and sink. Guests lay their own futons. Specially processed mattresses are used so that foreigners who are not accustomed to futons can sleep comfortably, and there is storage space under the floor. Many foreigners are amazed by the latest high-pressure shower cubicle and the fully automatic toilet. These rooms are a combination of tradition and Japan’s state-of-the-art technology.

   

A ryokan to write about

In order to enable guests to enjoy a pleasant and efficient stay in Kyoto, Capsule Ryokan Kyoto also has compiled a file of more than 50 pages of steadily accumulated information on sightseeing, restaurants, and so on, with the ryokan as a starting point. In addition, feedback includes many favorable comments about the positive attitude of the staff, who try hard to eliminate the inconveniences that come with the cheap rates. Capsule Ryokan Kyoto is also praised for being clean, functional, and comfortable. There are also many posts about the ryokan on the YouTube video site, and the website of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) introduces it as well.
     Capsule Ryokan Kyoto does not call on guests to write comments about it, but nevertheless most of the feedback is positive. Mr. Shimizu remarks, “First of all, the concept itself is original. Maybe that is the reason why guests want to tell the world that they stayed at such a place.”

   

 

Capsule Ryokan Kyoto

204 Tsuchihashi-cho, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 600-8226
TEL/FAX: 075-344-1510
URL: http://www.capsule-ryokan-kyoto.com  

ACCESS:    8-min. walk from Kyoto Station

SISTER HOTEL:
   · Tour Club: Forerunner of international-level hostels in Japan
   · Budget Inn: A ryokan for backpackers, including families
   · The Furnished Apartment: Low-price apartments in a central location for long-stay guests

Photos: Fumio Kimiwada

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