Good location, Great service, Amazing rooms
There has been no shortages of hotels in the Yokohama area as more and more hotels are built in anticipation for the influx of tourists bound for the Tokyo Olympics. Unfortunately, that's been put on hold but hotels are not holding back and so I got to stay at one of the newest hotels in the IHG family one month after it opened in November 2019; Intercontinental Yokohama Pier 8.
The Intercontinental Yokohama Pier 8 is part of the Cruise Terminal Complex "Yokohama Hammerhead". If you are familiar with Cup Noodle museum, then it's right behind it. It's also a short 10 minute walk from the other Intercontinental: Yokohama Grand. The closest stations for both these hotels is the Minatomirai station on the Minatomirai line. If you are coming by JR, the closet station is Sakuragi-cho on the Keihin-Touhoku line and from there about a 15 to 20 minute walk to Yokohama Grand and a further 10 minutes to Pier 8. From the Hammerhead, you can clearly see the iconic fin shaped Intercontinental Yokohama Grand.
It's in a good location with shops and restaurants in Yokohama Hammerhead, Marine & Walk and the famous Red Brick warehouse.
The hotel has 173 rooms spread across 3 levels and there are generally 3 types of rooms: City View, Bay View and Garden View. As the staff saw me dragging my suitcase along towards the hotel, they came rushing towards me, asking me for my name and helping me with my suitcase.
When you first step into the hotel, you're greeted by an architectural wonder...the staircase. Unfortunately, you can't actually use the staircase as that's for staff.There's an elevator on the right hand side and even though it's just one floor up to reception, they request you to use the elevator although the staff will carry your suitcase up the stair (or at least in my case as I only had a small carry one suitcase).
As you can see from the previous photo above of the Yokohama Hammerhead, it's a short rectangle building with an open area in the middle of the building from level 3. The "outside" rooms are the City and Bay View rooms while the "inside" rooms are the Garden View rooms. The names are pretty self explanatory and the reason there's an open area from level 3? Yep, it's where the garden is.
Tip: If you are after a room with a view, do not get the garden view unless you are really into gardens. As you can see from the photo below, when you open up the curtains, you can pretty much see everyone walking in the corridor and the gym (if you're on the opposite side of the gym) and everyone can see you.
As an Intercontinental Ambassador, I get upgraded one room grade up so booked one night City View and one night Bay View wanting to try the Bay and Garden view. Instead they upgraded me both nights to the Garden View room which is the largest of the three at 60m2 while the other two are 46m2 which are still very large for Japanese hotel standards. I guess I could have asked them to "downgrade" me to the Bay View but staying in the biggest room (apart from the suite) at a brand new hotel, I couldn't complain. There's everything you would expect from an Intercontinental room, the amenities, nice water pressure from the shower, comfortable bed and all the goodies of the mini bar. The photos doesn't do it justice to show how big the room actually is.
Two sinks so you and whoever is staying with you don't need to fight for it.
And if you are not comfortable being naked in front of your room mate, I suggest not to take a bath.
The hotel is equipped with a small gym, sauna and 2 restaurants; one on level 2 next to reception and a sushi restaurant on level 3. There's plenty of restaurants around the hotel so I didn't try the sushi restaurant but I did hear that it needs to be reserved so double check if you are really eager to try it during your stay.
There's also a rooftop garden where you have a great view overlooking the bay and can just sit and relax in the sun.
I had afternoon tea at the restaurant next to reception and had the seasonal Christmas special which was very nice taste and presentation wise.
Overall, this is an amazing hotel. I have stayed previously at hotels that just opened and you can tell that it's new not by the hotel, but by the staff who don't seem to know what they are doing but I had no trouble here. The staff were very well trained, polite, always smiling and there when you need any help and things moved like clockwork. It's a little bit of a walk from the closest station and they don't have any shuttle buses instead if you don't want to walk, you can catch the public bus which stops right opposite the hotel from Sakuragi-cho Station. I would definitely recommend trying this hotel as it's conveniently located around some major tourist spots and there are plenty of great restaurants around so you'll be spoiled for choice. And if you ever run out of things to do, there's a cinema and Hot spring about a 10 minute walk away.