We have our 2021 hotel

It is less than a year away from Tokyo 2020 in the summer of 2021. We are really hoping that it happens. As I mentioned over and over when I thought I was going this year, finding accommodations was proving to be quite difficult. Luckily the accommodations we arranged had a full refund policy. I’m glad we didn’t opt for the Park Hyatt at $2000/night prepaid. I can’t remember the refund policy on that bargain.

We paid attention though, and saw that a hotel from a major chain has rooms available in Yokohama. OK, Yokohama is not Tokyo, but as much traveling as we will be doing from venue to venue, it’s good enough. Even better? We were able to book for the entire period on points! The hotel probably isn’t thrilled about that, but we are. So that worry is over, and if the Olympics are cancelled again, we just get our points back.

We have digs

While I was writing away, creating content for this blog, Tomo was actually searching for a hotel for us. Japan has a style of hotel called a “business hotel.” These hotels are very functional, offer little hotel services, but do offer a (typically) clean place to stay. In my experience, the beds are hard as a rock and the sheets are like sandpaper, but if you lie very still they are OK.

When we were looking for rooms earlier, we visited some of the upper scale business hotel chains we had used in the past. We found those places were charging up to $600 per night, payment in advance, and no refund. While that is better than $2000 per night, it was above our price point.

A quick check at the moment shows the price is going up…

Luckily, a friend of ours gets access to various hotels through his company. The booking period for the Olympics was just opening up, so Tomo was able to shop around. He started looking at lower price hotels at first, and saw some that were 14 square meters with beds that were 120 cm wide. For two people. 14 square meters is 150 square feet, and 120 cm is 47 inches. For two people. That was a bit cozy for us for three weeks.

After shopping for four hours, Tomo was able to find a hotel with rooms no smaller than 20 square meters (215 square feet) and beds 160 cm (63 inches) wide. The room was available for all but two days, and those two days fell on a weekend. The price was less than $300 per night, and although advance payment was required, it is possible to cancel with a full refund. Note the usual price is $70 per person. They are charging double in this period. That’s right, they charge per person, not per room. Makes no sense and one of the things that drives me crazy about Japan.

I feel pretty fortunate that we found this. It is conveniently near the Akasaka Mitsuke subway station that has two subway lines that allows direct access (no changing trains) to Shinjuku Station, Shibuya Station, and Tokyo Station.

This hotel is not available for booking per their homepage – only through this special access. A big thanks to our friend for helping out.

The unaccommodating accommodations

We thought we’d be really clever and reserve our usual hotel (Hyatt Regency Shinjuku) one day at a time at exactly the day the window opens for reservations. We are arriving a few days before the opening ceremonies and were successful getting a room the first few nights. And then the first day of the official Games, NOTHING was available. Nothing at all at the usual hotel. We continued to check at EXACTLY the time the rooms should be opening daily and they were already all booked. We called the hotel and learned that the IOC had booked the entire hotel in advance for the entire period. So … there went our plan.

We called a few of the Hyatt properties directly to see if there was any availability. The Park Hyatt (of “Lost in Translation” fame) was very kind and recognized that we had stayed there before. They made us an offer to stay for the entire period for only $2000/night (excluding tax and service fee), advance payment, and no refund. To quote Kai Ryssdal, “Let’s do the numbers!” That’s a whopping $36,000. So, that’s a big NO.

The issue is definitely making the news

Fortunately, we have a backup plan, so we won’t be spending $36,000 (excluding tax and service fees) and we won’t be sleeping on the streets. However, it would be nice to find a room so we are not inconveniencing friends. Thanks in advance to the friend who has offered their home to us. There’s time, and rooms will get released, so we will keep looking.