Showing posts with label Day 1 of Japan Trip. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Day 1 of Japan Trip. Show all posts

Monday, July 16, 2012

Expedia Japan Office Meet: An Afternoon to Remember


Expedia Japan Office Meet

The clock strikes 11 and a petite figure with youthful childlike demeanor turns up at my hotel Villa Fontaine lobby.

Arti from India? She enthusiastically questions with enquiring eyes.

Yes, and you must be Sayaka from Expedia! I reply excitedly.

She nods with a huge warm grin... and thereon begins my first encounter with the Japanese from close quarters for the first time in the trip .......

She was Sayaka Hirayama, marketing executive for Expedia and my sweet host for the trip. A visit to the Expedia office in Japan was one of the many things that were on my to-do-list in Japan and frankly speaking, I was quite nervous about it. Since I didn’t quite know what to expect out of it, I had come to harbor my very own fanciful qualms of boring presentations and endless introductions and secretly wished for it to get over soon... even before embarking on the trip.

Expedia travel network - The one name for travel

However, it wasn’t long till I realized that all my self imposed nervousness and fears were just that... a fancy.

At the office, which was just a stone's throw away from our hotel Villa Fontaine Roppongi, I was at once relieved to see everyone busy in their own works. No commotions, no disturbances, no overstated welcomes, nothing – all calm and quiet. Sayaka introduced me to some members of the staff and all of them responded with much warmth and affection.


Expedia travel company Japan Office in Tokyo
The Expedia office in Tokyo, Japan

ExpiBear - The mascot of Expedia Japan
The official and adorably cute mascot of the Expedia Japan, the Expibear
[In the pic: Sayaka (left) and Natsuko - marketing director (right)]

I wandered around the office and appreciated the casual d├ęcor of the place as Sayaka went on to explain the working model of the company.

Expedia Office in Japan, Tokyo
Expedia Japan Office

I glared at the computer screens of the people working there in a curious attempt to make out what exactly they were doing at their work stations. The amazing thing was that they never stared back and generally remained engrossed in their work. A few people returned pleasant smiles but that was it, no one ogled back thus ensuring that I feel relaxed, comfortable and at ease at all times.

The views from their glass balcony were impressive. Amid all the concrete, the picture of the red and white painted 333 mtr. high Tokyo tower touching the skies was splendid.


View of the Tokyo Tower from the balcony of Expedia Office in Japan
The Tokyo Tower: View from the balcony

Later after completing the office tour, I was delighted to be presented with a big goodie bag that included a stuffed Expibear and a few stickers.

My Gift in the Goodie bag from Expedia - The adorably cute
The ExpiBear that came in my Goodie bag

To add something more to it, there was a surprise lunch with four members of their staff members organized for us.

My first Vegetable Sushi in Tokyo, Japan
At Potager Veg Sushi Restaurant, Tokyo - My First Sushi

The entire arrangement was so artistic and beautiful,
I actually didn't feel like disturbing it.

My first sushi – vegetable sushi - platter accompanied with some insightfully engaging banter with the lively and spirited Expedia staff was a delight and made for a fun afternoon.

Expedia Japan planning out our sightseeing activies
Expedians helping us plan out our activities for the next day

All in all, the warmth of my Expedia friends, a lot of glorious food and the wonderful company along with some great conversations kept growing in charm all through the afternoon...

The very lively Expedia company members of Japan
Warm, lively and spirited: The 4 Expedians

... giving me very little reason for not marking something that I initially dreaded, as one of the memorable highlights of my Japan trip!

Getting there:

It's a short walk from Villa fontaine Roppongi, the hotel in Tokyo where I stayed.

Roppongi First Building, 7F,
1-9-9 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo,
106-0032 Japan

+81(03)4577-3201
shirayama@airasiaexpedia.com

Previous Posts from the Japan Trip -

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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Where to Stay in Tokyo: Hotel Villa Fontaine Roppongi

Day 1: Landing in Japan - REVIEW OF HOTEL VILLA FONTAINE ROPPONGI, TOKYO - Expedia Office Meet.

Hotel Villa Fontaine Roppongi, Tokyo: A Review

One of the major deciding factors to answering the question, How was your travel trip? largely depends on the hotel that you choose to stay, I am sure you all agree. It is one thing that can make or mar your trip, polish it or blur it towards oblivion. Which is why I was so eagerly looking forward to the Hotel Villa Fontaine Roppongi in Japan booked for me by the travel company, Expedia!

Hotel Villa Fontaine Roppongi, Japan - EntranceHotel Villa Fontaine Roppongi, Japan - Back view
Hotel Villa Fontaine Roppongi, Japan - Night view
Hotel Villa Fontaine Roppongi, Tokyo

And I don’t know if I am doing it right in disclosing this beforehand, but Hotel Villa Fontaine Roppongi did score excellently well on my scorecard.

First Glance - Entrance

At first glance itself, the hotel spelt luxury. The lobby was spacious, well lit up with a pleasant and an obliging English speaking front desk.

Hotel Villa Fontaine Roppongi, Japan - Lobby Area
The Lobby area after entrance -
the reception on the left and the breakfast area to the right of the picture.

Complimentary Breakfast

In one part of the reception area, there was a complimentary buffet style breakfast to start the day that came along with our room price.

Hotel Villa Fontaine Roppongi, Japan - Breakfast Area
Guests dining at the breakfast seating area in the lobby

Quite elaborate with a wide range of exotic items like miso soup, rice, yoghurt, salad, different types of bread, milk, orange juice, tea, coffee; the lavish spread was an absolute treat to the senses.

Hotel Villa Fontaine Roppongi, Japan - Salad breakfast
Cabbage Salad and chopsticks in the foreground

Miso soup - This is non vegetarian

Hotel Villa Fontaine Roppongi, Japan - tea and coffee in breakfast
Green and Black tea, kept on a burner

Hotel Villa Fontaine Roppongi, Japan - Bread breakfast
Milk bread buns - similar to the Indian bun paav

... And this was my favorite -

Hotel Villa Fontaine Roppongi, Japan - fresh orange juice in breakfast
The Chilled Orange juice!

My Plate: Vegetarian Options

While pure veggies don’t have much of a choice but for us the combination of milk-bread, butter and the orange juice worked wonders and ensured that our day started on a healthy and a filling note.

Hotel Villa Fontaine Roppongi, Japan - my breakfast plate

My Plate looked the same on all the three days
consisting of milk bread, butter and juice.

My Room

My room had a cozy and a warm set up that came along with a special queen bed. I flopped on it, tired and weary every night and this made it quite hard for me to leave it the next morning. The room was big enough for two people to fit in comfortably and clean enough for a homely stay. They weren’t anything elaborate, just simple and comfortable. The allure of this room, for me, simply lied in its uncluttered details.

Hotel Villa Fontaine Roppongi, Japan - My Room

My Queen Bed!

Amenities and Facilities

The amenities in the room integrated a small refrigerator with slip-ons and night pyjamas included.

Hotel Villa Fontaine Roppongi, Japan - night pyjamas

The night pyjamas made for a pretty picture of amusement..
And no, I did not use them! :-)

The Bathroom

But what absolutely caught my fancy was the bathroom. The tap water was filtered and good to drink, toiletries provided were fragrant with a delicate scent - refurnished as soon as we used them and the toilet seat looked more like a toy with buttons and lights! (More on that in a later post though)

Hotel Villa Fontaine Roppongi, Japan - filtered tap water

I drank this water everyday.
The Mineral water bottle was too costly,
and this proved to be a pretty safe bet instead!

Hotel Villa Fontaine Roppongi, Japan - stocked up toiletries
The other freebies - toothbrush, paste et al

Free Wi Fi and Internet Access

Apart from this, the hotel also offered the usual amenities like free wifi access in all the rooms that are the hallmark of every luxury hotel today.

Hotel Villa Fontaine Roppongi, Japan - free internet
The Business center at the ground floor with two PC's
-- this was my temporary work area too.

The language was set Japanese and could not be changed
but thankfully, Gmail was an exception!

And... to cap all of the above,

Hotel Villa Fontaine Roppongi, Japan - sunrise view

These were the views to which I opened my eyes every morning...

[This picture was taken somewhere around as early as 4.15 am...
Yes, the sun rises that early in Japan.]


So, Should you stay in Hotel Villa Fontaine?

YES

Simply because, the 3 days that we spent in the hotel in many ways set up our trip in Tokyo, not only because of its ambiance but because of its courteous staff as well. Voluntarily offering to keep our luggage at the reception area, personally attending us with the subway map route and sight seeing options when asked for and helping us track the veggie options from the breakfast buffet are just some of the things that will ensure that I come back to this hotel, the next time we come to this beautiful city and recommend it to you as well.

Facts and Tips for Travelers:


1. One thing that you need to be careful of is the check in time. They are quite firm about it and wont allow you in before their predefined point. However, the good side to it is that in case you happen to drop in before time like we did, the staff is helping enough to safely shelter your luggage till you secure your room later. That’s it though, they dont entertain any more requests in this regard, no matter how long your travel has been or how tired you are, and you are left to take care of yourself.

Timings: Check-In: 15:00 Check-Out: 11:00.

2. Conveniently located right adjacent to the Roppongi-itchome station, Hotel Villa Fontaine gives you easy access to the subway train network that connects you to the rest of Tokyo.

3. I am not too sure what use addresses serve when trying to reach a place in Japan. My personal experience says that people hardly identify places by their exact addresses. Its better to know the nearest station to your hotel beforehand, well in advance and then ask for the place after alighting at the correct station.

Basic information:

Address: 1-6-2 Roppongi, Minato-ku,Tokyo - 1060032 

- 0 min. from Roppongi Itchome station. The station gives direct access to the hotel! (Namboku Line)
- 8 min. walk from Kamiyacho station.
- 8 min. walk from Tameiko Sanno station.
- 12 min. walk from Roppongi station.

Telephone no.: 03-3560-1110 (direct), 03-5339-1200 (reservation desk)

Tariff: Around 20,000 Yen.

For more details, please visit: http://www.hvf.jp/eng/roppongi.php/

Previous Posts from the Japan Trip -

1. Planning for Japan: Visa, Flight Bookings, Hotel Reservations, etc.
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Sunday, July 8, 2012

Welcome to the Land of the Rising Sun: Japan

Day 1: LANDING IN JAPAN - Review of Hotel Villa Fontaine Roppongi, Tokyo - Expedia Office Meet.

Landing in Japan from India

It was unusually exhilarating as my Jet aircraft took off from Chattrapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai. I reminisced the time when I had sat in an air plane for the very first time in my life... it was a feeling very similar to that time that I'd experienced... only this time, it was more due to the destination that I was headed to.

View from airplane, Mumbai
Goodbye, Mumbai

I grabbed my window seat and watched all those iconic buildings, all the dramatic chaos of my city gradually shrink and eventually faint in the distance.

Miles high up in the air, it felt like having entered a world different altogether. With a thick dense fluffy cloud cover enveloping our airplane, I forgot all the petty disturbances, all the tensions and anxieties drained in our lives and drew myself towards the beautifully assorted colors of sublime nature.

Cloud cover from airplane - Mumbai

As the dial of my watch kept ticking, the distance kept attenuating and we kept getting closer to our destination.

Flight status of Mumbai - Japan via Bangkok
Jet Screen in the flight to Japan via Bangkok

The next day early morning, Japan Airlines (connecting flight to Japan from Bangkok) saw me peeping out of my glass pane in awe... the entire landscape had been sprinkled with diverse hues of oranges, blues and whites.

Beautiful hues from aeroplane
Beautiful cloud shots from aeroplane
Sunrise in the Land of the Rising Sun

Waking up in the Land of the Rising Sun with this magical sight... ah, there couldn't have been a better start to my journey, I mused! I felt blessed!

Sunrise in Japan from aeroplane
A new day had begun...

Sunrise in Japan as seen from aeroplane
Looking through this veil, Japan looked every inch the beautiful bride blushing.

The aircrew directed us to fasten our seat belts and to switch off all our electronic equipments as the flight prepared for landing. The flight came to a halt and I stood at the air plane aisle... a bit uneasy, getting ready to disembark with my passport in hand.

As I stared at the people around me, I felt a strong wave of sensation. The sensation slowly grew through my body and left me supercharged with a new energy and vigor. It was a moment that cannot be taken away from me. It was emotional to land foot on an alien land for the first time... Yet, it felt home... Strange...

Fast facts on Japan:

Language: Japanese

Currency: Japanese Yen (JPY)

Time Zone: UTC/GMT +9 (IST + 3.5)

International Dial Code: +81

Best Season to Visit: Even though my visiting season was end of Spring (early June) and starting rains, not one of the best times to visit the country, fortunately I was blessed with a very good weather and an even wonderful company.

But tourists generally prefer to visit Tokyo in the spring or the fall season when the colors in nature are in full flourish. The climate in Tokyo from March to May is especially inviting, with temperatures hovering around 15 deg. cel. to 23 deg. cel. or more. The plum and cherry blossoms are not to be missed in the spring months, while the maples and autumn shades are equally impressive between late September and November.

Travel Tip: If you are planning to visit the country anywhere around end of May, start of June or later, do not forget to carry an umbrella with you as the weather at those times is highly fickle.

Previous Posts from the Japan Trip -

1. Planning for Japan: Visa, Flight Bookings, Hotel Reservations, etc.
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