The hotel rooms I stay in are probably never going to feature in jealousy-inducing Instagram posts. But while I’m not keen to pay for a lot of extras, I am into rooms being clean, comfortable, and at least a little quiet.
Enter Hotel Graphy. The building itself is older and solid with it, the rooms are a good size and well designed. It's well-priced, the staff are nice, the toilets are the fancy ones, and the rooms have a fridge that you can stash ice-cream mochi in. There are also a few dorms available if cost is an issue.
Apart from ticking all the boxes where the rooms are concerned, Hotel Graphy has a bunch of features that I didn’t even realise I wanted in a hotel. There's a space to work, and a common area to chill out in. Upstairs you'll find a free laundry, and a cute roof terrace. The cafe and bar is great- and guests get a ‘welcome drink’ every evening. Breakfast is around AU$12 and while it’s tasty, I like to take the opportunity to cook for myself.
On the ground floor, there’s a fully equipped kitchen for guests to use and every room comes with it’s own ‘locker’, a little pantry where you can store food.
When I travel, one of my favourite things to do is to browse through supermarkets (it drives Chris mildly crazy). Having a kitchen turns me into a legitimate shopper and I love it. Ever chosen tofu from the selection in a Japanese supermarket? It’s a game changer.
Plus, we’re very good at taking full advantage of all of the delights of Japanese cuisine but after a few days of sushi, ramen, yakitori and tempura, I realise it’s been some time since we ate a vegetable in non-fried form.
Very important: do not miss the chance to use the Balmuda steam toasters to make the best toast you will ever eat.
Hotel Graphy is in my favourite Tokyo hood, the area broadly known as Yanesen. Like Tribeca, this is a syllabic abbreviation (frankly I thought this term had a cooler name), a contraction of the three suburbs Yanaka, Nezu and Sendagi.
In the immediate area there’s a lot to do (and eat) but there’s also easy access via the Metro, the buses and after a short walk, all the trains running from Ueno Station. From the hotel you can stroll down to Cibi, one of my favourite Tokyo cafes, and it's a small step across to Yanaka Ginza, a local shopping street laden with treats.
If you're landing at Narita and staying at Hotel Graphy, you'll find one more reason to be happy. The Keisei Skyliner takes an hour to get to Keisei-Ueno Station from the airport, and costs less than AU$30.