Beauty and comfort that you and your wallet will appreciate.
As a traveler, there’s no way to see everything that Tokyo has to offer in just a day or two, and once you add in the cool stuff outside the city limits that’s still within day-trip distance, you’ll want to add even more nights staying in Japan’s capital. The trick, then, is to find a hotel in Tokyo that’s affordable and conveniently located, but with enough relaxing amenities and creature comforts to make it a great place to recharge between busy days of sightseeing.
We recently found a hotel that ticks all those boxes, as we sent our Japanese-language reporter Masanuki Sunakoma to spend a night at Dormy Inn Express Asakusa.
As you can guess from the name, the hotel is located in the Asakusa neighborhood, a historical district of Tokyo that includes the city’s most famous Buddhist temple, Sensoji. Dormy Inn Express Asakusa is a quick five-minute walk from the Kaminarimon gate that marks the start of the pedestrian promenade that leads into the temple, and just three minutes from Asakusa Station, where train and subway lines that can whisk you off to other parts of downtown Tokyo or off north towards Saitama and Tochigi Prefectures.
The Dormy Inn hotel group, which you might remember from some of our previous travel articles, has built up a reputation as one of Japan’s best options for budget-minded travelers. Their “Express” sub-brand is even more affordable, and we paid 11,000 yen (US$74) for our single-occupancy Residential Semi-double Room.
At first glance, it looks like a thoroughly typical “business hotel” (as Japan calls its low-frills hotels) room. But the “Residential” designation refers to a few extra niceties to make this room type more appealing to travelers who are going to be staying for more than just a night or two.
Instead of the tiny mini fridge that most Japanese hotel rooms give you that’ll barely hold a few drink bottles, Dormy Inn Express Asakusa’s Residential Semi-double Room gives you a combo fridge/freezer that’s as big as the one many Japanese people have in their apartments. Combined with the in-room microwave you also get (which is a rarity for Japanese hotels at this price point), this lets you stock up on drinks and food which you can then enjoy hot or cold, rather than having to make separate runs to the convenience store whenever you get the munchies and having to consume any leftovers at room-temperature.
Oh, and the fridge wasn’t completely empty when we checked in, either. As part of its “Traveling Sweets” service, Dormy Inn puts a little welcome dessert in the fridge for you, and in our case it was a tasty mango pudding, and a bottle of mineral water.
The bathroom is simple but serviceable, basically what you can expect for a hotel like this in Japan.
However, the better place to bathe is in the large Japanese-style bath area up on the 10th floor.
▼ There are separate bath areas for men and women.
Obviously, they wouldn’t let Masanuki take his camera into the bath area or the connected Japanese cedar sauna, but both of them helped undo any physical and mental tension he’d been feeling. An especially cool part of Dormy Inn Express Asakusa’s bath is that it provides a beautiful view of the Sumida River and local skyline, including the Asahi Beer headquarters building and the Tokyo Skytree.
▼ There’s a similar view from the hotel’s clothing-on public area foot bath.
Also up on the 10th floor are coin laundry facilities and a vending machine corner…
…but before grabbing a drink, you’ll want to partake of the hotel’s free after-bath refreshments: popsicles at night, and yogurt drinks in the morning.
▼ Look for the sign that says 湯上りサービス (yuagari sabisu or “after-bath service”).
There’s more free food offered in the first-floor restaurant from 9:30 to 11 p.m. in the form of Dormy Inn’s famous “Yonaki Soba,” a free bowl of noodles to serve as a snack to tide you over until breakfast.
Speaking of breakfast, that’s another highlight of the Dormy Inn experience.
At Dormy Inn Express Asakusa, breakfast is served from 7 to 9:15 in the morning (though you have to show up by 9 o’clock).
In addition to a buffet section with various small dishes like burdock root salad, grilled fish, pickled plums, and tofu, Dormy Inn Express Asakusa has a special menu item: unagi meshi, freshwater eel and rice.
You have to ask the staff for the unagi meshi, at which point they’ll prepare a bowl for you, but it’s still included within the 1,300-yen cost of the breakfast buffet.
As always with Dormy Inn, Dormy Inn Express Asakusa isn’t anything super-fancy, but it’s a great value, with just enough little luxuries to make the Residential Semi-double Room an outstanding home away from home while you’re living the Tokyo travel life.
Dory Inn Express Asakusa / ドーミーインEXPRESS浅草
Address: Tokyo-to, Taito-ku, Hanakawado 1-3-4