During a trip to Manila, I had a layover in each direction at Tokyo Narita. The first layover was too short to leave the airport (six hours) but the second was perfect for a Day Rate stay at the Hilton Narita Airport. But what does a Day Rate entail?
The Hilton Narita Airport is just three miles (6.4km) from Terminal 3 at Tokyo Narita International Airport. Despite the close proximity, the drive from door-to-door takes about 25 minutes each way.
Address: 456, Kosuge, Narita, Chiba Prefecture 286-0127, Japan
Phone: +81 476-33-1121
Why Leave the Airport At All?
My inbound flight had a six-hour layover in Narita. That was not quite enough time to leave but a really long time, even in lounges, to occupy me. Try as I might, I couldn’t fill the long wait very well despite visiting the ANA lounge, and the United lounge, taking a shower, getting a coffee, eating a meal. I still ended up sleeping at the gate for 45 minutes before boarding like a common vagrant.
On the way back, however, my layover was longer, originally nine hours but then due to a delay, 11 hours and to reset my body clock I needed to rest. Sleeping during the day allowed me to re-adjust to US east coast time.
Day Rate vs. Normal Booking
Day rates are available at most airport hotels (though presumably, they should be available everywhere.) They are discounted rates for a short period of time during daytime hours as opposed to night. My day rate, for example, was about $50 USD at the Hilton vs. a normal nightly booking rate of about $114. I checked in after 9 am and departed around 5 pm.
Day rates are ideal for both the traveler and the property. Many airport hotels are unoccupied during the day with travelers choosing to stay near the airport due to early arrival and late arriving flights. The rooms then sit idle in between, perfect for my situation.
A note about Day Rates as opposed to normal bookings (and these are things that could easily be improved by all brands, not just Hilton), they have some odd characteristics. You cannot book using points even if you were happy to pay the full nightly rate. Most chains do not allow guests to book them online. Hilton allows guests to earn stay credit though not all chains do, but guests will earn points for the cost of the night and any incidentals.
The Hilton Narita Airport has easy access to the airport shuttle they share with three other nearby properties. When exiting Terminal 1, the stop is 16, and of course, the Shuttle was prompt. It runs a 30-minute circuit. From Terminal 1, the Hilton is the first stop, upon return from the hotel, Terminal 2 is the first stop then Terminal 1.
This is an airport property, and they can’t all be the Hyatt Regency Presidential Suite at Pittsburgh International. It reminded me a little of a dorm with built-in controls for lights, volumes, air conditioning.
The desk was a decent size, enough for two laptops. The room was certainly adequate for my purposes, though for a longer stay, I would probably look for something with more modern updates.
The bed was very, very comfortable. It was described as a Queen but it felt like certainly a King. I slept the exact amount of time I intended to sleep and by all accounts, it served its purpose.
The bathroom was an odd mix of great and not-so-great. For example, the toilet has a built-in bidet seat (not as awesome as the one I have at home) and I will put this in the “great” category. The shower featured both a rain showerhead, a sprayer, and a tub function – also great.
In the not-so-great category, the tub itself was really outdated, I don’t care for the shower over tubs, especially those with overly friendly shower curtains (this one had aims of being in a relationship with me). The vanity is also really dated, but the toiletries (Crabtree & Evelyn) were excellent.
Be careful which bus you get on exiting the hotel! There were several that pulled up but only one with people loading bags into the bus and boarding, and look who it is, a United crew. “Are you headed to Newark?” I asked one in front of me. “No,” she said as she turned back to the front. Fine, that’s good, if you’re this friendly at the start of the trip I am glad you’re not working my flight.
The driver confirms with me, “United? Terminal One?” Yes, I answer and he collects my case and backpack. I board, take a seat near the front and play on my phone while the crew chatters behind me about how open the flight is and whether or not they will have rows to sleep in.
“Who are you?” Asks the last FA boarding.
“I’m Kyle.” I answered a little indignant and alarmed and went back to playing on my phone.
“With…?” She asks, glaring at me and not moving to an open seat.
“Can I help you with something?” I finally ask. What does this lady want from me?
“This is a crew bus, are you crew?” She asks, already knowing the answer.
“This is a crew bus?” I race past her to get off before the driver closes the cargo door.
It’s at this point I realize that as I sat idly by on the crew bus, my shuttle had departed and I would have to wait another 30 minutes for the next one – not an ideal situation.
The queen bee FA popped her head back out as the confused driver began removing them from the hold, “United?” she asked.
“Yes, I am flying United, should I get back on?” I thought, that was nice, she didn’t want me to miss my flight.
“No. This is a crew bus.” She ducked back inside.
Fine, I get it, that bus was for them and not for me. The bus was not marked as such and was parked adjacent to the Shuttle pick up and drop off point. There were no indicators that this shuttle was expressly for the crew, and frankly, I have been both in situations where crews have their own transport and also those in which they ride with commoners like myself on the shuttle.
Regardless, a little finesse would have gone a long way. I was glad they were not my crew (for the avoidance of doubt, she fit into this friendly category), but be careful which bus/shuttle you board when leaving the Hilton.
Would I Stay Again?
I would stay at the Hilton Narita Airport again, but I would also look around at the competition a little harder. I anticipated the shuttle ride would have been shorter than it was and when you factor in time spent clearing Customs & Immigration in both directions, the visit can be significantly shortened. For me, the minimum time in which I could derive value worth the effort of leaving the airport and paying for the stay would be about seven hours.
Have you stayed at this property before? Is there a closer/quicker hotel you’ve stayed at when laying over at NRT?