Concierge.com's insider take:
Affordable boutique hotels are hard to come by in Tokyo, especially ones as artfully designed as the Granbell Hotel in Shibuya. A favorite of the Japanese media and fashion editors since its 2006 opening, this under-the-radar hotel has 114 simply adorned rooms—white platform beds, blond wood furniture with black accents—with many windows overlooking the neon mayhem of Shibuya (for the best views, book one of the terrace suites on the 13th floor). Don't be put off by first impressions—yes, the entrance is a little difficult to find and the reception and lobby lounge are narrow and uninspired, but the purple, moodily lit hallways upstairs feel like the corridors of an alien spacecraft. The guestrooms, all around 300 square feet, have a cool aesthetic, with gorgeous L-shaped granite tubs for a two-person soak, motorized curtains decorated with Edo period landscapes reimagined in Lichtenstein-style pointillism, and high-tech amenities (flat-screen televisions, CD/DVD players, even EP record players) presented as tastefully as the artwork on the walls. The Shibuya Granbell Hotel's biggest draw is its location: far enough away from the cartoon madness of downtown Shibuya for a good night's sleep, but close enough to stumble home after a night of karaoke.Douglas Wright
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