The Claska is the one hotel in Tokyo I've always been curious about. I love boutique hotels but they are rare in Japan. Often the type of hotels that come up under "boutique" listings are more of the Western style chains, sometimes luxurious ones, but not what I'd class as boutique.
My stay at the Claska took a roundabout route. Initially, when I decided to go to Tokyo for a week (that ended up being 10 days) after the concert in Osaka, I had no idea what I could afford. That's the downside of having a flexible income - I can pretty much see three months in the future then it's a big, black hole. Plus my savings were pretty much depleted when I got back from Europe. I figured I could keep the costs down by mixing up some of the time with couchsurfing.
When my earnings were higher than expected, I decided couchsurfing be damned, I'd give the Claska a try. So booked a room, then cancelled it because I wanted to go Aomori. Decided against Aomori (which was a wise, wise decision after seeing the news reports on the wild weather in Tokohu while I was there) and rebooked the Claska.
To be honest, if you are visiting Tokyo for the first time and want to check all the "must see" sites off your list, I wouldn't recommend Claska. It's a bit out of the way which would make travel a bit of a pain. Not that it'd be impossible. Just that if I were going to Tokyo for the first time, knowing what I know now, I'd stay somewhere close to a Yamanote line station.
Because I've been to Tokyo umpteen times and wanted to see a new side of the city, it was perfect for me.
The hotel is a short bus ride from Meguro station and, judging from what I saw sitting in the cafe, the buses are awfully frequent. I never actually caught the bus because the subway station, while about 15 minutes walk from the hotel, was far more convenient for me. The station, Gakugei-daigaku, is on the Tokyu Toyoko Line which, I didn't realise until I stayed there, turns into the Fukutoshin line going through Shinjuku and Ikebukuro.
While small, Claska has a wide range of rooms. If you want total luxury, you can get a gorgeous suite for nearly $1000 a night. Way out of my price range. Then there are a number of simple yet stylish options but my preference was for the 'contemporary' rooms with one-off designs by different decorators.
I ended up, after all my chopping and changing, with the "Someone's Atelier" room. I'd not picked this first up because all the framed art leaning against the wall seemed dangerous for clumsy people. It ended up not being an issue but the desk area with branches on top was a bit of a hazard. I'm not exceptionally tall but I did get my hair caught in those branches a few times.
My room was lovely though. The big desk area meant I could get all my stuff organised. The bed was just perfect and the toiletries and other facilities were as lovely as you'd expect. I even had the dilemma of trying to decide between a big, fluffy bathrobe or a yukuta to wear in my room.
After checking in and checking out everything in my room, I headed to the rooftop terrace to take more photos and have a sticky beak. Then I headed down to the hotel shop. I expect hotel shops to be full of overpriced tat but the shop at Claska had some really lovely stuff. I hadn't had my suitcase already close to the limit, I could've done some damage.
I grabbed a coffee at the hotel cafe (a very overpriced coffee) and spent some time dog watching. Attached to the hotel is a dog grooming place with many cute puppies coming and going. Then I headed to Nakameguro to see the winter illuminations and have dinner.
The first morning, I woke up and opened the curtains only to realise my room had a view of Mount Fuji. Woohoo! Then I called room service and ordered Brioche French Toast and a coffee for my breakfast.
The service in the hotel, as you'd expect in Japan, was fantastic but sometimes I find Japanese service a bit uncomfortable. I'm used to doing things myself not sitting back and being waited on but I think that makes the staff feel awkward. Still, if someone is bringing French Toast to my room, I can deal with that.
So, it being my last full day in Japan, what did I do? I headed for the little shopping strip near the subway and did me some karaoke. And, when I say "some" karaoke, I mean I got the free time deal and spent over 8 hours there. Maybe a little obsessive but I love karaoke.
I'd planned to have dinner at one of the little places around the hotel but it was freezing cold so decided to dine in my room again. There is a cafe on the ground floor but you can't do that in your PJs.
The food prices at Claska seemed to be all over the place. I got the Japanese fish set meal for dinner for $10 yet a coffee cost around $7. That seemed to me to be a huge discrepancy.
While I was out, my room had been cleaned despite me putting out the handy magnet on my door to say don't service my room. I left a comment on the survey form in my room and the hotel emailed me very quickly to apologise.
I had to leave early on the second morning to catch my flight home so no room service breakfast. I did run up to the convenience store nearby to get something to eat and a coffee. I ended up throwing out the coffee and paying the $$$ for one in the cafe while I waited for my cab because it was so foul.
I loved that the hotel have you a handy guide on various ways to get to the airport. I'd have taken the cheapest option and bussed to the station except I had extra bags because of all my Arashi goods buying! For around $25, you can get a cab to Shinagawa station and catch the Narita Express directly to the airport which seemed like the best option. I could've got a cab to a nearby Hilton for around $10 and caught their shuttle bus but the timing meant either arriving at the airport really early or a bit too close for comfort.
While there were a few things I didn't love about Claska - the overpriced coffee being the standout plus the room speakers, charger etc being all for Apple products - I'd definitely stay there again. The staff were lovely and the bed super comfortable.
I paid $75 a night for my room which I thought was a great price, especially considering you can't get much at all in Tokyo, not even a hostel dorm bed for under $30-40. I booked through Tablet Hotels went they were running a special deal so it was a bit cheaper than the usual price. That link is an affiliate link which means I'll get some points or something if you use it. You get points too so yay! The price didn't include tax or the service charge that hotels in Japan charge as a nasty check out surprise.
(also an affiliate link)