Cost Conscious: Staying At Independent, Local Hotels Vs International Chain Properties


With international chain hotels ever increasing daily rates, it might be worthwhile to look at other, more local options for accommodation that might be more cost-efficient to stay at.

I have mentioned in previous articles that I like to stay at a particular local brand of hotels when visiting Tokyo, and some readers have expressed interest in learning more about the place and my reasons for staying there.

There are a variety of reasons based on which I pick my hotels and the main one is obviously the cost but also the location and overall quality of the property.

One of the cities I frequent most is Tokyo, and over the last 15 years, I became fond of the Shinjuku area, in particular the neighborhood of the Park Hyatt Tokyo, Hyatt Regency, Hilton, and the adjacent park.

While the Park Hyatt is naturally the most expensive option and something I maybe afford myself for 1-2 nights every now and then the Hyatt Regency as well as the Hilton were always a welcome alternative. Both hotels have a lounge and tend to treat elite guests well but of course even these 4-star hotels still carry a daily rate of ~ US$200 which can add up over time.

Especially when staying for leisure over an extended period of time, it might be hard to justify spending that kind of money every day and so it was several years ago that I discovered the Tokyu Stay Nishi Shinjuku just down the street.

This property is basically an apartment-hotel hybrid that offers limited facilities and services that are characteristic for such accommodation, such as a washing machine in each unit as well as a microwave, dishes, and cutlery.

The price is very moderate too:

This is $70 per night for the smallest single occupancy room but you can find better rates on the usual OTA’s such as Orbitz or where you can also use discount vouchers (if any are active).

I’ve gotten this place for as low as $35/night one January, but usually, the rate here hovers around $55-60/night. Even though one has to take into account that it’s basically just a room and not a luxurious hotel, that’s still just a quarter of what you pay at a full-service four-star hotel of the likes of Hilton or Hyatt.

Quality wise this property is top-notch, modern, and squeaky clean. There are some business hotels in Shinjuku that are even slightly cheaper (I have tried them all) but most of them aren’t as modern and clean, which is the most important thing to me. The Tokyu Stay also has the ability to open the window in each room, something the large hotels don’t offer.


These days I tend to go for best-price hotel options rather than brand loyalty, especially when it amounts to several hundred or even thousand dollars for the entire duration of the stay. It’s simply impossible to justify spending that much more money when an acceptable hotel alternative is pretty much right across the street.

At this point, I have requalified for Hyatt Globalist and Marriott Titanium, so the luxury of seeking out cheaper and more practical accommodation is even easier. Brand hotels are all nice and fun, but when prices go out of control, and the properties continue to cut back on benefits such as lounge, housekeeping and shuttle buses (just to name a few) then it’s time to cut my losses and look elsewhere.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.