Yokohama is home to two InterContinental hotels – the InterContinental Yokohama Grand which opened in 1991 and the newer InterContinental Yokohama Pier 8 which first welcomed guests in 2019.
With the two hotels being within ten minutes apart on foot, the older of the two is generally considerably cheaper than the newer one. That said, with its iconic design and high-floor rooms offering great views, the InterContinental Yokohama Grand is not necessarily worse.
Back in November 2022, my wife and I took a short trip to Yokohama and stayed at the InterContinental Yokohama Grand for a couple of nights. Continue reading this review to see what the hotel was like.
Getting to the Hotel
If you are traveling to the hotel by train, you will need to get off at Minatomirai station. With direct trains from Shibuya and other parts of Tokyo, the station is easily accessible.
From the station, you need to follow signs toward Pacifico Yokohama – one of the largest convention centers in Japan within which the hotel is located. The walk from the station to the hotel takes about five to ten minutes.
The hotel is also a short walking distance from most of the sightseeing spots in Yokohama including Yamashita Park, Cup Noodle Museum, and China Town. As mentioned in the introduction, it’s also just a short walk away from the other InterContinental hotel in the city.
Regardless of where you are walking to the hotel from, it’s easy not to get lost thanks to the hotel being 460 feet (140 meters) tall and having a unique sail-like shape that is instantly recognizable among the other buildings in the Minatomirai skyline.
Check-in and Lobby
The reception was on the hotel’s second floor. This was also the floor that the walkway from Minatomirai station led to.
In addition to the reception desk, there was also a concierge desk. Additionally, there was some seating and the floor was also home to some of the hotel’s restaurants and other facilities. More about those later, though.
Check-in was smooth. That said since I was joining the InterContinental Ambassador program to extend my IHG status, it took a while. The front desk staff was kind and, noticing my wife was pregnant, mentioned that it might be better if she sits down and relaxes a bit while waiting.
Once everything was processed, I got many different vouchers (some related to Japan’s government travel subsidy and others being Ambassador benefits – in total almost 200 USD worth) as well as the room key cards. With the Ambassador program guaranteeing an upgrade, we were assigned room 2730 – a Premium Club Access King Room with Shower two ranks above the originally booked Premium King Room with City View.
In addition to the second floor, the first floor was also part of the hotel’s lobby.
There were a street-level entrance, some of the facilities described later in this review, and plenty of seating.
Premium Club Access King Room with Shower
Our room was on the 27th floor and, normally would offer access to the Club InterContinental Lounge on the 28th floor. In our case, we did not have access to the lounge, though, as InterContinental doesn’t offer access to those upgraded into a room on the club floor.
As for the room itself, the hotel’s floor is V-shaped and our room was on its left side. While the right side offers views of a bay, the left side offers excellent views of the city.
Room 2730 was at the very end of the hallway which offered some nice views of Yokohama as well.
Entering the room, there was a closet and a counter with drinks on the right side. Under the counter were a well-stocked minibar and a safe.
On top of the counter were two complimentary bottles of water, a kettle, an espresso machine, and a selection of coffee (including decaf) and tea. There was also a notepad with a pen.
On the right side just after the entrance was a large bathroom.
On the bathroom’s left side was a large bathtub and on its right side was a standalone shower with both handheld and fixed shower heads and a toilet. In the middle was a large sink.
The presence of both a bathtub and a standalone shower was the one difference between the room we originally booked and the room we were upgraded to. The room we originally booked only had a bathtub.
While the basic amenities like shampoo and soap came in large containers, there were also some single-use amenities. Those included dental kits and a skincare set among other things.
A large part of the main part of the room was taken up by a comfortable king-size bed.
The headboard featured a reading light on each side. Additionally, on each side of the bed was a nightstand equipped with a power outlet allowing for easy phone charging at night. Above the bed was a small artwork.
Across from the bed was a TV stand combined with a work desk. The desk featured a pair of universal power outlets. Above the desk was a mirror.
Behind the bed, next to the window, was a coffee table with a pair of chairs.
Lastly, the window sill was turned into a bench. This was perhaps my favorite part of the room as sitting there provided some amazing views of Yokohama – particularly at sunset and night.
Breakfast was served from 6:30AM until 10:00AM at Ocean Terrace, the hotel’s buffet restaurant. While normally it costs 4,200 yen (~32 USD) per person, being an IHG Diamond Elite member, I was able to get it for free by choosing it as a welcome amenity.
When we got to the restaurant on our first morning at the hotel, there was quite a long line of people waiting to get inside. That said, it moved quite quickly and in no time we were seated at our table.
For drinks, there was a counter with pink grapefruit, orange, apple, and vegetable juice dispensers. There were also pitchers with milk (including regular, skim, and soy), water, and freshly squeezed orange juice.
Additionally, coffee and tea were served by the restaurant staff.
As for things to eat, there was a nice selection of freshly baked bread and pastries. There were butter and a couple of different types of jam to go with the bread.
My wife really liked one of the more unique pastries on offer, a mugwort danish. Personally, I enjoyed an apple danish.
There were also three different types of cereal – corn flakes, all bran, and fruits granola. There were milk and stewed apricots to go with those.
The salad area had a good choice of vegetables and a potato salad. A couple of different types of dressing and toppings like raisins and sesame were available too.
Fruits included melon, pineapple, orange, and grapefruit cuts, and grapes.
There were also some yogurts.
Other cold breakfast items included a selection of cheese, crackers, some cold cuts, and smoked salmon.
Hot items included boiled eggs, sausages, bacon, ham, and baked vegetables – potatoes, brocolli, and beans.
For those with sweet tooth, there were French toasts and pancakes with honey and maple syrup.
Another item on the continental breakfast “menu” was creamy corn soup.
Lastly, there was a live cooking station where omelets (plain, cheese, or mixed with ham, mushrooms, and onion) and sunny-side ups were prepared.
We had the mixed omelet with cheese both days which was great.
Separately from the continental breakfast items, there was also a decent selection of Japanese breakfast items.
There were some pickles, spicy cod roe, tofu, Japanese omelets, and grilled fish (salmon and mackerel).
Additionally, there were rice, natto (fermented soybeans), and miso soup.
Finally, there were Chinese congee and shu-mai steamed dumplings.
Overall, the breakfast buffet had a good selection of good quality food.
There were seven bars and dining establishments at the InterContinental Yokohama Grand:
- 31st: A lounge with a view of Yokohama on, as its name suggests, the hotel’s 31st floor
- Azur: A French restaurant on the 2nd floor
- Karyu: A Chinese restaurant on the 31st floor
- Marine Blue: A lounge on the 2nd floor
- Nadaman: A Japanese restaurant on the 4th floor
- Ocean Terrace: A buffet restaurant on the 2nd floor
- Pier 21: A “floating” restaurant” in a separate building
- Starboard: A music lounge on the second floor
Pier 21 and 31st were closed during our stay and some of the other establishments had limited opening hours. With that, and some being fully booked, we ended up trying three: Marine Blue, Ocean Terrace (for lunch in addition to the breakfast described earlier), and Starboard.
You can find the latest menus for all of the establishments here.
For dinner on our first night at the hotel, we went to the Marine Blue lobby lounge. I reserved a table earlier in the day and when we arrived we were offered one of the window-side tables overlooking the bay. With there being quite a few people in the lounge – it looked like a group of conference or similar event participants – the atmosphere was nice.
In addition to drinks, a decent variety of food including snacks, mains, and desserts was offered.
We started our meal with a Ceasar salad which was nice. I especially appreciated the prosciutto on top of the salad. Then we had seafood spaghetti with tomato sauce and assorted finger sandwiches which came with potato chips and some pickles.
While the pasta was 2,660 yen (approx. 20 USD), the salad and sandwiches were 1,400 yen each (approx. 11 USD).
Finally, we had what was the highlight of the entire meal – crepe with caramel and orange. The crepe, ice cream, and fruits were a perfect combination and made for a great way to end the meal. The dessert cost 1,600 yen (approx. 13 USD).
To go with the dessert, we each had tea.
While we wanted to try the French restaurant on our second day, since it was closed, we decided to try the lunch buffet at Ocean Terrace instead. The lunch buffet was 4,700 yen (approx. 36 USD) per person and – just like the breakfast buffet – did not disappoint.
Starting with drinks, there was an Oranka juice dispenser, a pitcher with organic mango black tea, and dispensers with ice coffee/tea. Hot tea and coffee could be requested from the staff.
As for things to eat, there was a selection of vegetables, fruits, cheese, and bread similar to the selection offered for breakfast. For most of the other items, the theme changes regularly. During our visit, the theme was Kyushu.
There was a selection of about half a dozen different appetizers including marinated eggplants, spicy cod roe with baguette, godofu, and marinated horse mackerel.
Creamy vegetable soup was offered too.
Hot dishes included tonkatsu (Japanese-style fried pork cutlet), pasta, beef and potato gratin, and chicken hot pot.
Then there were also hashed beef with rice, curry rice, and aqua pazza.
Lastly, there were staffed cooking stations offering roast beef (my favorite item on the menu other than the desserts), Hakata tonkotsu ramen noodles, and tofu hot pot with chicken shabu shabu.
By far my favorite part of the selection were the desserts.
There were small strawberry parfaits, cups of grape jelly and panna cotta, and orange/blackcurrant mousse. A selection of cakes including pistachio, chocolate, kabosu citrus, and fig was available too. Lastly, there were far Breton and tea cookies.
My wife later told me there was ice cream too – something that I didn’t notice myself.
Overall, the buffet offered a great selection of appetizers, mains, and desserts. That said, for those preferring Western cuisine, the selection might have felt a bit too limited.
Lastly, on our second evening at the hotel, we visited the Starboard music lounge. At the time of our visit, the opening hours were Tuesday – Saturday and national holidays from 5PM to 12AM. Live music was played for 15 to 25 minutes once an hour with the first performance starting at 5PM and the last one at 10PM. There was a 1,100 yen (approx. 9 USD) cover charge which was well-worth it.
Whether it was because we visited fairly early on a weekday or for some other reason, we ended up being the only guests in the fairly large lounge. As such, we were able to enjoy what essentially was a private 25-minute concert – both cool and a bit awkward at the same time.
After being seated, we were offered warm wet towels and then served a welcome snack – some pretzels.
For drink, I had Cinderella – a mocktail mainly consisting of citrus juices; my wife had a non-alcoholic Saratoga Cooler. Both of the drinks were tasty and cost approx. 8 USD.
In addition to the lounges and restaurants, there was of course room service too. While the menu was extensive, we didn’t have a chance to try it. That said, my wife did order peppermint tea one evening.
In addition to the restaurants mentioned above, there were also a couple of different shops at the hotel.
The most noteworthy of those was Marina – a “souvenir and gourmet shop” which could be found on the second floor. As its name suggests, they had a selection of Yokohama- and InterContinental Yokohama Grand-themed goods as well as some food and drinks. That said, the selection of food and drinks was quite limited.
There was an eat-in space in the shop too.
On the first floor, there was an art shop.
There also appeared to be some shops selling clothes/shoes but I didn’t check those out.
Gym, Spa, and Pool
While I didn’t go inside and so cannot comment on the equipment, there were also a gym, spa, and pool at the hotel. The “Harbor View Fitness Club” was located on the 4th floor.
Access to the gym was free, that said, there were additional charges to use sauna (3,300 yen; approx. 25 USD) and pool (4,400 yen; approx. 34 USD). A combined package of the two was 6,600 yen (approx. 50 USD). Spa treatments were available for a charge too.
InterContinental Yokohama Grand Summary
All in all, we had a very enjoyable stay at the InterContinental Yokohama Grand hotel. The staff was professional but kind, the room was comfortable, and the food was good – especially the lunch buffet desserts.
While the newer InterContinental Yokohama Pier 8 is presumably more modern and nicer in terms of interior design, the excellent view of Yokohama from our room more than compensated for that. Not to mention the fact that the Grand tends to be considerably cheaper than the Pier 8 property.