Serviced apartments are gaining attention these days as we move through the transformation of lifestyles caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Serviced apartments have become spaces that meet a wide variety of needs for those who travel between city and suburbs, or for those looking to be refreshed from working at home. Three people who know Roppongi Hills well have stayed at its serviced apartment recently. This is what they have experienced.
Vol. 3. Masako Shimazaki: Office Worker
“I often go to Roppongi Hills to watch movies with my child,” says Masako Shimazaki. Shimazaki, a former publicist for a luxury brand, has worked at the forefront of the fashion industry and is now a mother raising a mischievous 4-year-old.
“After the movie, we went straight to Roppongi Hills for an early dinner. Most of the restaurants have menus and cutlery for children. I get the impression that the entire facility is friendly to people with children.”
Choosing a hotel for a trip is always a challenge for her as there are many things to be careful of when traveling with a child. Therefore, when she goes on vacation to Hawaii, she chooses to stay in a residence with kitchen and laundry facilities instead of a hotel.
For this report, Shimazaki and her family stayed in a 67-square-meter room with a living and dining area as well as a kitchen and a bedroom. Each space is arranged around a bathroom in the center of the room, creating a continuous floor plan.
“The rooms are designed in such a way that they’re not separated from each other, making [it] feel very spacious. There is a movable wall between the living room and the bedroom, so after putting the child to bed, I can gently move the partition to make it a private room. I love the fact that I can relax and have a drink in the living room. When you have a child, it’s surprisingly difficult to have time for yourself while traveling. If the bedroom were completely private, my son would feel uneasy about being alone, and if it were a studio he would have no choice but to sleep with me,” she says with a laugh.
Each space is arranged around a bathroom in the center of the room, creating a continuous floor plan.
“Also, as a Japanese person, I was happy that the bathroom was spacious and had a separate tub and washing area.”
One of the privileges of staying at a serviced apartment is that you can use Hills Spa, a members-only spa and fitness club. The spa offers a wide variety of services, including sauna, pool, jacuzzi, beauty treatments, gym and massage.
Shimazaki also experienced a body massage with aromatic oil at the spa during her stay.
“The treatment I received used a natural essential oil called Yon-ka, from France. I was able to choose from four different scents. It was very relaxing. The spa is located in a building across the street, but the entrance was unobtrusive, so it felt private. The space inside is designed as you don’t have to face other customers. I thought it was very considerate. There is also a rental service for clothes, shoes and swimsuits so you can go with empty hands when you have free time. It makes it easy to use.”
The spa also has a dining room. Customers can enjoy meals with organic vegetables and carefully selected ingredients prepared by a dedicated chef. Breakfast service here is included for residents of the serviced apartment.
“The vegetables and fruits were very fresh and tasty. The atmosphere was very cozy. I could see some people who had come straight from using the spa. It seems everyone was making good use of the benefits of the residence. It felt very at home having meals here with my family, as we were on vacation even though we were right in the middle of the city,” says Shimazaki.
For Shimazaki, the presence of a health consultation room exclusively for residents seemed to be one of the most reassuring facilities among the many services available. Affiliated with Jikei Medical University Hospital, the health consultation room has bilingual nurses on call 24 hours and doctors available two to three days per week to help with everything from health management to dealing with illness.
“The most difficult thing to deal with when traveling is when you suddenly get sick. I have a child, so having a place where I can immediately get a consultation makes me feel very secure. I think this is a unique and reliable service, especially for guests from abroad,” says Shimazaki.
The coronavirus pandemic has made it difficult for people to travel abroad or to the countryside. Shimazaki says that staying in a serviced apartment was a true experience of living and enjoying a vacation.
“My husband said he wanted to stay here because he wanted to concentrate on his work. At home, I have a lot of things to think about, but with all the basic services, I can concentrate on my work without worrying about other things. I also have access to a spa and gym, so I can get myself refreshed.* My son also enjoyed exploring the Hills. There is also Sakurazaka Park nearby, which looks to be an exciting place for children. Now that I can’t travel far, I think that spending an extraordinary vacation while working in Tokyo might be a new lifestyle. It’s also nice to be able to go home anytime if I have to.”
*Fees will be charged for beauty treatments, massages, personal training and yoga lessons at Hills Spa.
About Masako Shimazaki
Masako Shimazaki worked as a publicist for an overseas luxury brand for 11 years. Using the experience she gained as a publicist, Shimazaki is now currently working for a fashion-related company.
This article originally appeared in HILLS LIFE DAILY published by Mori Building. Photos by Kohei Omachi, text by Akane Maekawa, translation by Yoshiko Kogi, edit by Jun Ishida.
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