Grand Hyatt Hotel Tokyo: A Review

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Do you ever stop and pinch yourself and wonder how you got so lucky? Stay at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Tokyo, and this will become a familiar feeling indeed. Less famous than the Park Hyatt, which was the location for much of Scarlett Johansson and Bill Murray’s movie Lost in Translation (which I’ve also visited thanks to Sega, who were promoting a new Sonic game and wanted to buy me a drink), the Park Hyatt is just as luxurious, and is in a really amazing central location, just 40 minutes walk from Harajuku or Shibuya, and right in the centre of Roppongi and Omentsando, the Champs-Élysées of Tokyo (or is Champs-Élysées the Omentsando of Paris?).

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I honestly couldn’t recommend the Grand Hyatt enough if your budget will stretch that far – I can’t think of a better location for a hotel in Tokyo, that has this level of luxury and customer service. Waking up every morning to a view of Tokyo Tower from my room, in my second favourite city in the world (sorry New York, you’re third, and London is simply tops), was an unbelievable experience, and so I had to write a post about it so I could share even a fraction of the delight with you all!

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As I was visiting for business, I didn’t have a great deal of time to spent searching for places to eat – cue lots of room service. I treated myself to a Japanese breakfast on my second day, and just like everything at the Grand Hyatt, it was an exercise in understated luxury from masters of the craft.

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The breakfast, like the rest of the room service meals I ate, came delivered on a small wheeled table, where you could dine at your leisure before calling room service to come and take the whole thing away when you were done. As you can see, I had an incredible array of small dishes to select from, from grilled fish and tempura, to pickles, seaweed, tofu, simmered dishes and more. The breakfast also came with miso soup and steamed rice – absolute essentials to someone like me who usually lives on onigiri, pickles and miso soup in salaryman hotels when staying in Japan.

For those of you with an insatiable curiosity about the nitty gritty of the hotel room, I filmed this guided tour of every single drawer and cupboard the room had to offer. Every detail was meticulously thought out, from the cotton yukata and lint roller, to the divine toiletries from June Jacobs, and the addictively comfortable memory foam pillows. I have to say, though, if I could have popped anything from my stay in my bag to spirit it home for future use, it would have been the charmingly retro alarm clocks (of which there were two in my room!)

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Back to the room service, though – of which, don’t forget, I was a veteran by the time I left… There is a reassuring mix of European/western style dishes, and traditional Japanese ones, but no matter what I selected, the meals exceeded my expectations. I ordered foie gras and crème brulee, both of which were silky smooth and luxurious – and I also ordered a salmon teriyaki set for dinner, which was tasty and authentic (and would you expect anything less?!).

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Of course, just like the room rate, with the Grand Hyatt, everything is priced according to the standard at which you would hold the product – and this standard is set incredibly high. The price of the breakfast was on average £28, whilst the crème brûlée worked out at around £12 – the sort of price you would expect from a high-end restaurant in London.

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And when you’re eating your meals in such incredible surroundings… how can you have much to complain about?!

Of course, the Grand Hyatt also has a wealth of exceptional restaurants to try as well. I only got to try one, which was Roku Roku – the sushi place. Just you would expect from the exclusive price and location, the food was mouth wateringly exquisite, and well worth the price. Roku Roku was a revelation – a tranquil and authentic place to try exceptional sushi, prepared with love and the highest of skill by the team of chefs who worked in the dining room – providing an enchanting spectacle!

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I have to give a huge shout-out to the concierge service at the hotel, too. Before I arrived, I put them to good work tracking down some hard to find items that I just had to get hold of as souvenirs for friends and family. Without exception, the concierge service was professional, discrete, friendly and incredibly helpful, finding the items and providing me not only with the shops to purchase them, but printed out maps to help me find them too! And, my request for a western style teapot and teacup were fulfilled, and waiting for me upon my early arrival to the hotel. (Yes, the hotel rooms have a hot water kettle, plus cups, teabags, milk, sugar and a fully stocked mini-bar – plus a convenience store across the street which carried both full-fat and semi-skimmed milk, for all your English-tea drinking needs… Or is it just me who worries about these things…?)

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I’m dying to go back to the Grand Hyatt – or stay in another of the chain to see how it compares! Let me know what your favourite hotel is, and which city you’d like to stay in the most the next time you go on holiday!

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Visit the Grand Hyatt website here. I stayed in a standard room – you can read the details here. Special offers are listed here.

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The Best Yoga Mat In The World: The Liforme Mat

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I love yoga, but I gave it up for the longest time because I always had trouble slipping. No matter what I did, my palms would always slip. I tried various mats, but nothing ever worked, and then I gave up for years. Recently, thanks to a shoulder injury, I decided to take it up again in the hopes that some directed and thoughtful exercise would strengthen my joints.

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Shopping at Bicester Village: WWKD Guest Post

My latest post has gone live at www.whatwouldkatedo.com! You can access it by clicking here for the direct link.

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Head over to my guest post to read all about luxury, discount designer shopping at Bicester Village, and how to bag a bargain in the spirit of the Duchess of Cambridge! I hope you enjoy it – and feel free to leave comments on the post at WWKD with questions or comments!

Like my posts? Find me on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Polyvore for even more content!

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Bicester Village: Chic Shopping at Bargain Prices

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One of fashion’s best kept secrets is Bicester Village – a shopper’s paradise located in Oxfordshire. Part of the Chic Outlet Shopping group, the Village is home to luxury brands like La Perla, Mulberry, Vivienne Westwood, Alexander McQueen, Temperley London, Anya Hindmarch and more – along with high-end high street stores like L.K. Bennett, Hobbs, Ted Baker, Reiss, Links of London, and French Connection. I can’t think of anywhere else I’d rather spend the day shopping!

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I recently went for a visit as Bicester Village is very conveniently located halfway between my house and my in-laws’ (near Birmingham), so a spot of retail therapy breaks up the trip nicely…

The Village itself is beautifully laid out – a long walkway lined with shops and restaurants, and it’ll take you a couple of hours at least – at a brisk, no-dawdling pace – to see everything. If you’re planning some serious shopping, you’ll probably want to take all day! There are some lovely places to eat – Busaba Eathai, Carluccio’s, Starbucks and Pret A Manger I can all vouch for, while I’m dying to try out Jamie Oliver’s Fabulous Feasts, and the Creperie Angelie and Amorino Ice Cream kiosks.

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Strategy is the key for a successful shop at Bicester – make sure you set yourself a budget, although if you’re like me, you may well blow it on some serious bargains. There’s always something new here as the stock changes fairly regularly, and each company has a different policy about what makes its way to the outlet stores, and when.

Needless to say, everyone will be after something different from their visit. I always like to pop into Jimmy Choo (last seen with some wellies on offer for £50!), and to lust after the gorgeous wedding dresses in Temperley. Scarves and clutch bags are the order of the day in Alexander McQueen, and I just love to check out the huge range of beauty products at the Cosmetics Company Store (including Bobbi Brown!). No visit would be complete without checking out the bags at Mulberry or the scarves (and trench coats!) at Burberry, although with some of the high street stores you’ll certainly find items priced at most budgets.

If you’re a massive fan of the Duchess of Cambridge’s style – as I am (could you guess?) – you’ll be pretty pleased to find many of the brands she’s been pictured wearing all in one spot. If you’re ever visiting the UK, you really need to put this on your ‘must-do’ list – there are even luxury coach services from London, as well as regular trains from London and Birmingham. In fact, if you fancy, you could charter a chauffeur service too – check out the options on the site here. (Of course, it goes without saying that driving there is very simple – it’s just off the M40 and A34, and again, if you want to make your trip even more luxurious, Bicester has just the option for you – valet parking!).

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One of my favourite shops to stop in at is L.K. Bennett, and during my trip I noticed the Natalie clutch and the Maddox wedge (heir to the Greta) on sale, and previously other acquaintances of mine have scooped up some coats the Duchess has worn in both Hobbs and Ted Baker. Sadly for me, I already owned the Natalie and the Maddox (yes, in both colours!), but there was plenty to tug at my purse strings on my visit.

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I came away from my trip with a beautiful Fox Charm necklace from Mulberry (£90 reduced from £150), a red purse from Anya Hindmarch (£61 down from £175, I believe – can’t believe I forgot to check!) and a free – FREE – dotty umbrella from Jaeger, courtesy of my loyalty card voucher. I can definitely attest that that’s one scheme worth signing up for! I would have come away with a beautiful deer brown Lily bag from Mulberry (which was just over £400), but let’s just say I’ve been buying too many designer bags recently and people are starting to notice…! (By that, I mean my bank manager specifically.)

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Sunglasses, eBay / Bondi Font Bracket Necklace, Maqaroon / Tangerine Michelle Top, hush / Grey Trousers, Next / Vectra5 Studded Slippers, TopShop / Lanesley Bag, Hobbs / Bloomingdale’s Charm, Bloomingdale’s / Dog Zodiac Bracelet, Mulberry / Lucky Charm Camera Bracelet, Maqaroon

Bicester Village has recently launched a new campaign for autumn called Touch of Chic, which I’ll post about later in the month – in the meantime, make sure you check out the site for Bicester Village at www.bicestervillage.com to find out more about the brands, offers and services available, including travel information and a list of shops!

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If you’re visiting, get there early to get into the big name shops without queuing (these are easy to spot by the velvet ropes outside!). On my visit I arrived promptly at 9am on a Saturday in the school holidays and managed to get into all the shops I was aiming to without having to wait – but by the time I was leaving, just a couple of hours later, the queue were starting to form. Well, good things do come to those who wait, right?

Find Bicester Village at 50 Pringle Drive, Bicester, Oxfordshire, OX26 6WD. You can also give them a ring at +44 (0)1869 366 266. And, check out the visitor information at the site by clicking here.

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Hush Big Sloppy Jumper Review

I’ve waited patiently since last month for my Big Sloppy Jumper to arrive from Hush – but it finally got here on Monday!

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It’s super comfy, with lovely fabric, and is pretty flattering, and in a great, on-trend colour.

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The down side is that you have to hand wash it, and it’s fairly pricey (£65, more than I’d usually pay for a jumper). However, I decided that it’s time to start investing in basics properly instead of dropping wads of cash on things I’ll only ever wear once or twice! It makes more sense to buy something comfy that I can lounge around in, considering I spend most of my time in my home working, rather than strutting around in fancy frocks! This definitely fits the bill, and the fabrics used (80% cotton, 10% cashmere, 10% silk) somewhat justify the tag. Hopefully I’ll be wearing this for years to come.

The Big Sloppy Jumper is available in bordeaux (pictured), grey marl, charcoal and navy, at Hush, for £65.

Your easiest luxury Christmas shop ever!

Have you guys heard of Hello Fresh? They’re an amazing company that sends you boxes full of ingredients every week so you can make gourmet meals from scratch. Forget veggie boxes – this is where its at!

Hello Fresh have come up with a genius idea to take all of the stress out of that Christmas shop this year with their Christmas box! And, you can get £10 off with the code FOODFASHFIT, making it even more tempting! Inside the box are the ingredients you’ll need to put together a delicious meal for 4-6 people, or 8-10 people if you’ve got extended family coming over. It seems like they’ve literally thought of everything!

Included in the box are ingredients to prepare a prawn cocktail starter (my favourite!), plus turkey and all the trimmings, a Christmas pudding – and a cheeseboard! A cheeseboard! Now, that’s Christmas luxury! The food has been sourced from top quality providers, including sausages and bacon from Tom Hixson of Smithfield Market, a free range Copas turkey (which won a Great Taste award), and prawns from James Knight in Mayfair (who holds two Royal Warrants, if you please!).

The prawn cocktail starter is made using delicious tiger prawns, and for the main course there’s a whole host of goodies. For the 4-6 people option, you get a 2.5kg turkey breast, pop-up cooking timer (a Godsend!), cranberry sauce with rosemary, free range Goose fat, sage and onion stuffing with red onion, and gravy with cracked black pepper. You also get pigs in blankets, and a selection of veggies (including red cabbage, sprouts, carrots, and parsnips) to make side dishes like garlic and herb infused Brussels sprouts with toasted pine nuts (recipes included, of course)! Plus, there’s your good old fashioned spuds – which, trust me, will taste amazing with that goose fat! For pudding, there’s another Royal seal of approval from the Christmas pudding makers, Wilkin and Sons, which is accompanied by brandy butter – and you get some mince pies, too.

And, finally, that gourmet cheese board with creamy Wenslydale with cranberries, reblochon, and red Leicester, plus, a variety of crackers.

What, you thought that was it? Nope! This is Christmas, people – time to really push the boat out! You also get some treats to round everything off with – Joe and Steph’s mince pie popcorn, candy canes, Prestat choccies, and table crackers!

I’d say that with all of that, Christmas is pretty much sorted! The Christmas box for 8-10 contains the same products in larger quantities (for example, a whole 5kg Copas turkey instead of a turkey breast). They’re even going to pop in some ideas for the leftovers, too.

The Christmas box costs £155 for 4-6, or £225 for 8-10. But, don’t forget my FOODFASHFIT code, which brings it down by a tenner! You already save up to 35% on the RRP of these items with these economical boxes, and with £10 off, those savings jump even more.

I’ll be testing out a Hello Fresh box or two in the upcoming weeks, so look out for that – and make sure to use that FOODFASHFIT code if you order – its valid on any boxes, even the non-Christmas ones!