This is my story of how I saved over $600 on a three night stay at the Mandarin Oriental Tokyo by using Orbitz to book my hotel reservation.
I recently had to take a business trip to Tokyo for a couple of days. Neither my wife nor I had been to Tokyo, so I had her join me and added a couple of days to the trip to experience what the city had to offer. I essentially divided the trip into two parts – the “vacation” part of the trip with my wife and the “business” part of the trip with my work colleagues. I didn't want to stay in the traditional “business hotels” that my company will authorize for the “vacation” part of the trip – I wanted something a little more luxurious – like a Park Hyatt, Ritz Carlton or Mandarin Oriental.
I tried to use my Hyatt Gold Passport points to stay at the Tokyo Park Hyatt, but it was sold out. No luck with my Marriott Rewards points at the Ritz Carlton either. As a matter of fact, most of the 4 and 5 star hotels were either sold out or close to it. April and May tend to be some of the best months to visit Tokyo so rooms can be hard to come by this time of year.
I searched Orbitz to see what 5 star properties had rooms and noticed that the Peninsula and Mandarin Oriental had some availability. I have heard nothing but great things about both properties and had always wanted to stay at one, so I decided to give The Mandarin Oriental Tokyo a try.
Here is where it got interesting for me. As someone who is a big proponent of hotel loyalty programs, I typically don't use Online Travel Agents (Orbtiz, Expedia, etc..) for booking hotels because you generally do not earn points on stays booked through an OTA. So I used Orbitz just to see what hotel options were available, then went to the Mandarin Oriental site directly to book my room. But when I did so, I noticed the rate for a room via Orbitz was actually quite a bit lower than the rate on the Mandarin Oriental Tokyo website.
Notice that the base rate for 1 night is $440 on Orbitz and $647 on the Mandarin Oriental Site. Also Notice that the Orbitz room is Deluxe Room and there is not a Deluxe Option on the Mandarin Oriental Site, only a Deluxe Premier Room. So I checked the Mandarin website to see what the difference was between the two room types. Fundamentally, the rooms are exactly the same – same size, same configuration, same everything. The Deluxe rooms were on floors 30-36 and the Deluxe Premier Rooms were on floors 32-36. The only difference was that the Deluxe Premier Rooms had a view of the Tokyo SkyTree.
I asked a representative from the Mandarin why the Deluxe Rooms were available via Orbitz but not when booking direct with the hotel? She said that sometimes Orbitz will buy up a block of rooms from the hotel and use them for resale, so from the hotel's perspective, the rooms are sold and unavailable – you can only get these rooms from Orbitz.
In this case, the only added benefit you get by booking direct with the Mandarin Tokyo is free wi-fi (which I bought for $15/day). By booking through Orbitz, I saved over $200 per night on the room ($600 for my 3 night stay) and earned $47 in Orbitz Rewards that can be used on my next hotel booking. Mandarin Oriental does not have a loyalty program, so there is absolutely no downside in booking this room through Orbitz.
This decision was a no-brainer! I booked 3 nights at the Mandarin Oriental Tokyo via Orbitz and never looked back!
Upon arrival, I was automatically given an upgraded room on the 32nd floor. Here is a morning sunrise from my room at the Tokyo Mandarin Oriental (Room #3217). Yes, that is the Tokyo SkyTree in the background – it came with the room after all!
The Mandarin Oriental Tokyo is a fantastic property with great service and a great location. If you are going to Tokyo, I highly recommend it! Just make sure you check the rates on Orbitz first!