My family and I recently stayed at the Hilton Tokyo for a family trip, and I was denied access to the executive lounge at check-in. To be fair, I wasn’t expecting access to the lounge in the first place, but to be selectively denied didn’t feel quite right to me, either. Basically, we had two reservations: I booked one room and my brother covered the second. We are both Hilton Honors Gold members.
Rules on Executive Room Access
The rules are clear. According to Hilton Honors benefits section, for Gold members:
“You and up to one additional registered guest in the same room will be granted complimentary access to the Executive Floor Lounge only if you receive a room upgrade to the Executive Floor or an upgrade to a room type that confers Executive Floor Lounge access benefits.”
In other words, if we want access to the lounge, it will largely depend on whether our standard rooms get upgraded.
Experience at Check-In
Although we had two separate reservations, we decided to check-in together to see if we could get a connecting room. It turned out that the hotel was fully booked, so we were not able to get a connecting room. We also did not end up getting an upgraded room, either. Based on the rules, we don’t qualify for executive lounge access. It’s not a big deal.
The staff handed the key cards to my brother and thanked him for being a Hilton member. He explained that he could not upgrade him to the next highest available room due to availability, but he granted his room with access to the executive lounge. He turned to me, also thanked me for being a Hilton member, but then he apologetically added that he can’t grant me the same access because I have 3 guests in my room. (Wait, what…?)
Obviously, I didn’t want to look at a gift horse in the mouth, but couldn’t he grant the same access for my room and limit it to two guests? Why the difference? Aren’t all gold members created the same?
Visiting the Executive Lounge
All was not lost. My brother graciously invited me as his “guest” to check out the lounge. He only ended up using the lounge twice for the week, and I went up with him once. Interestingly, the lounge was full when I visited, so I visited a room they opened up down the hall “for Hilton Gold and Diamond members”. I dubbed the tastefully decorated room as the “overflow lounge”. There was a small selection of food and drinks on one side, seating areas on the other, and great views overlooking the city. The ambiance was relaxing, and there was a friendly and attentive staff who regularly checked on guests and refilled food. She really did a wonderful job at taking care of guests and making them feel welcomed.
At the end of the day
We didn’t end up using much of the lounge anyway. I guess what bothered me wasn’t so much whether we got access, but rather in the way the selective access was handled. It left something to be desired, as the interaction did not make me feel like a valued guest when checking in with someone else with the exact same room type. That said, it was a minor blimp against a backdrop of an overall great stay. Hilton Tokyo is a perfectly great hotel in Shinjuku with a lot of amenities, and I would stay at this hotel again.
Have you ever run into upgrade or lounge access issues? Especially when you are traveling with others and one gets upgraded and the other didn’t, when you book the same type of rooms and has the same hotel status?