Alex Catarinella

BnA STUDIO Akihabara

with Alex Catarinella
  • Where:Akihabara, Tokyo

  • Why:Post-work vacation.

  • When:Early September.

  • Who:Me, myself and I!

Highs & Lows

  • The concept! Knowing that you’re supporting artists by booking a room is great.

  • And loved the crazy/sexy/cool Airbnb-y vibe. Really doesn’t feel like a hotel at all.

  • My spacious room was heavenly. Like nothing I’ve ever seen before. Felt like I was living in an art exhibit. It felt both minimal and maximal, somehow. You can meditate on a floor pillow, or you can throw a party. Options!

  • Love that they use Dr. Bronner products.

  • A washer/dryer in my room! A killer kitchenette! A large bathroom replete with a tub! Fantastic bed!

  • Okay, and the lighting was major!! I had fun with the options! Light it up, or turn the lights down low! I personally slept with the outside rock garden lights on. OMMMM!

  • I didn’t loooove the location, but that’s what the Metro is for.

The Barometer

  • Design

  • Website

  • Life Changing

  • Plastic Free

  • Overall Value

  • Night's Sleep

  • Service

  • Amenities

  • Stealable Stuff

  • Refer a Friend

Total: 47/50

Important Bits

  • Type

    A hip, forward-thinking hotel-that-doesn’t-feel-like-a-hotel for the art-loving traveler.

  • Vibe

    Sort of feels like a complex in Bushwick, Brooklyn on a quiet side street featuring a handful of stylish artist’s lofts. Hipper than a Blood Orange album. Futuristic AirBNB vibes. And then there’s BnA’s awesome mission: Supporting great, local artists. BnA shares part of the revenue with the artist(s) who designed the room that’s been booked via a profit-sharing system. In other words, a consistent income and exposure for the artists!

  • Location

    Akihabara, known for its slew of manga stores, arcades, and maid cafes. But you’d never know unless you took a short stroll, because the unassuming BnA STUDIO is located on a cute, residential-y street.

  • Rooms

    5. All unique, all designed by different artists, all wildly awesome.

  • Music

    The lobby isn’t your typical lobby. It’s more like a small albeit home-y work space with some quirky art thrown in -- and a tiny smoking room! I have a feeling the tunes are probably played via an iPhone by whoever’s working at the hotel that day. I heard chill ambient songs when I was visiting.

  • Year Opened

    March 2018.

  • Designed By

    Each room is designed by different artists. I stayed in (the amazing!!) ZEN GARDEN, which was produced by 51.3 G - WAVE artists: NANOOK, Kazuma Ogata, Mitsuko Shimae and art director, Taku Sato. The artists incorporated the typical image of “zen Japan” (a Japanese rock garden, for example) but mixed it up with design elements reflecting Tokyo’s chaotic energy. This includes a glowing neon wall art piece and… an Instagram-perfect cage?! So dope!

  • Pool/Gym

    No, it’s not that type of vibe. Walk around the hood! It’s a bit hilly!

  • Restaurant

    No, but there’s a million in the hood.

  • Bar

    Same as above. But you should check out BnA Hotel Koenji and their “Front Desk” bar. Mingle with local artists and the creative community.

  • Minibar

    Nope, but you have your own kitchen! I also saw many bottles of liquor in the “lobby,” but didn’t ask if I could have a few shots. I feel like those who work there would’ve been down to share though -- super friendly.

  • Wifi

    Yep. Fast and free.

  • Children

    Sure, especially in the quirky comfy ATHLETIC PARK room. Lots of colorful playground parts are incorporated in the room’s design.

  • Price

    Reasonable for what you’re getting and for the neighborhood.

Located in a renovated high school, it’s an art hub redefining the idea of traditional museums. A sea of galleries, studios, shared offices, stores and cafes spanning four floors. Dope. Def check out their schedule, there’s always a lot going on.

3331 Arts Chiyoda

3331 Arts Chiyoda, 6 Chome-11-14 Sotokanda, Chiyoda, Tokyo, Japan

Located in a renovated high school, it’s an art hub redefining the idea of traditional museums. A sea of galleries, studios, shared offices, stores and cafes spanning four floors. Dope. Def check out their schedule, there’s always a lot going on.

Fantastic, unique bespoke stationery. Perfect for gift-giving. Beautiful stationary pens and notebooks. You can make your own notebooks!

KAKIMORI

Kakimori, 1 Chome-6-2 Misuji, Taitō, Tokyo, Japan

Fantastic, unique bespoke stationery. Perfect for gift-giving. Beautiful stationary pens and notebooks. You can make your own notebooks!

I love a ramen moment, but sometimes you just need a hangover-friendly burger. Seriously, the burgers (and fluffy pancakes!) in Tokyo are so good, so underrated and so necessary on a Tokyo trip.

CRANE BRUGER

CRANE, 6 Chome-16-3 Sotokanda, Chiyoda, Tokyo, Japan

I love a ramen moment, but sometimes you just need a hangover-friendly burger. Seriously, the burgers (and fluffy pancakes!) in Tokyo are so good, so underrated and so necessary on a Tokyo trip.

BnA STUDIO Akihabara

Artist Hotel - BnA STUDIO Akihabara, 6 Chome-3-3 Sotokanda, Chiyoda, Tokyo, Japan

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