This Tokyo Train Is Designed To Look (And Feel) Like A Living Room

Plus four other travel tidbits the Journy HQ has been hyped about this month.

By Jacqueline Parisi

10 October 2019

1. Travelers in Tokyo can now experience living room-type comfort...on a train

There’s trains, and then there’s Tokyo’s Seibu 001 series, dubbed “Laview.” The difference? Seibu’s “never before seen concept” designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Kazuyo Sejima is designed to feel like a living room. It’s outfitted with large, curved windows to provide passengers with panoramic views as they speed up to 120km per hour through the city and into the mountains. The plush yellow chairs have adjustable headrests, and the soft light adjusts throughout the day to foster a calming atmosphere. On the exterior is a reflective silver lining designed to blend into the landscape, made with aluminum paint custom-developed for Seibu Railway.

“This train moves through the city to the mountains of Chichibu, and I thought it would be nice for the train to be able to respond and blend into the surroundings in a soft way,” explained Sejima in a statement. “Also, I wanted to make a train which feels like a living room where passengers can freely relax and feel motivated to ride.”

The train went into service in Tokyo this past March, with the remaining trains on the line between Ikebukuro (in northwest Tokyo) and Chichibu slated for a redesign by the end of 2019.  

Read more here.

2. Thinking about grabbing an Uber from LAX? Think again.

Starting October 29, ridesharing apps like Uber and Lyft as well as taxis will be banned from curbside pickup at Los Angeles’ central airport, LAX. The decision—which was announced last week by Keith Wilschetz, deputy executive director of the Operations and Emergency Management Division at Los Angeles World Airports—was made primarily to help ease congestion.

While drop-offs will still be permitted, passengers hoping to be picked up will be taken by shuttle to a designated parking lot near Terminal 1 (which is also within walking distance). From there, they can book rides. Wilschetz estimates that, with this diversion, passengers will have to wait no longer than 15 minutes for their car.

Read more here.

3. Marriott members can now score BIG points on dining

Good news for everyone enrolled in Marriott Bonvoy. Between now and November 11, members will earn eight points for every dollar spent at the 11,000+ designated restaurants and six points for every dollar spent from November 12 onwards—regardless of whether or not they’re staying at a Marriott hotel. Here’s how to set it up:

1. Visit EatAroundTown.Marriott.com and create a dining profile
2. Link your credit or debit card
3. Search the site to find your favorite restaurants
4. Go eat!

“Our members are passionate about food and dining, which go hand-in-hand with travel,” said David Flueck, Senior Vice President of Global Food Loyalty at Marriott International, in a statement. “Sharing an amazing meal with family, friends or colleagues will now be more rewarding as members can earn a significant number of points to enjoy the benefits of Marriott Bonvoy.”

Read more here.

4. Amsterdam is raising its tourist taxes

Amsterdam is kicking off 2020 with taxes to crack down on overtourism. Starting January 1, hotel guests will be required to pay a flat fee of €3 per person per night on top of the already established 7% hotel tax per room (up from 6% in 2018)—making it the highest overnight tax in Europe. Airbnb guests aren’t exempt from the spike either, as they’ll end up paying an increased rent of 10% per night.

“The fact is that numbers are growing,” said Vera Al, spokesperson for the city’s deputy mayor Groot Wassink, in a statement to CNN. “You can’t build a fence around the city, and we don’t want that either. Increasing the tax isn’t to affect the number of visitors, but it’s the principle. It costs a lot to keep our city clean and safe, and our infrastructure—like bridges—in a good state.”

Read more here.

5. Fixer Upper’s Chip and Joanna Gaines are officially remodeling a hotel

HGTV’s favorite couple has officially entered into hotel territory. Their first project? A 53,000 square foot former office building, which is slated for a 2021 hotel opening. According to the announcement, the design will “evoke Joanna’s affinity for timeless, classic details, while also preserving the building’s rich history and highlighting its distinctive architectural features.”

“Home is a feeling, created by and for the people you love and share your life with,” the couple said in a statement. “That is our dream for this hotel—that it would serve as an extension of the way we feel about our own home and all it represents to us, and that every guest who comes to stay would experience that same sense of belonging and community.”

Read more here.

Speaking of dreamy hotel inspiration, discover how this Japanese ryokan stands out in a sea of Tokyo hotels.

Kazuyo Sejima & Associates | CNN