Here’s a question for all you travelers to ponder. To what extent does the choice of hotel impact your holiday?
If you are the type of traveler who likes to be pampered and made to feel like some kind of royalty for those 1 or 2 weeks of your trip then perhaps the rating of the hotel is something you prioritize highly.
However, perhaps you are more like me and it is where you go and what you do in a place that matters most. The hotel is simply a place to sleep and perhaps to grab a quick breakfast before you head out on another day of whacky adventures.
Whichever side of the coin you fall on, whether it’s a week of heady exploration or unapologetic self-indulgence that you’re after, Osaka has a variety of hotels to cater to your every whim.
So, today for your consideration, I present 10 of the best that Osaka has to offer.
1) Hotel Universal Port: Universal Studios Japan
If you’ve ever been fortunate enough to visit the likes of Disney World in Florida or Disneyland in California or Paris, then you’ll know that staying in one of the on-site resort hotels really serves to make the experience complete, especially if you are bringing the kids along for the adventure.
Photo: Nicole on FlickrJust as the Walt Disney World Hotels provide this immersive experience for a visit to Disney World, so too does Hotel Universal Port provide a similar holiday experience for families visiting Universal Studios Japan, in Osaka’s Sakurajima district.
Although not located inside the resort as some of the Disney hotels across the world are, Hotel Universal Port is located right next to the main entrance of the park, and allows you to beat the early morning queues by being first in line for entry in the morning when the park opens.
2) Hotel Seagull: Tempozan Port
Whilst I prefer to think more practically when it comes to making my travel plans, there is definitely something to be said for a nice, romantic sea view. For all the plethora of hotels that Osaka has dotted around its vast urban expanse, there are precious few hotels that offer a genuinely enchanting sea view. Osaka’s Minato (port area) Ward, is particularly sparse in this regard. However, the Hotel Seagull certainly stand out in this regard. Not only can you enjoy beautiful sea views from the hotels many rooms, you are also just a 2 minute walk from the world famous “Osaka Kaiyukan” Aquarium, and the Tempozan Ferris Wheel, one of the tallest such wheels in Japan. The recent addition of a Legoland activity centre to area adds further incentive to stay here if you’re bringing the kids along for the ride.
3) Hilton Osaka: Umeda
If you’ve ever travelled internationally, chances are you know well about the Hilton hotel brand. Hopefully you associate the brand with high class dining and luxurious rooms rather than the idiotic behaviour of the spoilt brat who stands to inherit the business someday!
Photo: kenji mori on FlickrAnyway, as far as the Hilton Group in Japan goes, Hilton Osaka, located in Umeda, just across the street from JR Osaka Station is one of the jewels in the crown as it were. Sitting atop the beautifully elegant glass fronted shop and restaurant complex that is Hilton Plaza, the hotel offers that perfect blend of luxurious rooms, prime location for both business and tourism as well as the security and confidence that comes from dealing with such a globally recognized brand. And for the record, the breakfast is pretty good too!
4) Osaka Bay Tower Hotel: Bentencho
Photo: YasuKiss'S on FlickrOf all the hotels on this list today, the Bay Tower Hotel is perhaps my favourite. I am probably a little biased in this regard as I have enjoyed several school nights out here over the last few years. Not only is the food of the highest standard, but the décor recalls a splendor usually served for 5 star venues. Best of all though is the stunning view of Osaka’s harbor district that one can enjoy from the banquet rooms on the building’s higher floors. The Bay Tower Hotel is highly recommended both as a place to stay and as somewhere to enjoy a business meeting or corporate event.
5) Hotel New Hankyu: Umeda
6) Rihga Royal Hotel: Nakanoshima
Photo: cozymax on FlickrWhilst it is slightly out of the way, being situated about 10-15 minutes walk from JR Osaka Station, The Rihga Royal Hotel does have the bonus of a free shuttle bus to and from the aforementioned station for hotel guests. Also, for all it is a city centre hotel, it does offer the bonus of some stunning views of the riverside. I’ve spoken in previous blogs about the romantic beauty of an evening stroll along the riverbank at Nakanoshima, so perhaps this hotel is best suited to couples on a romantic getaway.
7) Hotel Monterrey: Namba
Hotel Monterey, Osaka, Japan. Seen from Usama Sky Building.
Whilst Umeda may be the place to be for most of Osaka’s glitzy glamour, if you want to do some serious shopping then the best place to be is the Namba/Shinsaibashi area. Along the banks of the Dotonbori, you will find all manner of fashion and souvenir shops, as well as some of Osaka’s finest local food restaurants. The Hotel Monterey is perfectly placed above JR Namba Station and just a 7 minutes or so walk from the main shopping areas and about 15 minutes or so from the more high-end Namba Parks shopping and entertainment complex.
8) Shin Osaka Hotel: Shin Osaka
Photo: fletcherjcm on FlickrOf course many of those who visit Osaka are not coming in via the regional hub that is Kansai International Airport, but rather transiting from other parts of Japan through the world famous “Shinkansen” bullet train network. For those people, it may be nice to not have to commute so far into the city after a journey of several hours on a train. For this reason The Shin Osaka Hotel was built to take care of this very eventuality. Situated right outside Shin Osaka Station, it’s the perfect rest spot for a weary traveler to get some respite after a long journey on the Shinkansen.
9) Marriot Hotel, Osaka: Tennoji, Abeno Harukas
As far as luxury and prestige goes, in Osaka it is hard to beat the Marriot Hotel, in Tennoji.
Situated within the Abeno Harukas Building, Japan’s tallest commercial building, the hotel’s suite rooms offer an unparalleled view over the city. Not only this, but many of the rooms have two person sized hot tubs from which couples can enjoy a bath together as they survey the view. It’s expensive to be sure, but I’m sure that specially somebody in our life is worth it!
With its prime location right next to Tennoji Station, from which one can reach the airport in just over an hour, it is perhaps the perfect place to round off a great holiday in Japan before flying on to your next adventure!
10) Hotel Route-Inn: Hommachi
A central location is often a priority for travelers, especially those visiting a new city for the first time. In the Osaka context, there are few places more centrally located than Hommachi. It is pretty much smack bang in the centre of the Osaka Subway map.
However, the area of Hommachi itself is rather unfashionable with nothing really remarkable to offer. However, you are less than 10 minutes from both Umeda and Namba, so it really is a prime location, and the Hotel Route-Inn provides an excellent, cheaper alternative to some of Osaka’s more glamourous areas.
Whatever your budget and whatever your style, in a cosmopolitan city like Osaka there really is something for everyone.