I stayed here with my wife and 11-month-old son. Since we had previously lived in Japan and knew the area, we knew the location was unbeatable.
It's right in the heart of the CBD (Umeda) and close to just about everything you might need. As other reviewers have said it's right outside the terminus for the Kansai Airport bus (for some reason called the "airport limousine") so if this is your first time in Japan, it's dead easy to get there and out again without getting confused with trains or taxis. By the way the airport limousine costs ¥1500 pp.
The hotel is on top of the Hankyu railway station (easy access to Kyoto, Kobe and more) and the Umeda subway (easy access to the rest of Osaka, such as downtown Namba/Shinsaibashi). It's also right next door to the JR Osaka station (access to Nara, the Osaka loop line and more). If you are coming or going via Shinkansen (bullet train), it's only three stops to Shinosaka station (via the Midosuji subway line). Tip: if you are staying for a week or thereabouts, get a ¥2000 Kansai Rainbow card. It's disposable, and gets you on most trains without you having to look up the fare. It won't work on the JR system though.)
If you haven't worked it out from the other reviews, the rooms are tiny. A small bed and a bathroom and that's about it. You really need to get creative to make the room work for you. We stacked up the furniture (a pointless micro-table and chairs) near the door (also a fairly useless space) put all our cases inside one another, and put as much stuff in the little cupboard as could fit (some extra coathangers from a 100-yen shop helped here). The rooms are pretty featureless, but ours was clean and functional, and the bathroom worked well (albeit also tiny). There's free internet in all rooms, but it's wired (not wireless). This might be okay if you brought a laptop, but we had only an iPad and iPhones, so we bought an Apple Airport Express (called AirMac Express in Japan) at Yodabashi Camera and set up our own wifi. There's a TV with basic Japanese free-to-air but you need to buy a card if you want cable. We didn't bother.
Well, there really aren't any. This is primarily a business hotel, so don't expect a pool, gym or or children's club! There are a few restaurants on the ground floor, but they are super expensive - don't bother. There are no in-room safes, but there are safety deposit boxes available in the lobby. The other "features" are aimed at business travellers - you can fax and photocopy, but is that really what you came to Japan for?
NEARBY - SHOPPING
The hotel is directly across the road from the electronics megaplex Yodabashi Camera, a must-visit for anyone with even a passing interest in all things electrical (not just cameras - Yodabashi sells everything from TVs and hi-fis to electric toilet seats, fold-up bikes, mobile phones, and much more. If you need a power socket converter for your laptop or a fancy Japanese rice cooker for home, this is the place to go. They also sell some pretty cool kidss' toys.) If you want a guide book, map, or cool stationery, try the Kinokuniya bookstore in the Hankyu building. Right outside the hotel is the AsNas convenience store - great for last minute needs, food, drinks, stationery and more. There's heaps more shopping opportunities within easy walking distance - go out and explore.
NEARBY - EATING
There a bazillion options within a stone's throw for eating out. For dinner our favourites are the many izakaya (pubs) that can be found anywhere and are usually open from 5pm. For lunch, maybe try the many smaller restaurants and cafés (such as in the underground Hankyu Sanbangai). Breakfast is a little trickier in Japan, especially in the CBD. Since we are not fans of fish and rice first thing in the morning, we got some cereal from foreign food supermarket Seijo Iishi, and some milk/yoghurt from a convenience store and ate in our room. If you (like me) really value good coffee, then you are in for a rough time in Japan - their coffee sucks! The best I could find was Starbucks (which I despise back home, but I had to suck it up here). The nearest one was in the Nū Chayamachi building (about a five-minute walk). If you want a little bit of flavour, ask for a double-shot (duberu shotto).
TRAVELLING WITH KIDS
As mentioned, we brought along our son, who was almost one year old and not quite walking. We had booked a baby cot, but got an ancient and minuscule crib with tiny side rails that he would have easily fallen out of. We sent it back and used our portacot instead (lucky we brought it). There aren't many spots for toddlers to get out and explore, so he really valued returning to the hotel to stretch his legs. On the plus-side, there was good elevator and ramp access (necessary when you have a stroller) and a nice, clean bath which he loved.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Since we're in a central location right next to a station, our hotel is ideal for both business and leisure. To make your experience with us even better, we have an array of restaurants and bars, festive party rooms, and even a chapel, all in this urban-style hotel. And if you have any special requests, we're always here to answer to them. ... more less
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