Accommodation Review (Accommodation)

Osaka 2013 – Day 1 (Part 2): Hotel Osaka Bay Tower Review

24 July 2013

I know I will get questions on where to stay in Osaka, so here is my preemptive post, heh.

At the end of our visit to USJ, we finally got to check into our hotel:

Hotel Osaka Bay Tower

I picked this hotel because it was the best balance of location, price and reviews.

It was just a 3-min walk from a JR station, 6,000yen total per night, and had decent reviews.

But more than anything else, the greatest appeal was the view…

 

The guest rooms are located between levels 31 and 50, so you’re guaranteed a view of Osaka, night or day!

But the hotel and I didn’t start off too well.

I called them after we arrived at 7am to see if it’s possible to arrange an early check-in. Official check-in is 2pm, so I know it’s unlikely we will be able to check in but called to check anyway because we were thinking of going to USJ direct instead if we knew for sure we couldn’t check in.

The receptionist picked up the phone, asked for my name, asked me to wait, and…

The line went dead.

?!?!!

I thought ok, maybe he accidentally hung up on me. It happens. So I just called back. Guess what? NO ONE ANSWERED!

What on earth.

I was too annoyed to call again and decided to head straight to the hotel anyway.

When we got there, there were 2 guys at the counter so I couldn’t say for sure who answered the phone. Or else I would have asked him why the hell he hung up on me AND subsequently did not pick up! [○・`Д´・○]

From the conversation we had, I felt like they were very unwelcoming and unfriendly. I was quite displeased because

  1. I have quite high expectations of Japanese service in general
  2. I always had the impression that Osaka people were warm and friendly, much less those in the service industry! Oh, and
  3. Because I slept badly, had to wake up so early and was feeling damn grouchy so I really didn’t appreciate their attitude.

The staff couldn’t speak English at all, so, I dunno, that may be why they were so cold towards us. But all the same, no excuse!

When we came back the same night to check in and pick up the luggage we dropped off earlier, we were told they already placed it in our room. With that, they redeemed themselves a bit. Just a tiny bit.

Hotel rooms in Japan (especially Tokyo) are notoriously small, so I was pleasantly surprised to find that the room was quite spacious.

Yes, this is spacious.
(Bathroom and closet not pictured)
They did not lie about the view – That is undoubtedly the most awesome thing about this hotel!

Apart from the view, the hotel was o-k. You can definitely tell the hotel is hotel is old, and while it wasn’t falling apart, a bit of freshening up of the interior is very much welcomed.

Look ma, a key!

Man… I have no idea when the last time I used keys in a hotel was…

You must also manually switch the lights and aircon on and off because there’s no place you can stick this key into control them.

The room smelled of smoke even though I requested for a non-smoking room. But I read from reviews that it was not uncommon, so I didn’t bother with the hassle of changing rooms. Besides, Fu bathed and conked out almost immediately thereafter so there was no way to move unless I wanted to drag his body around -_-;;

They gave us 2 vouchers as a gift to congratulate us. I mentioned during reservation that we were on honeymoon, which is technically not incorrect, since it’s our first holiday since our wedding!

I was thinking that it was so sweet of them and they almost redeemed themselves for the earlier unfortunate incident until I read the “Purchase of meal necessary for redemption of free drink” condition in the fine print.

I TAKE ALL MY THOUGHTS BACK.

Sheesh. Drink only need to be so stingy not?!
I threw out the vouchers immediately (;¬_¬) /θ

The hotel stay doesn’t come with breakfast by default, but I wanted Fu to experience eating in style on level 51 (the view!) so I purchased breakfast when making reservations.

TIP!
Purchasing the breakfast option beforehand is MUCH cheaper than purchasing on the spot.
I paid 1,680yen per person = 3,360yen in total (for 2 days).
If purchased on the spot, it’s 1,785 x 2 pax x 2 days =  7,140yen!!!

The hotel issues breakfast coupons, and you can pick one of 3 places to eat.

We ate on 51F on the first day. We wanted to try something new on Day 2, but when we went in to look at the buffet on 22F, it was a subset of the food on Level 51!

What’s worse was, there was no view to speak of! We hurried out the door and scrambled back up to Level 51 before they had a chance to tear our meal coupons.

This is what dining on 51F looks like!

Our window seat view

The spread was quite decent.
Note: Plates look empty because I took the photo at nearing the end of the buffet, not because they didn’t refill them!

The happiest thing for me was seeing these:

I don’t even like potatoes that much, but ate so many of them! Fu likes potatoes but ate lesser than me! Haha, I’m superficial like that.

Happy breakfast! Tee hee.

To me, scrambled eggs are the mark of international breakfast buffets. Therefore, this buffet did not make the cut, as you can see they served egg blocks above .

But they must have heard my disappointment because they had scrambled eggs on the second day! :D

In short…
This hotel is decent if you’re not fussy about the newness of the hotel. The views are amazing (one of the best you can find!), the location in the city and proximity to the train station is good, and the price is reasonable.

Website: http://www.osaka-baytower.com/multilingual/en/index.html
Address: ORC200, 1-2-1, Benten, Minato-ku, Osaka, Osaka 552-0007

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In case you’re interested, I made reservations through JAPANiCAN. At the point of booking, it was cheapest on this website. Even cheaper than on the hotel’s own website!

Have you stayed in Osaka before? If so, where did you stay?

I’ll be going back again next year (HARRY POTTER!), and wouldn’t mind staying someplace else if it comes highly recommended!

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