Found on the island of Honshu, Osaka is the third largest city in Japan and a great choice if you’re seeking a more relaxed and earthy alternative to Tokyo. At the heart of its Old Town is a shogunate castle that dates back to the 16th century and is surrounded by a moat. More recently the city has become a hub for street food, nicknamed “Japan’s kitchen”, with foodies flocking to sample the local takoyaki and okonomiyaki. It’s also the home of the country’s Universal Studios and provides easy access to Kyoto.
The Ritz-Carlton, Osaka
Following The Ritz-Carlton’s British heritage, this hotel has a distinctly Western feel. Pass the doormen wearing top hats and tails and you’ll enter a world of art (over 450 original pieces can be toured inside), cigar and whisky lounges, live piano music and centuries old antiques. Book a bedroom with views of the ocean, tatami mats or futons and an Italian marble bathroom and dine on award winning French, Italian, Chinese, or Japanese cuisine at one of its four restaurants. Its spa offers a range of detox and relaxation treatments, as well as a heated indoor pool, jacuzzis and outdoor hot tubs, steam rooms and saunas.
Rising from between the Dojima and Tosabori rivers, the Conrad’s home (Nakanoshima Festival West Tower) soars upwards, affording its inhabitants some impressive vistas. Service is tailored and room controls are all digital (even the drapes), for a thoroughly modern experience surrounded by classic comforts; USB ports, speakers, espresso machines and multi-language alarm clocks are all available in your bedroom or suite. The Conrad in Osaka has six swish dining options, including a skybar, a grill specialising in crustaceans such as Alaskan king crabs, a “food library” and a sleek 40th floor teppanyaki eatery. Visit the spa for detoxifying baths, facials, body therapies and massages inspired by ancient rituals.
The St. Regis Osaka
Osaka’s answer to the Champs Elysées, the solubrious Midosuji is the setting for the St Regis property. Each of its 160 bedrooms features Japanese-style bathtubs, Remède bath products, a curated selection of art and ceramics, Kyoto silks and headboards crafted from Kawashima silk. Guests staying here receive the hallmark brand butler service and can experience French flair in a Japanese city – the hotel has a boulangerie and two French restaurants, along with an Italian eatery and a teppanyaki grill. And when it comes to the first meal of the day, you can opt for an American spread, or a traditional Japanese breakfast.
The striking jet black reflective facade of the W hotel (designed by the city’s own world-renowned architect Tadao Ando) sets it apart on the horizon. But inside is a very different story, with bold pinks, blues and purples found throughout. It’s located on Midosuji Boulevard and welcomes guests with a giant uplit W sign made up of chrome balls. An indoor glowing infinity pool adjoins a bar and lounge with DJ beats creating a sophisticated party vibe. The living room and restaurant are separated by a white flowing curtain, creating a sense of cohesion yet separating the function of the spaces.
InterContinental Osaka, an IHG Hotel
Pay a visit to the InterContinental for some Michelin starred cuisine at the Pierre restaurant or for some time soaking in the waters of its traditional bathhouse. Then stay awhile in one of the 272 bedrooms with a Bose sound system and Nespresso machine, or for an extended period, check into a multiple bedroom residence. The hotel also has an indoor swimming pool, a jet bath and a sauna, with immersive spa treatments and holistic packages, as well as further eateries; Noka Roast and Grill, the 3-60, Adee and the Stressed Patisserie.