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- Osaka: Bullet Train, Food, Nightlife, Aquarium, & Wanderings
- Tokyo: Cherry Blossoms, Microbars, Amazing Food, Views, & Wanderings
- Hotel Review: Hilton Tokyo Shinjuku
- Review: American Airlines First Class 777-200 Dallas to Tokyo-NRT
I should say up front: I really wanted to stay at the Hilton Osaka, but there wasn’t availability – paid or with points – for my dates.
The only thing available as far as chain hotels was the ANA Crowne Plaza Osaka, an IHG hotel. It was between this and an Airbnb.
In the end, I opted to pay 50,000 IHG points for 2 nights here because:
- It was free
- I randomly earned IHG Spire Elite status and wanted to see if it made a difference
- IHG Spire Elite status comes with 25,000 bonus IHG points, so one of the nights was a total freebie
- I have a ton of IHG points and wanted to burn some of them
- The Chase IHG card gives you 10% of your redeemed miles back in your account
- The stay at the Hilton Tokyo was paid and I wanted to decrease the overall price of the trip
Arrival and check-in
We took the Shinkansen bullet train from Tokyo to Osaka, with a stop in Kyoto. It was drizzly that day, so we only caught the vaguest glimpse of Mount Fuji’s outline. But it looked incredible. I bet on a clear day, it’s awe-inspiring (when traveling east-bound, it’ll be on the right side of the train).
We toyed with the idea of getting out at Kyoto, stowing our bags, and wandering to a few temples. But the rain got persistently worse, so we high-tailed it to Osaka instead.
After arrival at the Osaka train station, we took the subway a few stops to Yodoyabashi and walked the few blocks to the hotel.
Check-in was easy. The desk agent noted my IHG Spire Elite status, and gave me a rundown of the benefits.
She also let me know we’d been upgraded to a “superior” room, which was a nice gesture.
This particular hotel has a club lounge and club floors, whose rooms include free breakfast, tea service, afternoon snacks, and evening cocktails. I asked if the room was on one of these floors and the desk agent told me no, it wasn’t. Access the lounge? Nope.
“Is breakfast included?” No, she said. That would be an extra charge.
Soooo… IHG Spire Elite status is essentially worthless. The room was nice, but not exactly the upgrade I was hoping for. Still, for 2 free nights in Osaka at the height of cherry blossom season, I couldn’t really complain.
On to the room.
A little dated. Charge to use the minibar. Not the most thrilling city view. And the beds were very low to the ground.
But overall, a very clean space with fast wifi. I think the “upgrade” here was the room’s location – it was at the very end of the hall, in its own little “wing.” So it was very private and quiet.
There were a lot of products and stuff in the bathroom.
Then, there was even more stuff in the shower.
They definitely didn’t skimp on the toiletries, which was nice. They also smelled really good – each product had its own scent which was noted on the labels.
And again, I just love that bidet lol.
See what I mean about the beds being low to the ground?
All-in-all, a quaint room.
The location is quite good. It’s easy walking distance to the Midosuji and Yotsubashi subway lines – a few blocks to each. In fact, most of the places we wanted to go were within a few stops on either line.
Even better, there was a great strip of restaurants within walking distance.
The hotel itself has a few restaurants, which were closed between lunch and dinner (1pm to 5pm) when we arrived. So we didn’t get a chance to try any of them – there was so much outside the hotel to explore.
I particularly loved getting brunch at Eggs ‘n Things.
And I couldn’t help but notice the Hilton Osaka was only a few blocks north, closer to the Kita neighborhood.
We did, however, get some fantastic drinks at the hotel bar the night before we left.
It was largely empty as I suspect peeps were out enjoying the Osaka nightlife. The bartender was friendly and kind, and poured us up some Moscow mules that were the perfect nightcap. I charged them to the room and paid with the Chase IHG card to get 5X IHG points (and got my 10% discount for being IHG Spire Elite).
It really is the little things.
There was something about this place I can’t quite put my finger on.
The rooms were clean, the service was great, and everyone I encountered was more than friendly.
I think I’m irked by the shortcomings of the IHG loyalty program and not being able to get a room at other nearby hotels. Next time, I’ll shoot to stay at the Hilton Osaka or even an Airbnb in one of the fun neighborhoods we explored.
It would’ve been great to get an upgrade to a club floor, or at least free breakfast, considering I have the “highest” elite status with IHG.
In another way, I wanted to see for myself, materially, what that would mean for an award stay. And the answer, disappointingly, is: not much.
I have reviews coming up from stays at Hilton, Hyatt, and Starwood hotels. And this one is obviously IHG.
As a free agent, it’s been interesting to see the little nuances in each chain’s company culture and loyalty program offerings. Something about IHG screams “missed opportunity.” A few more perks would’ve pushed this stay into whole-heartedly fantastic.
But as it stands, I’m left with a bit of “meh.”
All that to say, the 2-night stay was completely free – so I really can’t complain. And Osaka is such a vibrant, fun, and fantastic city that you’re bound to have a great time no matter where you land.
If you’ve stayed here, let me know how your experience compares!
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