WHAT'S IT LIKE? The Ritz-Carlton Osaka is one of the relatively few leading international brands to have a presence in this important business city. Opened in 1997, The Ritz-Carlton ambience is unmistakable from the moment you are greeted by the doorman and bellboys. The hotel aims to give the feel of a Georgian-era mansion, while still retaining a Japanese feel. It has many pieces of artwork and antiques in the rooms and public areas that help to give it a luxurious homely quality.
WHERE IS IT? In the Nishi-Umeda business district of Japan’s second largest city. The hotel is connected to a large luxury shopping centre, with attached offices. The Ritz-Carlton is within easy walking distance of the Hanshin Umeda Station and Osaka’s main JR station. Osaka’s key shopping centres are all within 10 minutes’ or so walk. Travellers from Osaka’s Kansai airport can take the number 5 airport limousine to Osaka Station and get off at Herbis Osaka bus stop. Here there is a courtesy phone to connect you to the hotel, which can then send a car to pick you up. Alternatively, if you have no luggage, the hotel is only a few minutes away on foot.
ROOM FACILITIES Those staying in one of the 62 rooms on the Ritz-Carlton Club levels situated on floors 33 to 35 have access to the private lounge, different room amenities and complimentary meal and snack displays in the lounge that are changed throughout the day.
RESTAURANTS AND BARS One of its most outstanding attributes is that this hotel hosts not one but two Michelin-starred restaurants; the elegant La Baie serves up authentic French cuisine while the Chinese Xiang Tao specialises in Cantonese food, especially dim sum, but also offers dishes from other Chinese cooking styles.
There is an Italian restaurant Splendido, which is a Tuscan villa-inspired eatery. Given Osaka’s reputation as the “Kitchen of Japan”, Japanese cuisine is well served by the excellent Hanagatami, which provides varying options such as sushi, tempura and teppanyaki to the multi-course speciality kaiseki. The Japanese garden outside provides a perfect and tranquil accompaniment to your meal.
There is a 60-seater drinks outlet called The Bar. Aside from drinks, The Bar hosts live jazz music most evenings. It also has a private dining room that seats 15.
The lobby lounge can sit 90 people and aside from drinks, it offers a popular afternoon tea, where the hotel’s speciality coffees and chocolates are in high demand.
BUSINESS FACILITIES There are 10 function rooms on floors two to four and a fully equipped business centre with secretarial support. The business centre is open around the clock.
LEISURE FACILITIES There is an indoor lap pool, an indoor and outdoor whirlpool, separate men’s and women’s saunas and a workout studio. There are also several massage treatment rooms.
HOW MANY ROOMS? 292 guestrooms including 38 Executive Suites, 64 Ritz-Carlton Club rooms and suites, two Japanese Suites and two Ritz-Carlton Suites.
ROOM HIGHLIGHTS Italian marble in the bathroom and compact plug-in facilities for computers and iPods.
PRICE A Superior room (43sqm) with King bed is on offer online from JPY22,000 (US$238) per night for the month of June.
CONTACT 2-5-25 Umeda, Kita-ku, Osaka 530-0001 tel 81 6 6343 7000, www.ritzcarlton.com
The size of the guestrooms is unusually large in comparison with standard Japanese hotels. The hotel’s location is also a key advantage, especially for those who want to explore nearby cities such as Kyoto by train. Staff speak excellent English on the whole and although I didn’t dine in the Michelin-starred restaurants, my experience at Hanagatami was one of the most memorable meals I’ve ever had.