Walking into a luxury hotel is almost always accompanied by a dramatic, and instantaneous, sense of freedom. As such, the lobby – the face of any hotel – is one of the most important steps for any property, so grand design is almost a given. That idea is built upon even further for those heading to InterContinental Osaka, widely known as one of the most sought after stays in the lively city, given that reception is located on the 20th floor with sweeping views of Osaka. Attached to shopping and entertainment complex Grand Front Osaka (which hosts around 266 stores), the city’s only InterContinental property gets much of it’s “wow” factor from the imposing, far-reaching perspective of the city and beyond, first previewed from the moment you check-in.
The hotel is accessible via two entrances, one of which is located on the ground floor of Grand Front Osaka, an easy walk from either Umeda or Osaka station. Having such open and quick access to the railway – especially Osaka station – is perfection as far as location in Japan goes, opening up a huge network that includes popular day trips to Kyoto, Kobe and Nara. Then of course you have the entirety of Grand Front Osaka at your doorstep. Location is the first of many big ticks for this five-star property.
Lighting is used to great effect throughout the hotel, bouncing off the walls to create a hypnotising, almost regal golden glow. This palatial aesthetic may seem portentous at first but small details add extra colour and character, particularly in the lobby which, on occasion, showcases many works from local artists; sculptures and paintings. A quaint lounge bar flows from the lobby to the right of reception, again making full use of those views with plenty of seating next to tall glass windows.
To the side of the lounge bar, officially titled 3-60, is the entrance to the enormous NOKA Roast & Grill. Again, the view is used well, an especially valuable design choice should you happen to grab a table right next to one of the windows. The kitchen’s approach is wide-open, making this the ideal spot for the continental breakfast – a generous spread, balanced between western and local food with top quality local produce, chefs preparing eggs on-demand, fresh juices and house-made pastries. You’re going to want to tuck into the nice range of pastries too; it’s a good preview for the hotel’s very own Stressed, a French inspired bakery located right by the hotel entrance stocking cakes, pastries and even local produce like Osaka honey and bottles of the hotel’s signature scent, the flowery aroma noticeable in many of the public areas.
Adee, a glamorous cocktail bar with huge floor-to-ceiling windows, is also located in the property but it’s the elegant Pierre that steals the show as as far as drinking and dining options go. The beautifully designed French restaurant, which is located on the same floor as reception, was awarded a Michelin star last year and has since retained the accolade, evidently drawing in quite the crowd of both locals and guests. It ranks amongst the top dining options in the area and draws in large amounts of natural light to highlight the modern design, which includes an impressive ceiling-high stack of wine bottles encased in glass windows, making up the entrance of the restaurant.
A dazzling spa is located a bit further down towards the ground spread across an entire level, while other expected amenities include a pool and a fitness centre side-by-side on the 4th floor. The heated indoor pool is a spectacular sight, made even more attractive with the slightly raised glass hot tub sitting beside it and plenty of windows looking out to the mountaintops. A traditional Japanese bathhouse is also located nearby, and although I personally didn’t get a chance to try it out, it’s not hard to imagine it being up to the high standards of all the other services that define this hotel.
Club Lounge access, on the 28th floor, is essential for those with the means; it feels like a quiet apartment up there, offering some of the best views in the building amongst ornate shelves and plush seating. A well-stocked bar is set up by the entrance, great for evening cocktails, and there’s of course a breakfast option for those that prefer the exclusivity.
Accommodation, such as in one of the hotel’s Deluxe rooms, is full of the modern comforts one would expect from an InterContinental. Again, there’s a luxurious amber glow that illuminates the walls with character coming from local art and two gigantic windows which welcome a lot of light, looking especially attractive come nightfall with Osaka’s sparkling skyline.
The room is spacious, with warm wooden floors and soft rugs. A double room will have two cloud-soft singles sitting together facing both a large wall-fixed television and a recliner seat. It’s a simple, effective layout with the best feature being the generous office desk which has a handcrafted tea set by the side and is next to a slide-out mini bar that’s stocked with premium products.
A semi-private, marble bathroom stylishly flows from the beds, and while there is a sliding door to divide the two areas the walls are still quite see-through. The fully automated toilet is behind closed doors, but the beautiful rain shower and sizable bath tub are slightly visible from the beds. A light plank sits across the tub with various products including an essential packet of Sakura scented bath salt (strong enough to scent the whole room) and a sponge.
Service is another strong suit of course. InterContinental always hit the mark when it comes to this necessary touchstone of hospitality, but it’s a refreshing reminder that such helpful, knowledgeable and efficient is there to help lessen the stress, especially for first timers who may be overwhelmed by the language barrier in Japan. The concierge is quite capable or organising just about anything in Osaka, even a complimentary taxi to the limousine bus station – the easiest way to head on over to the airport.
Osaka is a beautiful city to explore with many hidden gems (whatever you do, you must try Ajinoya in Namba for their okonomiyaki and yakisoba) so having so much access at your fingertips, plus all the comforts that make up InterContinental Osaka is more than ideal, and if you’ve got the cash (you’re looking at least $450 AUD a night) then this is hard to look past.
Address: GRAND FRONT OSAKA, 3-60 Ofukacho, Kita Ward, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture 530-0011, Japan
Contact: +81 6-6374-5700
The writer stayed one night as a guest of InterContinental Osaka.
Feature image supplied.