Courtyard by Marriott Shin-Osaka Station

Prologue

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Founded in 1983 as an alternative to budget-conscious business travellers, the Courtyard by Marriott brand has built up a reputation for reliable, fuss-free accommodation. 33 years on, the brand is in the midst of reinventing itself with a younger, fresher image. We check-in to the Courtyard by Marriott Shin-Osaka Station, one of the latest properties to in its portfolio to feature the new brand DNA and 1 of 8 hotels that Japanese real estate giant Mori Trust Group is placing under the management of Marriott International.

 

Location / Accessibility

Conveniently located next to JR Shin-Osaka station, the hotel benefits from its close proximity to the integrated transportation hub allowing for the rest of Osaka (and the country) to be reached easily. Daily bullet trains on the Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen lines connect as far as Tokyo to the east and Hakata to the west, while commuter Japan Railways (JR) services serve regional destinations. Travellers flying in and out of the city will also find direct rail and road links to Kansai International Airport and Osaka International Airport (Itami). Although considered to be outside the city center, the Osaka Municipal Subway Midosuji line gets travellers to the core areas of Umeda and Namba, together with major city business and leisure addresses in under 30 minutes.

 

Arrival Experience

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Exiting the central ticket gates of the Shinkansen concourse, we made our way towards the Shin-Osaka Hankyu Building where an elevated pedestrian walkway connected directly to the hotel’s lobby. Walking through the unique wooden front doors, we are greeted by the spacious, contemporary-design lobby that immediately gave us a comforting feel of a home-away-from-home.

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Arriving just after 1500 hrs, we were immediately greeted and attended to by one of the many Japanese agents on-duty as we approached the front desk. It was then a matter of going through the standard check-in formalities as she proceeded to confirm our room preferences and inform us of the upgrade to a higher floor per our request. While the process was very polite and professional, we felt it was rather sterile and lacking a personal element. We were also not recognized as a Marriott Rewards member which we thought could be improved upon given how the property was recently rebranded to leverage on the greater reach and branding prowess of Marriott.

 

Guestrooms

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Our upgraded room on the 12th floor of the hotel was located near the end of the hallway, which necessitated a walk from the elevators which were sited on the central core of the building. While new from the recent renovation, we felt that the drab gray-colored walls and patterned carpets appear utilitarian and monotonous.

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In contrast, the guestrooms are stylishly designed and furnished, with the bright red lounger and its accompanying patterned cushion standing out amongst the sea of neutral and darker colours. Our twin-bedded Courtyard room was spacious by Japanese standards, with plenty of space to move around, made to look even larger by the natural light streaming in from the window. The 2 comfortable, supersingle-sized beds beckoned to us in this light and we managed to catch a short nap in them following a day on the road.

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The bathroom was similarly large by Japanese standards and very well-illuminated, with the use of contrasting black flooring, gray marble vanity and light-colored tiles lending to the sense of space. Facing the entrance was a electronic toilet that has now become synonymous with Japan, with the vanity to one side and the deep-soaking bathtub/shower combination to the other, complemented by bath amenities from Marriott’s Nirvae Essentials line. We liked its light, non-overpowering scent which made for a refreshing hot shower each day with our preferred strong water pressure.

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In-room technology and entertainment was pretty much limited to the wall-mounted flatscreen television, which we felt was lacking in terms of channel selection for non-Japanese travellers. While there was the BBC and CNN, there was no English-language movie channel and the majority of the programming were from local broadcasters. Pay-per-View content was available, but necessitated a walk to the lift lobby to purchase an access ticket. A redeeming grace was the complimentary and fast internet that enabled us to stream online content instead.

 

Another area where we felt the hotel’s management missed an opportunity in during the renovation work was the lack of USB ports and universal electrical outlets. In an age where USB charging is increasingly common, the lack of a suitable port becomes an annoyance. This was compounded by the fact that the power ports in the room were made to Japanese specifications and required a travel adaptor for international guests.

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Tucked to the side is the refreshment center that had complimentary bottled water, coffee-/tea-making facilities and a modestly-stocked minibar which we did not utilise. The adjacent wardrobe was spacious enough for 2 guests, with ample clothes hangers, electric iron, electronic safe and the requisite bedroom slippers.

 

Dining

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Courtyard by Marriott Shin-Osaka Station boasts an all-day dining restaurant, Lavarock Dining & Bar, offering a mix of international and Japanese fare in a casual setting overlooking the linkbridge and sidewalk. We headed down one morning to sample the breakfast offering, which was a choice between the buffet or a la carte menu. While not as visually impressive as some other hotels we’ve stayed in, the buffet fulfills the basics with a decent selection of cold and hot items, in addition to eggs made-to-order, Chinese dim sum and Vietnamese pho.  Service was on the whole polite and coffee refills prompt.

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In the evenings, we headed up to Bar Nineteen on the top floor for drinks. We liked the fact that this was a quiet space to enjoy a cold beer after a day out, winding down to the lights of the surrounding building. Service here was attentive yet unintrusive, with the staff happy to give the guests their privacy but ever-ready to serve when called upon.

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Situated on the same floor is the hotel’s teppanyaki restaurant, Ikka-Ichiyo, which we did not manage to try.

 

Facilities

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We found the Courtyard by Marriott Shin-Osaka Station to be rather limited in facilities for guests. Being a mid-sized business hotel sited next to a busy train station and targeted at Travellers utilizing the shinkansen, there was a small executive lounge and meeting rooms on the top floor, together with a compact gymnasium at street level. We thought this was relatively basic although the machines looked decent-enough, which was a pity as it was under-utilised given that hardly any guests were seen inside during our stay.

 

Service / Staff

As is the case in Japan, the staff at the hotel were polite and reserved. While the proficiency in English still had room-for-improvement, we felt that general communication was not an issue which is welcome news for international guests. Kudos also to the helpful Front Desk staff, who went out of their way to recover an item we had left behind after check-out.

 

Verdict

All things considered, the Courtyard by Marriott Shin-Osaka Station is hard to beat for its convenience. Being minutes away from the shinkansen, on which nearby cities can be reached in mere hours, as well as an easy subway link to downtown make it an excellent choice for travellers looking to maximize their time in Osaka. The freshly-renovated guestrooms and public spaces are a welcome addition with its modern decor, blending perfectly with the brand’s fuss-free persona for a relaxing and uncomplicated stay experience.

 

Courtyard by Marriott Shin-Osaka Station Hotel

1-2-70 Miyahara, Yodogawa-ku

Osaka 532003

Japan

+81 6 6350 5701

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