The Ritz Carlton Osaka was the first of the Ritz Carlton brand to open in Japan in 1997. What is remarkable that the owners opted for a western traditional design in a culturally sensitive Japan. The hotel is said to be modeled after the old New York property on Madison Avenue, giving it the look and feel of a western mansion. It has proven to be the right choice, giving the Japanese city of Osaka a new place to be for the rich and famous.
Today, it has maintained the same style. Dark wooden corridors and traditional bellman wearing long jackets and top hats, take you back to the 1920s. Some might see this as outdated and would even argue that the hotel is not meeting today’s standards and expectations. However, the Ritz Carlton Osaka tells a story and the looks play an important role. It is a delight staying at a property that has not lost its character, even though it is not in line with the local culture.
The number one selling point of the Ritz Carlton Osaka are the room rates. Japan can be an expensive country for travel by almost any standard. Comparing the rates of the Ritz Carlton Osaka with the brand’s properties in Kyoto and Tokyo and you can easily see why this is such a good deal. Especially for those coming for leisure. Depending on the season the rates are generally half or even just a third what you would pay at the other Ritz Carlton properties. For travelers, you could even argue that the location is even better than the property in Kyoto, being closer to the airport and in the middle of some of the region’s top attractions, such as Kyoto city and Nara.
Other highlights are the 6 dining options and the club lounge. When it comes to dining, there will be something for everyone. Cantonese, French and Japanese. Although the French restaurant, La Baie has been awarded a Michlin start, the most interesting venue is Hanagatami. This venue is a collection of smaller venues, each serving a different menu. The different mini venues all serve only a handful of guests and feel more traditional. They are all styled differently and, although listed as one venue, you could say this is a collection of 5 venues. Michelin has awarded the Tempura section with a Michelin Star.
Like the hotel itself, the rooms have a traditional western look and feel. They can feel a little outdated and they are also not following the new design philosophy of Ritz Carlton. This is something to keep in mind when booking. For those seeking something special, Ritz Carlton Osaka does offer more traditional Japanese style rooms where you’ll be sleeping on traditional Futon matrasses on the Tatami mats and Shoji screens separating the living from the sleeping area.
The main lobby and rather confusing corridors on the ground floor can feel busy. Not just hotel guests but also guests for the dining outlets, the bar and event guests will wander around. The venue is a popular spot and this is noticeable at times. The staff does everything they can to make you feel comfortable, but what has to be kept in mind is that the ground floor can be busy. Once away from the ground floor, entering the other facilities you will treated like you would expect from any other Luxury property in Japan.
Ritz Carlton Osaka is very much value for money. Osaka as a destination for tourists is underrated. Western visitors might find the property too western when they are looking for a more traditional and local experience and it is better suited for business travelers with the large Club Lounge as a bonus.