[Hotel Review] The Bridge Hotel Shinsaibashi in Osaka (ザブリッジホテル心斎橋) - Vikingess Voyages

Monday, January 9, 2017

[Hotel Review] The Bridge Hotel Shinsaibashi in Osaka (ザブリッジホテル心斎橋)

A red bridge in front of the entrance to the Bridge Hotel
The number of tourists to Japan has been nearly exploding during the recent years, and this had led to a wide range of new fancy hotels being built especially catering to the needs of foreign guests. During my annual visit to Osaka for the Toka Ebisu festival I stayed a night at the newly opened The Bridge Hotel Shinsaibashi, a hotel that aims to be a "bridge between Japan and the world".

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The Bridge Hotel Shinsaibashi opened up in November 2011. It is situated in the very heart of Osaka with only 3 minutes walk from Yotsubashi Station (四ツ橋駅) and 5 mintues walk from Shinsaibashi Station (心斎橋え駅). You can also get to the hotel in a 5 minutes walk from the airport shuttle stop. The hotel's staff can speak English, Korean, Chinese and Japanese, so you won't have any problems with communicating with them (it is suprisingly uncommon for even larger Japanese hotel chains to employ staff who don't even speak English to handle the hotel counter). The hotel has 209 bedrooms spread out over 13 floors, and the elevators on the ground floor only operate if you have a door card to one of the guest rooms, ensuring that only people staying at the hotel can enter the guest-room floors.

Guest Rooms
During my night at the hotel I stayed at one of their Single Rooms. I found that the bed was quite wide, and with 15 sq.m. in the room it was more than enough for my luggage. This room type is however also used as a Double Room, so if you're traveling with a partner and a lot of luggage you might find the floor space small (compared to many Japanese hotels it is not that bad though, Japanese hotel rooms are known to be small). Japanese hotels are known for having short beds, so one positive thing is that their bed was extra long (150cm x 195cm)
Although I stayed in a Single Room one of the hotel's representatives kindly took her time to show me around to their Twin Room and Triple Room. If you travel with children they allow 2 kids to stay for free on the same bedding as the adults for the twin room so if you want to save floor space this might be an option to the Triple Room. I've included a couple of pictures of their Twin and Triple Room below:
Below are some more photos of the inside of my Single (/Double) Room:


The room had a wide selection of amenities available, as listed below:

Available in all rooms

DVD/CD player ・Free Wi-Fi in all rooms ・Telephone ・TV [flat screen]

Air conditioning Slippers Toiletries ・Towels ・Hair dryer ・Linens ・Carpeting ・In-room safe box 

Food and drinks
Refrigerator Free bottled water

The hotel has put a lot of effort into streamlining the concept of the building, making it as typically Japanese as possible. The interior design is really neat, with for instance cute sakura flower carpets in the hallway of the guest-floors. On the 12th floor there is a little Japanese stone garden which can be used as a nice photo spot if you come to their Monday kimono event (more info further down in the post).
Right beside the stone garden there is a laundry room where you can have your clothes washed, along with another room that has a vending machine and a microwave.

On the first floor there is a breakfast lounge where breakfast is served until 9:30 am, but it is also open 24/7 for hotel guests, and here you can bring your own food and enjoy their free tea, green tea, coffee and plain water.

And just when you thought it couldn't possibly get any better they have massage chairs available in the lobby that you can use for free along with their computers that have free printing service (if you prefer to work in your room they also have free laptop rental).

Special Services - Freebies
Besides the facilities there are a lot of free services you can enjoy at this hotel. First of all there are daily cultural events you can take part in that are held in the hotel's lobby. You can among other things try to wear a kimono (Mondays) or take part in a mini-festival (Sundays). The events they offer change throughout the week, which makes it exiting to stay at the hotel even for a longer time. During my stay they were having a little festival in the lobby, but unfortunately I was out during the evening so I couldn't check it out myself. In the evening they also offer free ramen and all-you-can-drink (including alcoholic drinks) in the dining hall from 22:00-23:00. If you want to save some money on transportation around Osaka you might find the hotel's free bicycle rental a pleasant surprise, and if you are traveling with small children their free stroller rental might come in handy. All I can say is: Wow! This hotel certainly takes free service to the next level..

To sum up, here are some bullet points about the hotel:
  • Friendly staff who speak fluent English. Unlike some of the traditional Japanese hotel chains this hotel is catered towards foreigners and will definitely be able to help you out if you have any questions.
  • The hotel's interior design. I simply loved the tiny Japanese garden on the 12th floor with the red torii gates and the sakura flowers on the wall in my room.
  • All the free stuff. Did I mention the massage chair in the lobby!? Or the all-you-can-drink and free ramen for a late dinner? The hotel also has free computer rental, printing service, child care goods and a breakfast lounge open 24/7 with free tea, green tea, coffee and plain water available to staying guests.
  •  The cultural activities. You might want to stay here a couple of days in a row in order to try out as many of the events as possible. Personally I would have wanted to stay here on a Monday to try kimono for free.
  • Japanese hotel rooms are not big. That is how it is. If you want to stay at almost any hotel in Japan you might as well be prepared for this from the beginning.

I was really impressed by how much effort this hotel puts into making the stay more than just about getting a good nights' sleep (which I also got btw)! It is only a couple of months since the hotel opened but I can imagine it will get immensely popular once the tourist season begins and foreign travellers start discovering this gem. If you're interested in staying at the hotel I would recommend booking early!

Basic Info

Name of Hotel: The Bridge Hotel Shinsaibashi (ザブリッジホテル心斎橋)
Star Rating: 4 ★★★★
Location 5 mintues walk from Shinsaibashi Station (心斎橋え駅)
3 minutes walk from Yotsubashi Station (四ツ橋駅)
Check in: Check In From 3PM
Check Out Until 11AM

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About Anette
Anette came to Japan as an exchange student in 2010, met the love of her life and got stuck. From her base in Tokyo she writes about her experiences as a full-time worker in Tokyo and about her travels in Japan and abroad. She's a free-spirited adventurer who enjoys both the great outdoors and her urban lifestyle.

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Adventures ofAnette

A modern day shield-maiden who loves to explore the unbeaten paths of the world. From her base in Tokyo, Anette takes on both rural and urban challenges, and goes by the motto "No challenge too big, no adventure too small"!
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