Swissotel Nankai Osaka Quick Review: Excellent Location But Dated Rooms

The Swissotel Nankai Osaka is a large hotel with over 500 rooms located directly above Nankai Railway’s Namba Station. We just got a three-night stay at this hotel in May 2024 and although the location couldn’t be better, other aspects left a lot to be desired. Here’s the quick breakdown of our stay.

Namba Station and Swissotel Nankai Osaka area.
Namba Station and Swissotel Nankai

The Good

So I’ll start with the good things first, and the next section will be about the drawbacks.

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Hard-To-Beat Location

On the positive side, the location of the Swissotel is exceptional, offering unbeatable access via an elevator to Namba Station where you can take the Nankai Rapi:t to the Kansai International Airport. It took us less than 5 minutes to go from our room on the 30th floor to the Nankai Rapi:t platform. You can also take Nankai Line trains to visit places such as Sumiyoshi Taisha. It is also very convenient to access the subway.

Nankai Limited Express Rapit train waiting on the platform at Nankai Namba Station in Osaka.
Nankai Rapi:t train at Namba Station

For those who love shopping, there’s a direct access to Takashimaya shopping mall and SkyO. The hotel is also within walking distance to Dotonbori, Shinsaibashi and Sennichimae Doguyasuji Shopping Street. Some of the restaurants we enjoyed during our stay in Osaka were also within walking distance from the Swissotel.

In short, there is nothing to complain about the location of the Swissotel. One of the main reasons we chose it was its direct access to Namba Station as we needed to take an early train to the airport.

Namba is definitely a busy area of Osaka though. We also stayed a few nights in Umeda and found it to be less crowded. Overall, both Namba and Umeda are among the best areas to stay in Osaka for travelers.

Room Size and Quietness

We booked a Swiss Advantage twin room which is about 32 square meters. It felt quite spacious with a large luggage rack where we could comfortably place 2 suitcases.

room at the Swissotel Nankai with twin beds, couches, table, desk and chair.
Decent sized room

Our room was also very quiet with no noise heard from neighboring rooms or the street levels below (we were on the 30th floor). The views from our windows were pretty nice, both during the day and at night.

Another plus point I would give to them was that they allowed us to check in early by about 2 hours. Hotels in Japan are usually quite strict with check-in time so we appreciated the flexibility.

View from room at the Swissotel Nankai Osaka.
View from our room

The Not-So-Good

Here are the things that made me question the standards of the Swissotel brand. My assessments are in relative to our experiences staying at other hotels in Japan and to their self-claimed 5-star hotel status.

Dated Room Conditions

I found the conditions of our room dated, falling well short of 4-star hotel standards. It left me with a poor impression of the Swissotel brand. I’m not sure if there are any other room categories that have received a facelift.

The furniture had clearly seen better days. The chairs and couches no longer provided any comfort. The desk and all surfaces got many scratch marks. Everything in the room appeared sad and worn out.

Some switches and sockets looked like they belonged to several decades ago. The room lighting system was also not adequate, adding to the overall dim and outdated feel.

The bathroom was particularly disappointing. It was poorly ventilated, with old tiles that felt kinda gross and a faint yet persistent smell. The vanity countertop had turned yellow with age. Additionally, there was no separate walk-in shower. Some small room amenities were also not up to standard, such as small bath towels and paper-thin slippers.

Dated bathroom at the Swissotel Nankai Osaka.

Below Average Breakfast

The buffet breakfast continued my disappointment with the Swissotel Nankai. We often book rooms with breakfast included as that’s one of the few breakfast options in Japan. The offering at the Swissotel Nankai is the worst hotel breakfast we’ve had in Japan so far.

Breakfast restaurant at the Swissotel Nankai Osaka.
The breakfast restaurant is spacious and has good views from the 36th floor
Japanese options in the breakfast buffet of Swissotel Nankai Osaka.
Japanese options

I understand it is a Western chain but how could a hotel in Japan serve such underwhelming Japanese breakfast food? There was little variety and even simple items like umeboshi tasted off. The quality was low compared to the spread at Hotel Sanraku Kanazawa, where we stayed before the Swissotel Nankai.

The Western breakfast options were slightly better, with a bit more variety of cooked items. We mostly picked eggs, oatmeal, and yogurt for our breakfast when staying at this hotel. The quality of fruits also puzzled us – it was like they chose canned fruits or the worst and cheapest options possible.

Western options in the breakfast buffet of Swissotel Nankai Osaka.

Lackluster Service

The service at the Swissotel Nankai was just okay – sufficient to get things done but not particularly engaging or energetic, especially in the breakfast room. Our best experience with their service was the quick check-in and check-out process.

There was little omotenashi (the Japanese concept of heartfelt hospitality and attention to detail) displayed in the service. We were used to greetings and smiling whenever encountering hotel staff in Japan. However, at the Swissotel, the staff’s interactions lacked the warmth and welcoming.

Overall Thoughts

I really have mixed thoughts about this hotel. I wanted to like it due to its convenient location and it’s likely we will continue to have Osaka as our entry and exit for many more future trips to Japan. We also like Osaka!

If I were to prioritize convenience and location for a very short stay, especially if I needed quick access to Kansai International Airport early in the morning, I might consider it again. However, for a more extended stay, I need a more comfortable hotel experience with better breakfast and rooms in a better shape. If we are going to stay here again, I will check with them which room category has been renovated.

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