By Bonson Lam
What do you look for in a hotel? Clean, comfortable beds, elegant decor, close to public transport, helpful staff? Large rooms yet an intimate feel? The Fraser Residence Nanba has them all in spades.
As Fraser hotels are different in every city, it is important to know what you are in for.
The Fraser Residence Namba is in a renovated building near a highway, but don't let that deceive you, it looks and feels brand new and is very quiet in the rooms day and night, even if you overlook the highway. It is more a serviced apartment than a hotel, so no in room menus, but has fantastic service. There is also a spanking new gym and sauna (both empty when I dropped in at night), and if you book early, there are specials on their website for up to 45% off. While more expensive than the Sheraton or the Toyoko Inn, it is more convenient to stay here. Rooms start from 12000 yen for a 28 sq. m studio to up to 100,000 yen for a 2 bed executive room (rack rate).
The Fraser Residence is known for its clean white lines, modern stylish interiors that are comfortable at the same time, and no chintz. They make great use of lighting and after a few days you could easily imagine how comfortable it is to live in them if they were your own apartment. The wooden floors are great for guests with allergies and the bath is huge and perfect for relaxing after a long day's shopping or sightseeing.
There is a fantastic, almost futuristic washing / drying machine, with dials all in Japanese, but luckily there are instructions in English as well.
There are also 2 TVs, one in the living room and one in the bedroom. Besides that they have a small stereo, a DVD player, i-pod dock a decent fridge with plenty of space to stock your goodies, stove, microwave, iron, and ironing board. There is also free Wi-Fi in all the rooms and the lobby, a rarity amongst other Osaka hotels. For example the Sheraton has Wi-Fi in the lobby, and the Toyoko Inn has Wi-Fi/internet pcs in the lobby, but the Sheraton does not have Wi-Fi in the hotel rooms themselves.,
The staff is discreet yet offer fantastic service when asked. I needed their help a few times before my check in and they were very prompt in replying.
The Spanish style bistro is a fun place to eat, with colorful red decor, whiteboard specials and Spanish wall tiles, serving paella, tapas and the usual bistro fare adjusted for Japanese tastes. It is also the place for the complimentary breakfast, where you can pick from 3 different set menus (all western style, one with cereal, one with fruit). The breakfast is reasonable and fresh, not something to write home about, a bit small for some with no second servings, but nevertheless a good start for the day.
There are both inside and outside seats, and on a warm day it is great to sit outside for some great people watching on the street to the Osaka Gymnasium. In March you might even be lucky enough to see Sumo Wrestlers on the way to the tournament. But more likely you will see travelers on the way to the more outlying hotels. Lucky you for staying in the third closest hotel to Namba Nankai line station, with direct access to Kansai airport in the futuristic looking rapid train, which looks like if it came straight out of an anime.
Train tickets are 1,390 yen one way from Namba Station (890 yen regular fare + 500 yen limited express fare), which whizzes you to the airport over 40 kilometers away in just 34 minutes. The fastest "Rapit" trains generally leave on the hour and half past the hour.
Japanese Timetables from Namba to Kansai INTERNATIONAL airport are here:
While timetables from Kansai Airport are here:
English timetables to/from Itami DOMESTIC airport are here:
My tips for staying at the Frasers Residence:
Book 1 to 2 months ahead for their deep discounted rates
The twin room has more wardrobe/storage space than the double rooms
If you are not in a big hurry or don’t need guaranteed seating, the standard Nankai airport train will get to the airport nearly as quickly as the Rapit.
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