48 hours in Osaka with W Hotels

Amongst Osaka’s vast cityscape, stands the all-black facade of Marriott Bonvoy’s newest luxury addition, W Osaka. Designed by world-renowned Japanese architect, Tadao Ando, there is a story to be told behind the hotel’s minimalist exterior, despite being located in one of Japan’s most vibrant cities. Post-war Japan saw a sea of black kimonos flooding the popular Midosuji Boulevard, but the expressive nature of the Osakan people could not be suppressed for long. Inside these all black kimonos showcased bright colours and bold patterns - a reminder of the true spirit of the city.

W Osaka’s interior design draws on the past in this way and is a reflection of the hidden flamboyance and opulence of this era. Much like the Osakan people who are known for their self-expression, the interior of W Osaka effortlessly highlights the contrast between Japanese minimalism and the exuberant excess of urban life.

Arriving at W Osaka on a balmy Friday afternoon was like entering a whole new world as we walked through an illuminated white tunnel, with artwork inspired by the Japanese art forms of origami and kirigami. Depending on the season, the arrival tunnel is lit up in various hues, reflective of the changing weather. In contrast to the hotel’s exterior, the interior design of W Osaka was conceptualised by an Amsterdam-based design studio, allowing W Osaka to welcome a fresh perspective. One that left an ‘outsider’ to showcase Japan through a new lens. 

After touring the many wonders of the hotel, we were taken through [one of many] secret passageways to experience the culinary wonders of Teppanyaki MYDO, a restaurant that offers its own spin on local soul food. That evening, we were treated to an authentic Japanese dining experience, Kappo. Simply put, Kappo means ‘to cut and cook’, and is a multi-course (in our case - seven!) meal that is left entirely up to the chef. It’s safe to say that I was left extremely satisfied after devouring a seasonal ‘Autumn inspired’ selection of traditional Japanese dishes.

For our final night in Osaka, the hotel’s third floor lobby and social hub was transformed to premiere the Asia-Pacific W PRESENTS series. With an immersive private musical showcase of popular Japanese actors, models, and DJ’s SHUZO & YAMATO, followed by Italian DJ duo Giolì & Assia. We danced well into the night, enjoying the live mix of powerful melodies and vocals. 

After a weekend of learning about the values of W Osaka and the cultural significance the unique design features represent, it was clear that this was the perfect destination to host an event like this. As reiterated by John Toomey, Chief Sales & Marketing Officer, Asia Pacific (excluding China), Marriott International, "the energy and eclecticism of Japan, particularly Osaka, make it [W Presents] the perfect backdrop for a W hotel.”

On my final morning at W Osaka, I thought it was about time I tried out the fourth floor, a space dedicated to balancing one’s energy. I had been eyeing up W’s jacuzzi and indoor pool with its LED ceiling since I arrived, and it did not disappoint. On that quiet Sunday morning, I found the space to be very reminiscent of a traditional Japanese onsen, where patrons go to bathe, socialise and relax in the natural hot springs. No doubt, this was the perfect way to unwind before my long journey home.

“From unforgettable dining experiences and live music sets to the thoughtful design rooted in the history and culture of the city, W Osaka is a destination within a destination where international jetsetters and local tastemakers meet and make magic.” - John Toomey, Chief Sales & Marketing Officer, Asia Pacific (excluding China), Marriott International.