You wake at 3AM. You don’t want to go back to sleep. You’re in Japan—now is not the time to stay in bed. You rise, dress and head to the elevator. It’s glass and offers a view of Osaka. You feel a bit of the outdoor weather, affirming your decision to be awake. You find yourself in the lobby and there, in your hotel, is a 24-hour cafe serving superb coffee and delectable flatbreads. Friendly, knowledgable staff and rapid free WiFi underline the scenario, which isn’t a sample situation—though very well could be—but one we found ourselves in last week. Adjusting to jet lag occurred at a countertop in the Moxy Osaka Honmachi. Here, the affordable Marriott brand has constructed a design-driven ecosystem with plenty of on-site activities—and everything one wants to see, touch or taste in Osaka is within a 20-minute walk.
Moxy is a relatively new brand, making a Milan debut back in 2014. The 155-room Osaka property opened its doors in late 2017. Communal space really defines the experience: the large lobby, a check-in station at the bar (where guests are offered a free cocktail), a gym, laundry room, and even a shared room dedicated to ironing one’s clothes. Social spaces feature games, books and an array of design-driven seating, as well as a faux fireplace. Further, glass walls and windows let in plenty of natural light. Enough consideration went into the design of these public spaces that guests can gather with a full family or tuck themselves away solo with a laptop and get work done. There’s an industrial backbone to it all, but cozy clouds of furniture make it comfortable.
To deliver this experience at an affordable price, major decisions were made concerning guest rooms. Ours wasn’t spacious (though far from suffocating) and while there was a window, it was frosted over; blocking a view but letting in outside light. (There are larger rooms available, many with windows, but our experience in the entry-level room was certainly not negative.) The bed was comfy, with USB ports (along with outlets) set under lamps on both sides. There was ample space to take various pieces of furniture from a pegged track along the wall. We opted for a table to work on, returning it to its spot on the wall each afternoon. This modular system proved quite beneficial during our stay. And the bathroom featured a walk-in glass shower and signature products.
Local design firm Wise Labo made sure nothing looks too pared-down in the establishment. It’s comfortable and active, and there are nights available on the website now for just 7,938 Japanese yen (around $73 USD). In one direction, Osaka Castle rises; another direction the Dontonbori shopping district stretches out, crossed by channels. The Moxy, in all of its affordability, somewhat links it together.
In east Tokyo, the Moxy Tokyo Kinshicho officially opened with a welcome party while we were present. “Kinshicho” makes reference to the nearby metro station in the Sumida neighborhood, which is quaint and emerging. Unfortunately, it’s quite a distance from a part of the city where many younger (and young-hearted) travelers want to explore: Shibuya, Harajuku, and Shinjuku. But it’s near other major sites like the Tokyo Skytree and the Imperial Palace. Additionally, Ginza’s under 20 minutes away on the extremely reliable metro system. A committed and adventurous traveler will find no issue with the hotel’s location, rather it results in oftentimes going out in the morning and staying out until bedtime. As with the Osaka property, Tokyo’s Moxy also delivers exceptional price to value ratio.
Nomura designed the 205-room Tokyo property. A vast coffee shop and bar runs along one side of the hotel’s interior. On the other side, a lounge with pockets of seating yields to a room defined by a long shared table and a smaller offshoot with couches. Everything is bright, playing well with the natural light pouring in. There’s a gym and a meeting room, laundry and more. No amenity has been forgotten for modern travelers, and no activity has been forgotten either, as spaces transition from day to night with ease and excitement. Polished concrete flooring references the industrial essence of the Moxy properties in Japan, but also makes for a great dance floor.
The rooms at the Tokyo property feature the same modular system as Osaka, though our room did include a large picture window overlooking the city’s sprawl. Other details (also in Osaka) include a large flat-screen TV with phone and laptop mirroring technology. LED lights beneath the bed lend charm, and act as nightlights. In place of room service, there’s 24-hour food downstairs and, as mentioned, it’s worth getting up for. Right now, the lowest rate on the site stands at 10,260 Japanese yen for a night (around $94 USD).
Images courtesy of Moxy Hotels