Review: The Lovely Juxtapositions of Zentis Osaka

A real home away from home.

Is it modern or just mundane? Is it understated or simply uninspired? These feel-good buzzwords, oftentimes used to mask the void of personality, have been abused enough times that there is an entire ecosystem that thrives on derivative and unimaginative spaces. Fortunately, that’s not the case for Zentis Osaka.

Here, that oppressive sameness is eschewed by subtle shades of Japanese heritage. Smack dab in the middle of the business domain Dojimahama and the high-end entertainment district Kita-shinchi, the hotel walks the tightrope between identity and functionality with admirable aplomb.

This is immediately apparent once you take a glance at its unassuming facade. Boasting a grid design that disguises it among the surrounding high-rises, the 16-storey property is hemmed in by lush gardens of indigenous flora such as the Japanese maple and cherry blossom trees.

The Lobby

Taking a cue from the city’s industrious charm, the Tara Bernerd-designed sanctuary puts a selection of rugged materials on display such as the exposed bricks, timber beams, and structural ironmongery—all anchored by the sculptural, blue-limestone staircase centrepiece.

A closer look at the intimate foyer will allow the guests to distinguish and appreciate other ingenious design elements. The built-in bookshelves featuring locally made pottery and other decorative items are among the highlights here, as they frame the elevator doors and hover over the reception desk.

Counterbalancing the fixtures so as not to overwhelm the senses, the floor-to-ceiling Crittal windows in the lounge area offer a timely respite with a view of landscaped green space outside. They further reiterate the hotel’s vision to provide its guests with a contemporary yet laid-back feel.

The Rooms

Zentis Osaka’s East-meet-West design ethos is extended to the 212 guestrooms in this urban oasis. Here, the modular design and intuitive functionality inspired by the traditional bento boxes, mirroring the Japanese sensibilities for space utilisation, guarantee instant peace of mind.

The muted colour palette echoes the same sentiment. From the polished wooden floors and gold-accented railings to the grey tiles on the bathroom walls that bring the fluted Japanese izumo tiles to mind, the rooms offer the guests a warm embrace after a day of exploring the city.

Adding a touch of Japanese excellence to the rooms, the hotel has brought in a number of locally sourced trappings including the dramatic charcoal artworks that hang above the stretched beds and the Shigaraki-yaki tables that are crafted in the kilns of the Shiga prefecture.

The Restaurant

While it is true that Osaka is endowed with a great selection of restaurants, one should not count out the hotel’s atmospheric lounge, bar, and restaurant Upstairz. Conceived by a team with a Michelin-star track record, the menu here features delectable Japanese fare with French influences.

Start the day on a high note with the hearty Upstairz Breakfast option, which comprises seasonal soup, an assortment of the chef’s seven selections, a Japanese omelette with beef stock, and a croissant. Coffee connoisseurs also wouldn’t want to miss out on the cup of joe that’s made with locally sourced premium beans.

But more than a place to satiate your hunger, Upstairz is a space that inspires world nomads to make genuine and lasting connections—be it exchanging fun anecdotes from their travels at the airy lounge or sharing itinerary at the outdoor terrace, under the seven-metre-tall ceilings.

Zentis Osaka has everything that young jetsetters are looking for. It is designed to appeal to the masses but thoughtful enough to incorporate details that pay homage to its locale. It also offers unique facilities that its contemporaries are lacking, like the charming launderette and the 24-hour fitness centre.

More importantly, its strategic location—the railways are within walking distance of the hotel and so are some of the city’s premium attractions like the Osaka Science Museum and the National Museum of Art—makes it a prime spot for travellers who wish to explore the city at their own pace.

Make your reservation here.

Address: 1 Chome−4−26 Zentis Osaka, Dojimahama, Kita Ward, Osaka, Japan.