If you’re planning a trip to Japan, make sure you fit a few nights in Osaka into your itinerary. It sometimes gets overlooked in favour of the classic Tokyo – Kyoto run but it’s a city that’s more than a match for either of those places, especially when it comes to eating and drinking. We’ve been to Osaka a few times now and always wish we’d stayed longer as it’s got a fun, lively atmosphere and there’s so much going on. Something thing it didn’t have last time we visited were many decent mid-range hotels, but with the arrival of the brand new Zentis Osaka, there’s finally a nice boutique, design-driven hotel in the city. 

We booked into Zentis Osaka for three nights, having got the train down from Mishima where we’d been exploring and hiking the countryside around Mt. Fuji. The hotel is Osaka’s only member of Design Hotels and as you’d expect, Zentis certainly looks the part. The lead designer on the project was actually a British designer, Tara Bernerd, and although it’s a brand new building there’s plenty of character to the place. The design features raw materials, a natural colour palette, exposed brick, and timber beams, polished wooden floors, a dramatic stone staircase, and splashes of mustard yellow. It’s bright and bold without being over the top or in your face, so it feels like somewhere you’re happy to come back to and relax in. 

Across the 16 floors, there are 212 rooms with three different sizes on offer. We were in the smallest size but it’s more than enough when you’re out and about most of the day. There’s a lot packed into the small space too, with table and chairs, plenty of storage, a big bed, shower room, a tea counter, and a huge tv hooked up with Apple TV, as well as the hotel’s own tech for viewing local information and even your current bill. It’s an intelligent design that’s functional and makes the most of the available space without sacrificing the overall smart look and feel. The big floor-to-ceiling windows in each room provide great views of the city below too. 

The public spaces are very nice to hang out in as well and on the ground floor there are lots of comfy sofas and a big range of art, design, and photography books to browse through. Up the staircase to the second floor, there’s a restaurant and bar, as well as a lovely shaded outdoor seating area. The restaurant, called Upstairz, is overseen by Michelin-starred chef Shinya Otsuchihashi and blends his experience working in France with local Japanese ingredients to create a new take on French cuisine. The restaurant is also where breakfast is served each day, where there’s a choice of Japanese or Western-style menus, as well as fresh juices and coffee from local roasters. 

Zentis has a brilliant location, right in the heart of Dojima and close to so many great restaurants and bars. Zentis pretty much ticks all the boxes for a city hotel for us, so if you’re coming to Osaka and looking for somewhere to say, it’s the ideal choice. Keep an eye out for our city guide to Osaka coming soon too.

Photos by Stirling Elmendorf