Business travellers have come to expect a few basic hotel amenities from every stay, whether they've booked a luxurious suite or a simple room with a view.
On that list is fast and reliable Internet access, a comfortable space to work while away from the office and a great hotel location to take in the city with minimal fuss – all seemingly offered by ANA Crowne Plaza hotels.
Join Australian Business Traveller as we take to the roads and rails of Japan to put the chain's business-orientated Club Rooms to the test.
ANA Crowne Plaza Osaka hotel
Located within easy walking distance of Festival Hall and Osaka City Hall, the ANA Crowne Plaza Osaka hotel comes with all of the business traveller basics such as bedside power points, English-language TV channels and a separate bath and shower.
You’ll also find a working space aside the TV with more power points at desk level and a lamp, which also doubles as a sit-down zone for female business travellers to apply make-up using the mirror in front.
However, we’d arrived close to midnight and were surprised to find just four items on the 24-hour room service menu: simple sandwiches, Japanese Udon with fried tofu, a personal margarita pizza and rice served in hot tea.
Unless you’re a fan of rice or tofu, there’s nothing uniquely ‘Japanese’ to welcome you to the country, nor are other simple items on the regular dessert menu available including cheese plates, cakes and ice cream, which wouldn’t be difficult for the night team to prepare.
There’s a better choice of nibbles in the hotel’s Club Lounge for breakfast in the morning – available free for guests staying on the Club floors.
Club guests also enjoy complimentary afternoon tea, mixed drinks and canapés in the evenings and can hire a meeting room for two hours each day at no charge:
The space proved popular during our stay, with free wireless Internet available throughout the hotel for business travellers looking to work from their rooms or to take a break in the lounge ahead of their next business meeting.
ANA Crowne Plaza Kobe hotel
Found directly opposite the Shin-Kobe Shinkansen station for easy access to and from Japan’s bullet train network, the ANA Crowne Plaza Kobe hotel is well-situated for business and leisure travellers alike.
The bed unfortunately lacked easy access to AC power, although a USB outlet next to the telephone does the trick for most smartphones and tablets, while moving the bedside table forward uncovers a spare, regular power point.
There's another over at the desk – this time available without having to shift any furniture – with cabled and wireless Internet again free-of-charge, and a 24-hour room service menu that's a little more comprehensive than found in Osaka.
The Club Lounge is divided into two sections, with a sitting room for catching up on the events of the day...
... and a dining area in which to enjoy free breakfast; all-day coffee, tea and soft drinks; plus evening cocktails and hors d'oeuvres.
There's quite a view to enjoy from both the lounge and the high-floor rooms...
... as well as the 10-seat boardroom, again available for two hours per day to guests on the Club floors.
No visit to Kobe is complete without sampling 'Kobe beef' – a local delicacy whereby cows drink beer, are massaged in rice wine and even listen to classical music.
The result? An incredibly tasty and well-marbled piece of meat served up in the hotel's Kitano restaurant, which we'd recommend enjoying medium rare.
IHG Rewards Club members also get two free drink coupons to use during their stay, a generous perk even for those newly-enrolled in the program.
ANA Crowne Plaza Hiroshima hotel
Rounding out our trip is the ANA Crowne Plaza Hiroshima hotel – just ten minutes by taxi from the city's Shinkansen station and a mere five-minute walk from the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, which is worth a visit if you have an hour or two to spare.
There's again adequate working space with those all-important power points, an adjustable-height chair for maximum comfort, an alarm clock with a dock for the latest generation of iPhones and a lighted make-up mirror for the ladies.
The Club Lounge proved a great and quiet place to work...
... and of the three ANA Crowne Plaza hotels we visited, the free meeting facilities in Hiroshima were the most impressive. Club floor guests can reserve a spacious room with a sitting area, a boardroom table and full presentation facilities.
The standard Club services such as free in-room Internet plus breakfast, snacks and beverages in the lounge are also provided, with guests on the Club floors enjoying free access to the on-site gym and swimming pool.
Also on offer exclusively in Japan's ANA Crowne Plaza hotels is the 'Sleep Advantage' service, with specially-selected morning and evening green teas and eye-warming masks found in every room.
After getting minimal sleep before 18 hours of flying to reach Japan, the mask did wonders in making my eyes feel considerably less tired and sore on my arrival, yet without providing a big enough energy boost to disrupt my sleep.
There are a selection of room scents are available on request, yet weren't needed as I've admittedly never been one to struggle when there's a chance to unwind and doze off.
All up, the ANA Crowne Plaza hotels in Osaka, Kobe and Hiroshima allowed me to be extremely productive when in 'working mode' and to relax when on my own time, which is ultimately what I look for when travelling on business.
Heading off to Japan? Also read:
- Travel tip: the JR rail pass for business travellers
- Travelling to Tokyo? Grab a Suica or Pasmo travel card!
- Qantas launches Brisbane-Tokyo flights
- Tokyo's Haneda and Narita airports: a business traveller's guide
- Review: Japan Airlines Sky Suite business class, Sydney-Tokyo
Chris Chamberlin travelled to Japan as a guest of IHG ANA Hotels Group.
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