Dave Jones’ Cafe Beat

Travel - June 10th, 1988
Osaka Hilton Int’l—answer to a traveler’s dream

OSAKA — Hilton Interna­tional Hotels have not only added a new hotel to Osaka, but also set new standards in comfort and convenience to the hotel scene here.

Of all the conveniences, though, the facsimile service stands out for me. For there was many a time I could have used such a service while traveling abroad. Wherever I stayed, when the need for a facsimile arose, I found the hotel did not have it.

Don’t conclude from that statement that my homes away from home are rundown flea-traps. When I travel on busi­ness, my company pays my travel expenses; and, since my comfort is important to a successful business trip, I stay at the good, better and best. But their lack of a facsimile service led me to the conclusion that hotels, for some reason, do not provide it.

Once when I was staying at the Hyde Park in London, the urgent need lo transmit an important document to my office came up. It was a press­ing matter that only a facsimile could handle, I went to the concierge and asked whether the hotel had one. It did not, but I could send the document via the facsimile at the Central Post Office in the City.

I had to hurry, though, as it was near closing time. I had better hold the cab, too, as taxis are rare in the city after it closes down for the night. It was a foggy night, clammily cold, and I hated to have to go out. I could have used the Osaka Hilton then.

In the U.S. I am directed to the Western Union, though some Western Union branches don’t have the facility.

The Osaka Hilton has 533 guest rooms, each one an answer to a foreigner’s prayer for space. Space is what so many Japanese hotels do not understand. I remember a tele­vision program where a U.S. hotel was shown. Two Japanese were discussing it, and one of them was surprised at the size of the rooms. The other told him that large rooms were common in the U.S. and Europe. He was just accustom­ed to Japanese hotels.

Anyone who has stayed in a Japanese hotel  outside Tokyo knows the discomfort occasion­ed by the broom closets mas­querading as rooms. Osaka has its share, and so does Tokyo, when you move away from the deluxe hotels and into those intended to house the mass pro­duction of tourists. Tokyo’s best hotels, of course, have solved the problem of space.

Now with the Osaka Hilton, this city is well on the way to solving the problem, too. For every one of its rooms is large enough to quell even a Gargan­tuan-sized case of claustropho­bia.

I was shown around the hotel and was especially im­pressed with the rooms on the three Executive floors. In those rooms you get a combi­nation of services that will end the cares of the day and let you get down to business.

When you are booked at one of those rooms, you are met on arrival at the hotel and escorted to the Executive Lounge Desk on the 32nd floor, where you check in. Complimentary con­tinental breakfasts are served in the Lounge from 7 to 10 a.m.; complimentary soft drinks, tea and coffee are served there daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., with cocktails availa­ble from 6 to 7:30 p.m.; complimentary morning and eve­ning newspapers are also provided as well as a 5 p.m. check­out time at no extra charge if circumstances permit.

But there are two services on the Executive floors that should be a boon to all travel­ers: a concierge available from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. to help with airline reservations, theater tickets and restaurant reserva­tions; and a four-hour laundry service. Imagine how much you can save on the clothes you have to bring with you, cutting down on luggage.

As with any hotel under the aegis of Dick Handl, vice president for the Far East for Hilton International, the restaurants are excellent. There are the Genji, a Japanese restaurant; the Dynasty, serving Cantonese food; The In Place with its breakfast buffet and cocktails in the evening; and the Win­dows on the World at the top of the hotel, a restaurant and music lounge where smorgas­bord lunches are presented and, in the evening, cocktails with music.

But the one guaranteed to open a gourmet’s eyes and start his gastric juices running is The Seasons, which empha­sizes dining at its most de­veloped level. The menu offers excellent dishes, conforming to the international cuisine which Handl favors. The decor is elegant, with white favored, as it should be in any restaurant that is proud of its food and wine list. Handl picks his own chefs. I don’t know how he goes about it. but he docs come up with the best.

Like Hans E. Vogt, execu­tive chef at the Osaka Hilton, whose succulent dishes are such adventures in food that they can become addictive. I am running out of space and can­not do justice to The Seasons with what remains, but I plan to make a trip to Osaka in the near future just to eat at The Seasons again, at which time I shall give a report on it alone.