By Milena Dokim
While the Kansai region hosts many of Japan's larger cities, Kobe is one that may not always appear in peoples travel plans. With its close proximity to Osaka, Himeji and Kyoto, Kobe is a bustling city with a style unlike the rest. Located near the bay area of the city is Harbour land; a central hub for all things shopping and dinning related and the location of one the city’s most luxurious hotels.
Hotel Crown Palais Kobe is a monolithic structure that rises high at the foot of Mount Rokko. Opened in 2012, the hotel is newer than the surrounding Harbourland and Umie shopping development though both share the same contemporary and luxurious design as well as predominantly European aesthetics.
Upon entering the lobby I was sure I had step foot into London’s Ritz. Grand pillars of a rich coloured marble surrounded me and within seconds the staff had taken my luggage and made my check-in the pleasant and simple procedure it should be. With 17 floors and over 200 rooms the elevator ride to the fifteenth floor couldn’t have taken longer. It’s no so often the though of what your hotel room may look like is such an exciting experience. With so many rooms available it’s no surprise there are many different sizes and styles that cater to every type of guest. From the more common but comfortable business style room to the magnificent Crown Suite, you’ll experience the luxury regardless of your choice.
Though the lavished rooms are an incentive to stay at the hotel the facilities are even more impressive. In fact I was in awe at what the Crown Palais offers. Though a spa and massage service is common in Japanese hotels, the quality was of a really high calibre. The women’s bathing facilities boasts a gargantuan 21-metre tub while the men’s area hosts many saunas for your relaxing pleasure. Entrance is not included in your stay but this luxury and convenience is worth paying for.
Of course dining facilities are also common at many hotels but Crown Palais holds four separate restaurants in its premises. With cuisine of several countries available the variety is incredible. Making a decision on where to eat with so many options maybe difficult so making your way to the basement floor you will have the choice between both a Japanese and Chinese restaurant. Located on the first floor and enjoined to the reception is an all day café. This restaurant offers a broader selection of international cuisine and both floors provide a humble dining experience. Though of course these three restaurants are exceptional, the real pièce de résistance is located on the 17th floor. Offering panoramic views over the city and surrounding mountains the Grill Table provides the ultimate dining experience. Complete with bar, watching the sunset over the city while enjoying a meal or drinks is the ideal way to wind down after a long day. Closing at 11 you may even stay a little longer to watch the city come to life after dark. In the mornings an International buffet is served with a good variety or European and Japanese dishes for 1800 yen, however if you have a combined accommodation and breakfast package you may be able to enjoy this at a lower price. If you prefer to go for a stroll to have coffee outside, the Umie or Mozaic Towns are good.
Continuing the impressive selection of facilities, the hotel also hosts three banquet halls with the largest being a gigantic 656 square metres. These are available for functions of all kinds though the most common use is for wedding receptions. You can even marry in the building as the fifth floor hosts a western style chapel and a room that represents the more traditional settings of a Japanese union. Of course marriage is probably not the reason you’ll be staying at the hotel though for some this maybe perfect for making wedding arrangements.
Kobe is just as interesting a city as its neighbours and with everything that Hotel Crown Palais has to offer, why not enjoy your stay in the lap of luxury.
If you are coming by taxi, please let the driver know that you are going to Crown Palais, and not the Crown Plaza Hotel nearby. Most guests are likely to take advantage the trains at nearby Kobe station, less than 5 minutes walk away.
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