Following a complete overhaul of a deteriorating multi-tenanted building two miles west of Osaka Castle, Rock Star Hotel opened in December 2013. Its stark white entrance belies vibrant interiors that showcase rock ‘n’ roll art, expanding on the owner’s belief that art is hope. Each room has a killer Geneva sound system, comes in generally dark and moody tones, and is themed after an iconic global rock artist or group. These include the Jam, Prince, Guns ’N Roses, the Beatles, David Bowie, Jimi Hendrix, and Kiss. Small details, like room keys shaped like guitar picks, further reinforce the overarching theme.
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This relatively quiet area is dominated by businesses, but it also has its share of apartment blocks, cafés, bars, and restaurants. Don’t expect classic sights in the immediate environs, though Hommachi Station is a five-minute walk from the property and popular destinations like Umeda, Namba, and Osaka Castle are a few stations away. That said, the surroundings do have a number of good restaurants. Deco is a café that serves American dishes together with a few Asian plates. Avery’s specializes in steaks and Continental cuisine, while the Calendar is classic Italian. There is a small park diagonally across from the hotel, but 10 minutes away is the much more impressive Utsubo Park, built on the grounds of a former U.S. Army air field, hence the park’s rectangular shape. The famous shopping street Shinsaibashi can be reached by foot in 15 minutes.
Need to Know
Rooms: 14 rooms, three suites. From $100. Check-in: 3 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options: Pantry is the sole restaurant; among its specialties is kuroge wagyu, or beef from Japanese black-haired cattle. The weekend-only rooftop bar re-creates the Dakota apartment where John Lennon lived in New York, and cocktails are inspired by rock stars. Spa and gym details: None.
Who it's for: Fashionistas; artsy travelers; and, naturally, the wannabe rock-star set. Our favorite rooms: Room 501 is a bright junior suite with a claw-foot tub in a bathroom separated from the bedroom by a plate of glass. A marvelous, spirited painting of the Britpop band Oasis hangs above the bed. Good to know: The items that the hotel offers for loan include contact-lens solution, a sewing kit, and nail clippers. No need to bring your own.