Japan / Osaka

The Park Front Hotel @ Universal Studios Japan: Everything You Need to Know

The hubby and I aren’t really ones for staying at expensive hotels. We’re more of a best bang for your buck kind of couple. That being said, we do have certain criteria in mind when choosing a place to say: cleanliness, price, location and amenities. Stuff that I think is pretty common for most travelers.

Unlike Hong Kong Disneyland, Universal Studios Japan has 28 official, alliance and associate hotels to choose from. Since the main purpose of our trip was Universal Studios Japan, we decided to choose something closer to the park. There are a few hotel located right on Universal Citywalk, so we decided to check them them out and see if anything landed in our price range.

BOOKING

Booking a hotel for our trip to HKD was so easy since booking directly through their website gave us the best deal on our hotel. Unfortunately, this trip wasn’t going to be so easy and booking directly through the hotel website was definitely NOT the cheapest way to go. Our hotel booking process usually involves days of price checking on various discount websites. Eventually, we came across a pretty great deal on Agoda that saved us a ton of money. We booked a Standard City View Room for ¥27,600/ night, which originally runs about ¥62,100/ night during peak season (like Golden Week). The awesome part is that we ended up with an even better room, but more on that later.

THE HOTEL

Let me start off by saying this hotel is gorgeous! It has a really cool time travel theme that is executed in the classiest way possible. Seriously though, the lobby screams luxury with its black marble floors, gold accents, crystal chandeliers and art deco lamps. There’s even a concierge desk (photo zone) where you can put on a top hat and tail coat and pretend to be a time traveler. Judging by the sizes of the tail coats, it’s primarily for children (though I tried really hard to get one one). But, by far the coolest thing in this hotel was its elevators which were made to look like time machines! The hubby and I geek out pretty hard every time we got in one.

OUR ROOM

Since we spent our first day exploring Osaka, we ended up checking into the hotel pretty late. Apparently that was the best thing we could have done because we got upgraded from the Standard Floor to the Superior Floor! These rooms run about ¥89,100/ night during peak season, so we really lucked out. Our room was huge with an amazing view of USJ and Citywalk. Hogwarts was literally the last thing I saw when I went to sleep and the first thing I saw when I woke up. It was all so magical.

As for the actual room, it was beyond spacious and could have easily accommodated a family. We had requested a king-sized bed, but ended up with two queen beds pushed together. We didn’t prefer it, but it’s kind of hard to complain when you get a free upgrade. Anyways, there wasn’t a whole lot going on in terms of interior decorating, but it was clean an smelled fantastic.

The bathroom was pretty cool because the shower/bathtub, toilet and sink were all separated off so that multiple people can use the bathroom comfortably. It also came fully stalked with all sorts of toiletries like a set of toothbrush & toothpaste, hairbrush, razor, shaving foam, cotton swabs, cotton pads, hair elastics, wash towel, toe separator, hair dryer with minus ion functions, facial set (toner, lotion, face wash, makeup remover), bath salts and of course plenty of towels. I usually like to bring my own toiletries, but I’ve got to say that the ones provided here were pretty awesome. It was really nice to use hotel shampoos and conditioners that didn’t dry out my hair. I even took advantage of the bath salts after a long day at the park!

The room also came with wifi, robes, slippers, a safe, mini-fridge, electric kettle, 40 inch TV, mugs,  glasses, instant coffee sticks and some instant soups. The TV has a special movie channel that shows Universal movies (awesome), but everything is dubbed in Japanese (less awesome). Overall, we couldn’t have asked for a better room. We were perfectly comfortable in every way.

BUT…

Since our hotel room was so comfy, we wanted to take advantage and sleep in before we checked out. Unfortunately these dreams were quickly dashed when the cries of MULTIPLE babies began permeating though our walls at around 5:30 am. We had never had such thin walls at an OFFICIAL theme park hotel before. We tried to ignore the noise and power through it, but by 7:00 am, there were children (more than one) running laps through the halls on our floor screaming and crying. It was truly a terrible way to wake up. Typically, this hotel is one of the most expensive official USJ hotels and if we had paid original price, we would have been beyond angry. Since it was our check out day and we had gotten a good deal on the room, we decided to let it slide. Just FYI.

HOTEL AMENITIES & PERKS

  • The Park Front Hotel is the closest official USJ hotel to the actual park. It is literally a one minute walk from the lobby doors to the main gate of Universal Studios Japan. This was way cooler than we thought it was going to because we were able to keep an eye on the entrance lines/ crowds from our room window.
  • The hotel is also a one minute walk to the JR Universal-City subway station. This made checking in and out of our hotel so easy! Unfortunately, there’s no direct subway line between USJ and the airport, but having the station right there definitely saved us time.
  • While I always recommend purchasing park tickets in advance, you can buy Studio Passes as well as Universal Express Passes at the ticket counter inside the hotel exclusively for guests. This came in really handy when we realized I had purchased every ticket except the Studio Pass! Please remember that you need a Studio Pass to get into the park, everything else is an add on (even if the price is almost the same as a Studio Pass).
  • There is a monitor in the lobby that shows the wait times for all the park attractions. This is particularly helpful if you want to get a jumpstart on planning your day at USJ.
  • I’m not sure if this is an “official” perk, but hotel guests may leave and reenter the park. Typically USJ visitors are not allowed to reenter the park once they leave, so this was a great perk for us since we bought a lot of stuff. We were able to drop off our stuff in out room and get back to the park in about 5 minutes. It was awesome!
  • Finally, one of the coolest perks was its location right on Universal Citywalk. Although not anywhere as large as the one in California, there’s still a good amount of stuff to check out. There’s plenty of restaurants and cafes, along with a few gift shops, convenient stores and even an arcade. Definitely check out Takopa (formerly known as the Takoyaki Museum). We had eaten there the last time we were in Osaka and absolutely fell in love, so it was kind of a no brainer. They had changed it up bit since the last time we were there, but the takoyaki was just as amazing as we remembered. If you haven’t tried “cheese black takoyaki,” then you haven’t truly been living. It will change your life! Ok… maybe not life changing, but pretty darn close.

RESTAURANTS

The hotel has one restaurant, Akala, which is a buffet style restaurant that serves Japanese and western cuisine. We were going to try it out, but with all the options on Citywalk and inside USJ we decided against it. Also, we got out of our room too late for breakfast. If you’re interested though, here are the prices: breakfast (¥2,900) lunch (¥1,800) and dinner (¥4,350).

VERDICT

We were totally happy with our stay at The Park Front Hotel, despite the screaming crying children, for the price we paid. Honestly, many of the perks of our stay at this hotel came from its location on Citywalk, so I would advise price shopping (like we did) since there are a few USJ hotels on Citywalk to choose from. Also, always be sure to check reviews thoroughly. We had one slightly cheaper option when we decided to book this hotel, but it had really unforgiving reviews. All-in-all, I definitely recommend this hotel if it happens to fall in your price range. I certainly wouldn’t mind going back again =)

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