Marriott has a newish hotel brand called Moxy. It’s essentially a budget chain aimed at millennials, boasts fantastic internet connections, a bar with craft cocktails, and so many random decorations all over the place you’d think an Instagram feed exploded in the lobby. I’ve been lucky enough to visit the only two Japanese locations, in Honmachi in Osaka and in Kinshicho, Tokyo.
I spent a good week here, seeing Osaka and Kyoto during my visit.
The location is decent: It’s in a business district but it’s very centrally located in Osaka. You can walk to a variety of great restaurants and craft beer bars, and the large Osaka station is only a 5-minute train ride from the local station.
The lobby is incredible: The second floor is open and it makes the space feel massive. You can see all sorts of kooky decorations and areas that were meant to be photographed and shared on Instagram or Snapchat with your friends. It has this quirky personality going for it and that carries into the rooms. You see framed photos of local destinations in black and white, hooks galore that hang an extra chair and table, bright pink soap dispensers and blow drier, subway tiling in the bathroom, and a rollicking video of hotel staff showing off the hotel on the TV.
The beds are cozy enough, but like most hotels in Japan, the comforter is super heavy, so if it’s a hotter time of year, it can be a bit frustrating to deal with. A double-edged sword addition is the motion-sensitive light at the foot of the bed. If you get up in the middle of the night, a light under the foot of the bed lights up and help guides your way. It’s a cool idea, but sometimes, I found myself blinded as my wife got up in the middle of the night to use the restroom. Even the dimmest of lights can seem overwhelming when it’s pitch-black.
The bar had a nice mix of drinks for you: sochu, beer, wine, and cocktails. If you’re a Silver member in the Marriott Rewards system, you get a free drink for each guest, which is super nice. They also have a super good deal for happy hour: Two for one drinks, which I have not heard of at any bar here in Japan. We each tried a few, and for the most part, they pack a nice punch. Be wary of the Silent Killer. If lime, Pepsi, and Kahlua sounds like an unpleasant combination, that’s because it is. I had to sit through two of them as well, much to my displeasure. All the other drinks are great, though! Sit on the 1.5 floor counter and watch the intrigued citizens of Osaka walk by and peek at the menu posted outside. Even if you don’t stay here, I recommend heading over for the happy hour!
The internet here was just as amazing as they said it would be. I never had a connection problem and it seemed like I got full strength no matter where I was. We didn’t try any of the hotel’s food while there as we opted for super cheap eats most of our meals there. They do have a ramen bar where you can get your noodles and pick your toppings. The lunch specials are also a great bargain: from 600-900 yen for a set. Their signature flatbreads looked delicious as well!
Overall, I really enjoyed staying here. It was quiet, comfortable, and a good price (if you book in advance).
So, I only got to stay here one night, full disclosure. It wasn’t a full week of exploration and investigation like I was able to do at the Osaka branch. This will change my experience and my perceptions of the hotel. I’m only human.
A few things you should know immediately.
Kinshicho, the neighborhood hosting Moxy Tokyo, has a bad reputation among the Japanese. Why? Foreigners. The area has a very noticeable amount of European hostess clubs, as well as businesses with aggressive barkers who are very not Japanese in appearance or demeanor. There seems to be a lot of sex-based businesses going on here, which doesn’t project the most positive of images in most cultures. The Moxy is right across the street from two such clubs and just up the street from a very flamboyant love hotel (Hotel Sara, for the curious). If this bothers you, you might want to stay elsewhere.
That being said, Kinshicho is a really fantastic location in Tokyo. You’re minutes away from Akihabara, Asakusa, and Tokyo Skytree. In addition, because of the strong foreign influence, you get a lot of good international food. The last remaining Romanian restaurant in the country is here, along with Indian and Russian cuisine. I can’t emphasize enough about the Romanian restaurant; the owner seems pessimistic about the future, but his food is amazing! Try and get it if you can while he’s open.
As for the hotel itself, it’s much smaller. So much smaller. The lobby is small, but they do a good job with the space to make it feel more open. The rooms themselves are also smaller but I chalk that up to the insane price per square meter Tokyo wrings out of its land. Can’t blame them too much for wanting to be economical. The window in our room was better here, but everything else was pretty much the same. I had a lot of problems connecting to the internet at this location as well. So much for that blazing-fast internet.
The bar was unchanged. Still didn’t try any of the food, sadly.
They also employed more foreign staff at this location, which was nice to see. The English ability was much better, overall, if that’s something you need. The decor was a bit whackier at this location. I got a chuckle from the lobby bathroom signs, but the stuffed animal wall and a few other details didn’t do it for me. I did really like the old CRTVs with the classic Famicoms set up on them. Does that make this lobby bar technically a video game bar? They did have a reasonable selection of classic games to play.
The hotel did have a nice feel, but I think I had such a nice and relaxing time at the Osaka branch that the experiences don’t line up. The Tokyo branch is fine, but I feel the objectively nicer of the two is in Osaka. It’s bigger, the rooms are more spacious, the lobby is better decorated, and the location feels a bit nicer.
And there you have it! Feel like visiting a Moxy? Have you been to one before? Let me know which one and what you thought of it in the comments below. I’d love to hear your impressions of the new chain.