By Chris Glenn
Though we originally planned to stay closer to Nagoya Station, due to an early morning rendez-vous for our boar-hunting expedition into Gifu, our targeted hotels were full. We thus “settled” for accommodation two subway stops away in the lively Sakae area. It was a fortuitous compromise for two reasons:
First, we lucked into a stay at 'the b nagoya' (lower-case intentional as per the hotel's stylistic ambitions). Second, Sakae seemed much more interesting for a walk-about on a Friday evening than the Nagoya Station vicinity. And we were still able to make the journey from bedroom to meeting point in less than 20 minutes-including check-out, 2-block walk to the subway, and getting slightly turned around mixing up east with west inside Nagoya Station.
As for the b hotel, our room was nice and quiet, despite overlooking busy Hisaya Odori-a major thoroughfare with a nice big green-space meridian. This is a huge plus for business hotels in Japanese cities, where sleep-shattering noises come from an endless variety of sources. The beds were comfortable, the bathroom spacious, and we never even thought about looking for the temperature controls (i.e. no problem). Just like the best waiters are the ones you don't notice, the best hotels are ones that don't annoy.
Our room was equipped with a hair-dryer, robes & slippers, TV, tea-making supplies, mini-fridge (stocked with water), and closet with hangers. Vending machines in the corridor sold drinks and canned nuts. My one minor complaint would be that the water temperature in the shower was a little fickle, though still much better than what I have at home in Tokyo.
We didn’t need internet in our room on this trip, but wi-fi was available and they advertise laptop rentals at 1,000 yen per night (equipped with MS Office and CDR/DVD Rom). Guests can also use the two computers in the downstairs lobby for free, though the connection seemed to be a little slow when we logged on.
The front desk staff were a little hesitant to use English, but they did try. The woman who helped us find a nice tebasaki (Nagoya’s famous chicken wings) restaurant was exceptionally friendly and earnest, giving us maps and directions and a very large smile.
Breakfast the next morning at the b was in the form of an ample buffet with both western and Japanese staples available. My coffee-aficionado companion gave a thumbs-up to the brew on hand. It's worth the price if you seek the convenience of filling your belly before setting out on your own boar-hunting expedition.
Next time I am in Nagoya, I would be happy to stay at the b again.
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