Hotel Travel Hacking, Heyyyy!
We are still new to hotel travel hacking so this is pretty exciting for us! The Intercontinental Hotels Group was the first rewards program I joined. We’ve experienced a few free nights with the Holiday Inn and felt spoiled then. Being a member, you’re greeted as an important guest and given a room upgrade with complimentary drinks, sweets, and fruit. But this is nothing compared to what we just experienced using our Starwood points. The Starwood Group is definitely a step up in luxury with hotels such as The Westin, The W, The Sheraton, and Aloft.
Japan is expensive so we decided to cash in some Starwood points for a 3-night stay at The Westin Hotel in Osaka. We felt a bit self-conscious walking into a nice lobby with our huge back packs, but they didn’t even flinch at us. A man approached us and asked if he were checking in to the Executive Club. We gave him our name and told him we weren’t sure. He immediately found our name on a list, loaded our bags on a cart, and took us to the elevators. How he knew we were Starwood members, I’ll never know. We sure didn’t look like it!
A woman joined us and we were escorted to the 26th floor. Apparently, our Starwood membership gets us Executive Club Level access. We were served tea while they checked our passports and went over the amenities for our stay. It took everything in me to act like all this was normal and not jump for joy when she started listing off everything that was included in our stay.
The porter took us to our room, unloaded our luggage, showed us how to work the motorized curtains, the Nespresso machine, and the various light switches. She left our room and we immediately opened our curtains to an amazing view of western Osaka and the river. Besides the view, we had complimentary bathrobes, slippers, pajamas, toiletries, and several different kinds of tea, espresso, and coffee. The bathroom had an awesome shower, bathtub, and a Toto Washlet (toilet). Quick sidebar - We are new to Toto toilets but I’m already going to miss them when we leave. They are everywhere in Japan! The super fancy ones (the one in our hotel), have heated seats, play music when you’re using it, have a built-in bidet with various positions and water temperatures, built in deodorizer and are self cleaning. Amazing.
The club lounge has free happy hour every day from 6-7:30 pm. We were always greeted with a glass of champagne and could have any other type of alcohol we wanted during that hour and a half. They also had an hors d’oeuvres spread of fresh salmon, various meats, cheeses, and breads, dried fruit, nuts, and a cold soup. Needless to say, this was dinner for us every day! In addition to the evening happy hour, we had free vouchers for the breakfast buffet in the lobby atrium, and tea time in the afternoon that included sweets and various desserts.
We also had access to the fitness room, pool, and spa. The pool was a full 25 yards, so Blake could swim laps. The locker rooms consisted of showers, any kind of toiletry you might need, a sauna, a hot tub, and various refreshments when you were finished.
We felt like royalty and it was hard to leave the room to sightsee every day! We took advantage of a late check-out on our last day and can’t wait until our next rewards hotel at The W in Santiago, Chile!