Magic in Japan: Hotel Review – Sheraton Hiroshima

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Trip Index:

Introduction
Getting There – JAL First Class
Hotel Review: Ritz-Carlton Tokyo
Guide to Tsukiji Fish Market
Room Service Review: Ritz-Carlton Tokyo
Day in Tokyo
Taking the Shinkansen “Bullet” Train
Hotel Review: Ritz-Carlton Kyoto
Tea at the Ritz-Carlton Kyoto
Day 1 in Kyoto
Day 2 in Kyoto
Room Service Review: Ritz-Carlton Kyoto
Getting to Hiroshima
Hotel Review: Sheraton Hiroshima
Day trip to Miyajima
Day in Hiroshima
St. Regis Osaka
Day in Osaka

The Sheraton Hiroshima is in an ideal location right next to the JR Hiroshima station, which offers quick and easy access to trains, buses and cabs. Directly in front of the hotel on my way in I passed a nice green area where a handful of businessmen were enjoying a lunch break, and there were plenty of little shops nearby as well.

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I had found a rate of 10,820 JPY (about 80 USD) for a single night at the property which was a great deal considering rates can be about 150 USD higher than that in the summer months. A month prior to arrival I’d requested to use a Suite Night Award since I hadn’t been to the property before and thought this was a good use of an award. I also hadn’t seen any reviews on the suite and wanted to check it out. Unfortunately, I hadn’t gotten a suite confirmation by email at the 5 day mark prior to arrival and at the 24 hour mark it still hadn’t cleared.

There are only five suites at the property, but I checked the hotel the afternoon of arrival and there were several suites still available for sale. Lucky! I was looking forward to trying one out since the chance of getting an upgrade as a Platinum looked good.

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During check-in, I was immediately assigned a Club level King room with no mention of the suite. Surprised, I asked if they had received my request for a suite upgrade. They had, but the front desk hostess replied that they don’t upgrade Platinums to suites. I replied that I understood that they may not upgrade guests typically but since that room type was uploaded in the system allowing it to be requested as a standard suite using a Suite Night Award I had done so and was hoping to have that room type.

She tried to explain why I was not eligible but had a difficult time with the language barrier so the duty manager came out to assist and explained that the property as a whole did not upgrade to suites. She explained in pretty blunt terms that the only way I’d be in a suite was if it was paid. Rates for the suites typically hover around 500 USD, so I didn’t see that happening any time soon. My husband asked why if they were excluded from the Starwood system of upgrades using an award, then how had I been able to request the award?

She didn’t have an answer but kept repeating that we were in a Club level King room and that the Suites were unavailable. I asked if they were all occupied and she said no, but wasn’t able to provide a satisfactory answer as to why I couldn’t stay in one unless paying for that specific room type. At that point there really wasn’t anything more to be done so I just accepted the Club room and they made a key. The discussion had taken a while and the luggage cart was still right by the check-in desk, so once it was over we simply took our luggage and went up to the room rather than waiting to have the bellman bring it up.

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Upon arriving in the room I found a note that there would be a pipe inspection during my stay. I wasn’t exactly sure what that meant but figured it had to do with the water, and I was not affected during my stay.

Once I got to the room, looking at the layout on the back of the door I noticed it sadly wasn’t even a corner Club room even though the hotel wasn’t full. However, there were only 29 Club rooms out of 238 guest rooms so I was very glad at least that I had been given one of those!

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The bedroom was connected to the bathroom in such a way that when taking a shower it appeared that it might be an awkward set up if traveling with an acquaintance or friend. Unlike the Park Hyatt Dubai, there were no little shutters to close off the bathroom from the bedroom completely so if someone was standing at the sink they were sort of in the bedroom too.

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Taking a further look I found that there was a privacy screen that closed off half of the tub so if staying in the room with someone other than a spouse you could always hide behind the panel. The sink was in the middle of the room though, so moving about quietly during an early morning would be difficult.

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The mirror was backlit, and there was also a magnifying mirror that folded out.

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The tub looked nice enough, though I noted that there were no little bath salts or even little towels along the edge, probably because the shower was right there.

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I was glad that it wasn’t the combined tub/shower setup that some hotels have. The shower took me a minute to figure out though, as it seemed there wasn’t actually a designated space for showering. It was next to the tub so when taking a shower the water would splash in to the tub like at the Park Hyatt Paris Vendome, but here the tub here was raised instead of lowered so it felt like I was just standing outside of the tub and the shower had been added as an afterthought.

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Sheraton’s Shine amenities were laid out carefully on the vanity.

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I do love Japanese toilets, and this was one of those fun ones with multiple options. Don’t speak Japanese? No need, as they have colorful pictures to illustrate.

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In the bedroom the TV had outlets just below on the wood panel, which made the counter area perfect for charging devices. The area right around the corner from the TV was perfect for storing my luggage and it wasn’t long before I had my stuff set up and charging.

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Sheraton Hiroshima

Two bottles of complimentary water had been laid out on the desk.

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The decor by the bed was appealing, and had lighting panels on each side which controls for nighttime, reading lights and floor level lighting. The temperature was just right, and needed no adjusting with the thermostat.

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A large wardrobe had plenty of space for hanging up clothes.

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The view from the large windows was really cool.

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Because the hotel was right next to the JR Hiroshima station I could see all of the train tracks and watch the trains come and go.

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I went up to the Club Lounge after freshening up and was pleasantly surprised. The design and colors made the space feel welcoming, and there was plenty of seating with good views.

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A nice assortment of sweet treats and drinks were laid out, and a lounge attendant said to let her know if there was anything she could get for me.

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Back in the bedroom everything was quiet. I didn’t hear any noise from nearby rooms, which was good. The bed was decent as was sleep, and the next morning I went back over to the Club Lounge just in time to watch a gorgeous sunrise.

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The lounge was relatively quiet, and there were just a handful of people reading newspapers and quietly enjoying breakfast.

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The breakfast buffet was really good, and had all the usual items. Even though it wasn’t busy, the lounge attendant frequently stopped by tables to make sure any unwanted items were removed, and replenished food before the bowls got low. Great service.

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Everything was fresh from that morning, and the attendant let us know to be careful with the bread pudding dish as it was still warm.

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Shortly after I snapped this pic, a lounge attendant swooped in and replaced the almost empty fig jam jar on the left.

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Everything was kept tidy in the lounge, which meant there was again plenty of choice when it came to seats.

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In addition to the usual breakfast offerings there was also a full salad spread.

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It was neat finding specialty items like Korean pancakes and steamed vegetables, and the lounge attendant let me know that if I wanted anything special to just let her know. I was really quite impressed with her efficiency as she buzzed about the lounge quietly and efficiently, offering newspapers, straightening pillows and bringing people extra items.

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Moving down the line of drinks I saw a row of sake bottles which just had writing in Japanese so I wasn’t sure but it looked like they could be sampled for a price, perhaps during the evening hours.

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There were even loaner glasses for guests in different strengths, which could come in handy when reading the newspapers with impossibly fine print. How thoughtful!

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This hotel had an exceptionally convenient location and beautiful views. The Club lounge food and staff were definitely above average. I liked the room ok though I didn’t like the fact that the management of the property had decided to make their own rules about upgrades. If I had known in advance I probably would have stayed at a different hotel since the experience left a bad taste in my mouth. However, if I had come to the hotel without any expectations I would have found the property to be fine albeit with little less than desirable connected bathroom/bedroom setup.

The Sheraton Hiroshima is a Category 5 SPG property, which requires 12,000 to 16,000 Starpoints for a free night.

Next up: Day trip to Miyajima

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Good To Go

+ The Club Lounge attendants are friendly and the spread is really good
+ Location is ideal, right next to JR Hiroshima station

Good To Know

- Hotel doesn't upgrade to suites, regardless of instrument or status
- Bathrooms aren't completely separate from bedroom so if traveling with acquaintance privacy may be a slight issue

How many Magic Stars did this hotel stay earn?

 3.5/5 Magic Stars
  1. SAN Greg
    Reply

    Nice write ups! I hate it when properties don’t follow through on program benefits. I find it quite common in Asia and Europe across many brands regarding upgrades. It’s awkward when one has to inquire about it and appear to have an entitlement. I’ve pretty much given up on expecting upgrades in both regions of the world.
    On the other hand, at the Courtyard Tokyo Station they advised us that as Gold members we could have complimentary snacks at the restaurant in the evening. There was a substantial amount of items to choose from and we had amazing quality chicken wings, smoked salmon, Caesar salads and French fries. We were handed beverage menus and I had a Perrier and my wife 2 glasses of wine ($25 total). Because the beverages were from a regular menu with prices we naturally were expecting to pay for them (figure this is how they obtain some revenue to help compensate for the complimentary appetizers).
    When we asked for a check the server explained that as MR Gold everything is free including the beverages. My wife felt so guilty that she wanted to give the server a tip but she refused (she thought maybe things have changed in Japan, but I told her not to worry as a 10% service charge is added to the room rate and server staff are paid a fair wage here). Now if we could only get the TV to face the bed in the room and if we don’t fall and kill ourselves on the 10″ step getting out of the bathroom she would be even happier!

    • Melinda
      Reply

      SAN Greg the Courtyard Tokyo Station sounds like a really good deal and glad you and the Mrs. got to enjoy some wine too! I love how they don’t accept tips in Japan too (most countries, actually).

      • PNG
        Reply

        Because they’re taking pride in their work. But I think only Japanese, since I tipped twice while I stay @ M hotel in Tokyo, first was a bellman (Indian), he took it, second was a room service (Japanese), she didn’t. And also Japanese taxi driver, he refunded what is over charged on the meter, he said “my apologies for taking a wrong street” (he spoke a little English), and I appreciated what he did so I tipped him but he refused.

  2. SAN Greg
    Reply

    PS – you could always try to tweet SPG with issues like this for some extra leverage.

    • Melinda
      Reply

      We totally could have SAN Greg, but for some reason I usually feel uncomfortable like I’m forcing my “entitlement”.

  3. klulu
    Reply

    Thank you for your review with nice pix and welcome to Japan! Hope you’ll enjoy the rest of your trip(or you are already back home?).

    I’m a SPG Plat., mainly stay at Kobe Sheraton almost every week. I have never been to Hiroshima Sheraton but your review makes me wanna visit there! Kobe Sheraton is another nice one in Kansai area. I always stay at junior suite overlooking the ocean. Try that one if you have a chance. St.Regis Osaka is nice too, but getting too expensive now. I miss staying at that hotel…

    • Melinda
      Reply

      klulu I’m home now but am already excitedly planning my next trip to Japan. Indeed, I quite enjoyed the St Regis Osaka (review on that coming up soon) but an ocean view at the Kobe Sheraton sounds lovely. I’ll have to give it a try sometime. Thanks for reading!

  4. Jim
    Reply

    While it is disappointing to miss out on suite upgrades, the hotel didn’t break any rules. The SNA room list is not a list of all the standard select suites at a hotel but rather a list of rooms the hotel chooses (some properties will list oceanview rooms while others choose to list their best suites). The hotel then chooses whether they want to give you an SNA upgrade and in this case they did not. Those suites must not be standard select suites so that is why your platinum upgrade was to a club level room.

    It sounds like the suites being on the SNA award list might just be there for show which is a disappointment. The property does receive some extra revenue from SPG when they honor an SNA so it is a bit odd that they would turn one down if they had availability unless they never upgrade anyone using them.

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