Edited by: Nick Ellis
& Keri Stooksbury
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My wife and I recently spent 1 night at the Sheraton Grand Hiroshima Hotel in Hiroshima, Japan. On top of an incredibly convenient location and modest perks for Marriott Bonvoy elites, the hotel is a good option for using your Marriott Bonvoy points and free night certificates. It also had the best hotel pillows I’ve experienced in a long time.
However, the hotel does have room for improvement. It needs to manage crowding better on busy dates and provide better information to guests during check-in. It also shouldn’t charge overnight guests for amenities most hotels provide for free.
So is it worth staying at the Sheraton Grand Hiroshima if you’re heading to the city? I’d still say “yes.” Here’s a look at our 1-night stay at the start of July 2023.
The Sheraton Grand Hiroshima Hotel is adjacent to the Hiroshima train and bus station. You can use a covered walkway from the ground floor or first floor to reach the hotel in less than 5 minutes.
For those arriving by train or bus, this is incredibly convenient and avoids lugging your suitcase up flights of stairs in the sun or running in the rain to get to the hotel.
Within Hiroshima itself, the hotel is just 10 to 15 minutes by car from the main tourist sites around the Hiroshima Atomic Bomb Hypocenter. You also can reach these sites by light rail, city bus, or hop-on-hop-off bus, which is free for those with a Japan Rail Pass.
I booked this stay with the annual free night certificate (worth up to 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy points) from my Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card and added 6,000 points to complete the booking. However, it’s possible to find award nights at the Sheraton Grand Hiroshima for 35,000 points or less, which would not require any extra points to top up the free night award.
In fact, rooms were available for just 34,000 Marriott Bonvoy points both before and after our stay. However, these fell on weekdays, and we had to stay on a Saturday during the busy summer travel season. Our check-in wasn’t flexible, so we accepted the higher price and forked over the 6,000 points in addition to my free night certificate.
The cash price for the night we stayed was $310. That provides a redemption value of $0.76 per point — slightly above our valuation of Marriott Bonvoy points.
I also used a Suite Night Award to request an upgrade during our stay. These are available as a Choice Benefit for reaching at least Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite status each year. Unfortunately, the hotel was nearly sold out during our stay, and my upgrade request was declined.Hot Tip:
I typically have great success with Suite Night Awards outside the U.S. This was my first denial in over 2 years. Using them in the U.S. tends to be more difficult, though.
When we arrived at the hotel, we were a bit confused about how to reach the check-in desk. This sign on the ground floor pointed us toward the elevators, which took us to the reception floor.
From here, we passed a restaurant, bar, and seating area. It very much felt like we were going in the wrong direction, but it turned out the hotel’s reception was at the far corner of the third floor.
Here, we found a long line of people waiting to check in and only 2 desk agents.
After waiting 15 minutes, it was our turn to check-in. However, we were told that our room wasn’t ready, despite it being nearly 2 p.m.
We were told that we could leave our belongings and come back after 4 p.m. — the time the agent expected our room to be ready. As a Marriott Bonvoy Titanium Elite member, I found this a bit odd. I understood that the hotel was nearly full, but the employee didn’t offer to let us visit the Sheraton Club Lounge while waiting or attempt to reassign us to a room that was ready. And the hotel’s check-in time is 3 p.m., so it was odd that our room wouldn’t be ready by that time.
It’s a good thing the lobby had so much seating because families made use of it while 1 person in their party waited in line.
We put name tags on our luggage and then went to explore the city. When we returned after 7 p.m., we completed check-in with the same employee. Again, there was a line — only 3 people this time — and we received our room keys quickly.
The employee wasn’t overly friendly but was cordial and efficient. He recognized my elite status and told us about the Sheraton Club Lounge located near our room. Rather than telling us about the hotel’s other amenities and restaurants, he gave us a paper with details and informed us that our luggage was already waiting in our room. He pointed us toward the elevators, and we were on our way.
Overall, check-in was a bit strange. It could’ve been more efficient, we could’ve received an apology for our room not being ready by the hotel’s stated check-in time (3 p.m.), the hotel could’ve moved us to a room that was ready, or they could’ve provided lounge access while we waited. But none of that happened.
It also was strange to send us off with homework to learn about the hotel’s amenities on our own, rather than telling us about them, but I suppose this was the hotel’s attempt at cutting down the lines at reception. Check-in felt less “friendly” and more “get the job done.”
Here’s a look at what was on offer for guests at this city-center hotel.
The Shine Spa was located on the eighth floor. It provided a full range of massages, hot baths, and stretching.
Services came with an additional fee, but you could also buy a pass with ¥23,100 of credit (~$164.60) for ¥19,800 (~$141) if you wanted to visit the spa regularly.
Past the spa was the fitness center. It included a gym facility as well as a pool and Jacuzzi. Unfortunately, many of these services came with an additional cost, including the use of the locker rooms.
Visits to the pool and jacuzzi cost ¥1,650 per person (~$11.75). Using the locker room (whether you’re going to the gym, pool, or both) costs ¥550 per person (~$3.90).
There was also a requirement to wear a swim cap in the pool. If you didn’t bring one, it was possible to rent one (for a charge) at the spa’s front desk.
I found these charges quite odd, considering most hotels provide free access to their facilities for overnight guests. The charges also weren’t discounted for those with elite status. Your best bet is to change clothes in your room if you want to go to the gym without paying to use the locker rooms.
The gym was quite small but had half a dozen cardio machines and 3 treadmills.
It also had weight racks, dumbbells, and a multi-purpose weight machine. This room was the only part of the spa/fitness center that was free to use.
The hotel also required a completed liability form that had to be dropped in the box pictured below to use the gym.
Change clothes in your room if you don’t want to pay to use the locker room. Also, pack your own swim cap if you don’t want to pay to borrow one. The use of a swim cap in the pool is mandatory.
An on-site parking lot was available. It cost ¥1,500 (~$10.70) for each 24-hour period.
Wi-Fi was consistently good throughout the hotel. We got upload speeds of roughly 40 Mbps and download speeds of around 57 Mbps during our stay. The internet signal was reliable in every part of the hotel we visited and reconnected as soon as we entered the hotel after being outside.
There were 2 banks of elevators: 1 to move between the lower levels and the lobby and 1 to move between the lobby and the guest floors.
When entering the Sheraton Grand Hiroshima’s front door, we saw a sign indicating banquet/meeting rooms to the left and elevators to the right. We took these to the lobby floor.
The elevator waiting area near the lobby had marble flooring and wood paneling but no seating.
Conversely, the waiting area on our floor — the 20th — had 2 armchairs and carpet with an earth-tone color palette.
The interior of the elevators continued this color scheme.
Buttons were large and easy to use, and we didn’t need to tap our room key to access guest floors.
We stayed in room 2012, located on the 20th floor and immediately opposite the Sheraton Club Lounge.
Our room was a standard 1-King guest room. Near the large windows, there was an armchair and ottoman, plus a small table.
It faced away from the train station.
The room felt really spacious despite being pretty full of amenities.
In the other corner, we found a glass desk with a rolling office chair.
On the desk, there was a note and welcome snack to thank me for my loyalty to Marriott.
Next to the desk were a notepad and several outlets for charging our devices.
The desk also had a phone and a booklet highlighting the hotel’s services, such as in-room dining and spa offerings.
Interestingly, under the desk, we found not just a trash/recycling bin but also instructions on how to use the room’s various electronics.
In the middle of the room was the comfortable king-sized bed with smooth, lightweight sheets and a duvet.
On top of the bed, there was a pair of robes and additional pillows to choose from.
Hands down, the pillows were my favorite part of the hotel. Many hotels have the type of pillow where your head sinks through it the moment you lay down. The pillows at the foot of the bed were high-quality foam pillows that provided real support. We actually hugged them out of happiness.
Each side of the bed had a nightstand with a panel of light switches and a 2-prong outlet.
On my wife’s side, 2 notes explained the hotel’s sustainability initiatives and listed the prices for massages.
My nightstand had a few items on it including a multi-port charging station and a house phone.
There was also an alarm clock with a wireless charging system.
Across from the bed, there was a TV and remote control.
Drawers under the TV held glasses and utensils meant for tea and coffee.
Speaking of coffee, there was a Nespresso machine with pods on the counter.
And there were both Japanese-style and Western-style mugs.
Finally, there was a kettle for boiling water.
There also was a minifridge, which contained only Pepsi and Pepsi Zero.
These beverages weren’t complimentary. There was a note on the counter indicating that we could write down how many drinks we consumed and then present it at checkout to be charged ¥145 per drink (roughly $1). Note that the Club provided these same drinks at no cost.
We did receive complimentary bottled water, though.
There was a humidifier located next to my wife’s side of the bed.
Near the entry was a digital “do not disturb sign.”
And there was a large mirror.
There was a large, 3-door closet opposite the bathroom.
One section housed an iron, ironing board, extra towels, and a safe.
A drawer held pajamas.
And there were slippers on the floor of this section.
Hooks inside the closet held a shoe brush, a shoe horn, and a flashlight.
The other section was larger, accessed via the 2 remaining doors. Here, we had hangers, an extra pillow, and a scented fabric freshener spray bottle.
However, the most unique item was the pants press. I’ve never seen this in a hotel room before — or anywhere, for that matter. If I’d had any dress pants in my suitcase, I would’ve tested it out just to see how it worked.
The bathroom was not behind a wall but rather was separated from the sleeping area by the sink and a partial divider (which had a mirror on the bathroom side).
The sink was standard, cut into a marble countertop that we liked because it wasn’t plain white like most hotels these days.
While the counter was large, most of the space to the left of the sink was consumed by the tray of toiletries provided by the hotel.
These were surprisingly abundant and included items you’d expect like mouthwash, lotion, a shower cap, drinking glasses, and washcloths. Moreover, offerings also included a razor, folding hair brush, travel toothbrush and toothpaste set, and loofah sponges. However, the packs weren’t labeled, so discerning some of the items wasn’t immediately obvious.
Under the sink, we had multiple bath towels, hand towels, a scale, a hair dryer, and a trash can.
At the far end of the counter, there was a makeup mirror mounted to the wall with an adjustable arm.
The shower and toilet each had their own doors.
The toilet had spray wash controls …
… but not a heated seat.
The shower-tub area was served by a single door, and we really liked this setup.
It felt very spacious, and we had options for handheld or rainfall shower heads. On the wall, there were pump bottles of Gilchrist & Soames products. The shampoo, conditioner, and body wash all had a refreshing, subtle woodsy smell.
There was also a bathtub. It wasn’t large and didn’t have jets, a reclining angle, or a headrest. However, most adults should fit in it.
A sign on one of the towels explained the towel system: hang them to reuse them or put them on the floor to be replaced.
Lights in the bathroom were controlled by a panel of switches on the wall near the entrance.
The Sheraton Club Lounge is accessible for those with Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite status or higher or those booked into Club rooms. It’s located on the 20th floor.
There was no door to the Club, meaning we didn’t need to tap our room key to verify access. While there was a front desk, and you’re supposed to check in to verify eligibility to visit the Club, we never saw anyone working here to check.
The Club was open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, but just light snacks and drinks were offered during most of its opening hours. It also functioned as a silent workspace, as it provided a meeting room and a computer with a printer (and both were in constant use during our visit).
If you’d like to bring a guest (who isn’t staying in your Club-access room), that’s possible. It costs ¥2,100 during breakfast (~$15), ¥3,100 during the day (~$22), or ¥5,100 (~$36.30) for a day pass. Those prices are per person.
The Club provided continental breakfast each morning. There was a small selection of pastries available.
And there was a healthy selection of juices.
Cold food items included cheeses and nuts.
And there were 3 hot items available: a curry, white rice, and potatoes.
There was a fridge that contained sodas and water. This was available all day, as were coffee and tea.
The Club also offered a happy hour in the early evenings. There was a selection of light bites available.
And there were finger foods and mini desserts near the coffee machine.
There was also a selection of liquor, wine, and cans of beer in the fridge.
The happy hour was nice, and we ate here shortly after checking in. The breakfast was a bit disappointing, however. If we’d had another day (or stayed again in the future), we would get breakfast at Bridges, the restaurant near the lobby.Hot Tip:
Elite guests can visit the Sheraton Club Lounge or Bridges (but not both) for breakfast and can visit the Club or Miyabi-Tei (but not both) for happy hour. Note that there are only certain drinks available for free if using Miyabi-Tei for your happy hour benefit.
Bridges is located between the lobby and the elevators to the ground floors. This restaurant had ample seating and served a breakfast buffet in the mornings plus a sit-down dinner.
On the other side of the hall from Bridges, this coffee shop/bar served drinks, desserts, and light bites throughout the day.
There was also an outdoor patio adjacent to this bar.
It was a popular spot for people to take their drinks and look out over the train station below.
Located on the seventh floor, Miyabi-Tei is a Japanese restaurant. In addition to a full menu of local foods, it had a full bar. Guests with Club access could choose to visit this bar for their daily happy hour benefit, though the complimentary drinks came from a limited menu.
The hotel has over 10,000 square feet of meeting and event space spread across 9 different rooms. The largest room can fit 312 people, and the hotel also has a breakout room for smaller huddles.
Service was average, to be blunt. No one was mean or rude, though that’s a low bar for measuring service. However, none of the staff seemed genuinely friendly either. Some examples will convey what I mean.
During check-in, the front desk agent never apologized for the long line or for our room not being ready by the hotel’s check-in time, and he didn’t provide an alternative solution, other than just telling us to come back later.
It was nice that we were able to leave our luggage at the hotel (and find it in our room upon return), but this was a solution to a problem of the hotel’s creation: not having guest rooms ready on time.
Moreover, we thought it was really strange that the front desk employee didn’t tell us anything about the hotel’s amenities, other than saying our room was next to the Club and giving us a paper to read more about the on-site restaurants and gym. Did we get the info we needed? Yes. Was it good customer service? No.
The singular employee we saw in the Club spoke almost no English. Thus, communication was difficult. She merely put food and drinks on the buffet, took them away, and largely avoided talking to the guests — even those who were Japanese.
I would expect a friendly employee in the Club to deal with the hotel’s elite members and speak to them (or at least try), but we didn’t find that at the Sheraton Grand Hiroshima. The Club employee merely filled and cleaned the buffet station.
When checking out, there was a long line at reception (again). We used an express checkout box to drop our keys; we hadn’t taken anything from the minibar and had reserved our stay on points, so we didn’t need (or want) to wait in line to checkout.
Meals, check-in, and checkout are the main touch points for customer service during a hotel stay. They all felt very average in terms of hospitality.
The Sheraton Grand Hiroshima Hotel has a top-notch location, beautiful interiors, and everything worked as expected in our room. Service was average, but I would actually stay here again. That’s because it’s convenient to access, easy to book with Marriott free night certificates, and elite members have options for their happy hour and breakfast benefits. If I ever go back, I’ll choose breakfast at the lobby restaurant instead of the Club.
However, if you’re the type of person who uses the gym, pool, and locker room at your hotel, you might want to look elsewhere. It really feels like the hotel is nickel-and-diming travelers with the charges to use these facilities.
The information regarding the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The hotel has 238 rooms. All of them feature the Sheraton Sweet Sleeper Bed.
No, this property isn’t part of Fine Hotels + Resorts or The Hotel Collection. You still can book with Amex Travel, however, and pay with points at a rate of 1 cent apiece.
You can find awards at this property for 30,000–45,000 points most nights. There is regular availability for nights under 35,000 points — accessible with free night awards from most Marriott Bonvoy credit cards.
The hotel is adjacent to the train and bus station. You can use a covered walkway to reach the hotel, protecting you from the sun and rain. The walkway is smooth, which is convenient if you have rolling luggage or are in a wheelchair.
Yes, it has a pool, jacuzzi, gym, and changing rooms. However, you’ll have to pay to use these facilities. Spa services are priced individually. Using the pool and jacuzzi costs 1,650 yen per person. There’s an additional charge of 550 yen for using the changing rooms (per person).
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Ryan has been on a quest to visit every country in the world and plans to hit his final country in 2023. Over the years, he’s written about award travel for publications including AwardWallet, The Points Guy, USA Today Blueprint, CNBC Select, Tripadvisor, and Forbes Advisor.
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