RIHGA Royal Hotel
The RIHGA Royal Hotel Hiroshima is a great place to stay if you're sightseeing in the city. It's conveniently located near Hiroshima Castle, the Atomic Bomb Dome, the Peace Memorial Park, and other parks and gardens.
View from the room included Hiroshima Castle and Hiroshima Museum of Art. The front desk gave us a map of the surrounding area, so it's easy to spot what sites you are looking at. For reference, we stayed on the 29th floor.
The rooms available are spacious and the one we were in had a great view overlooking the city. The beds were comfortable and the large bathroom included premium amenities. If you are sensitive to cigarette smoke though, make sure that you specify a non-smoking room. At the time we booked, only smoking accomodations were available and it was immediately obvious to us as soon as we stepped into the room since a thick smoky odor pervaded everything from the upholstery to the bed.
We stayed in the twin bedroom.
The RIHGA's bright spots revolve around their plentiful dining options. The Restaurant Chambord serves French cuisine prepared with ingredients sourced from Hiroshima, the modern Loure serves European style food, Ryuho serves exquisite Sichuan cuisine, the Naniwa / Sushi Mandokoro serves Japanese Kaiseki cuisine focusing on seasonal ingredients, while if you're looking for Japanese food in a more casual setting, Shusen serves local or seasonal Japanese cuisine paired with sake and local shochu. I highly recommend going to the RIHGA Sky Lounge for an afternoon or evening drink whether or not you're staying at the RIHGA since it may well have the best views in the city.
The view from the sky lounge includes the Atomic Bomb Dome (right of the building with a crane on the roof).
Their complementary breakfast is served at Naniwa / Sushi Mandokoro where you can select western or Japanese options.
They do have fitness facilities but I unfortunately, didn't get the chance to try them out mainly for two reasons: 1) it costs somewhere between JPY 3,240 to JPY 6,480 to use them (the exchange rate was unfavorable at the time of our stay) and 2) I was willing to pay but the gym doesn't open until 11 AM (a fact they don't state on their site) and the checkout time just happens to incoveniently coincide at 11 AM as well. Since we were only there for a day, the gym was a no-go.
Despite all of the positives, the RIHGA in Hiroshima seems like it may have been a grander hotel in the 90's but it had been allowed to stagnate over the years. It does seem like it is considered a premium hotel by the locals given that there happened to be a wedding ceremony held at their chapel during our stay. We also witnessed an omiai (in short, an arranged matchmaking meeting for the purpose of possible marriage) as we were having drinks at the Sky Lounge while we admired the view. Heck, a yellow Lamborghini adorned the entrance during the length of our stay, surely from one of the hotel's VIPs. Still, you can tell from the aging upholstery and furnishings that it may have been an opulent hotel in its heyday but is in need of a refresh. It's all the more surprising when you find out that the hotel opened for business as recently as 1994. If you're used to staying at large international hotel chains or quaint boutique local hotels, the RIHGA will have some off-putting oddities like the 11 AM opening time for the gym opening or the aging discolored upholstery coupled with a cigarette smoke stench wafting through your floor due to the smoking-allowed rooms. Otherwise, this is one of the more spacious Japanese hotel chains I've stayed at in Japan especially if you're used to mid-level Japanese hotels. The food options are superb and having drinks at the Sky Lounge was a great relaxing perk to our stay.