In Praise of Dormy Inn | My “Business Hotel” of Choice

The hotel exterior of one of the many Dormy Inns that can be found in Japan.

Oh my god… I am about to sound like the biggest shill in the world for Dormy Inn but I swear that this isn’t a sponsored piece of content or anything. Frankly put, I just want to get the word out about this great chain of hotels in Japan. My first time staying at Dormy Inn was during my outing to Fukui Prefecture back in 2020, a trip that will fondly always be remembered as my last adventure before the coronavirus ruined inbound tourism for a few years. Alas, at the time I didn’t realize just how great the franchise is as a whole (though I did thoroughly enjoy my stay).

Honestly, it wasn’t until I started traveling a lot with my voice actor friend Sandy that I put two and two together and finally realized the appeal of staying at Dormy Inn. Thanks to her — let’s call it “listen-to-me-Donny-or-I’ll-kick-your-ass” attitude, Sandy opened my eyes to all of the perks that Dormy Inn offers over competing chains like APA Hotel. When I initially stayed at the one in Fukui, I thought that the onsen, the free ice cream and the other benefits were just a one-off and not something ubiquitous to the brand. I am glad to now have learned how wrong I was!

Of course, if you’re looking to splurge on a fancy hotel or experience a stay in a traditional Japanese ryokan, I highly suggest that you do so. There are some truly great properties out there. That said, when it comes to your everyday, run-of-the-mill hotels in Japan, you could do a lot worse than Dormy Inn. While the chain is just a standard business hotel at its core, a stay comes with all sorts of extra benefits that you don’t get when lodging with other companies.

These days, whenever I look on sites like Agoda or, I always try to see if there’s a Dormy Inn available. While I won’t go out of my way to stay at one, experience has shown that I can regularly find a Dormy Inn somewhere in any mid-sized city. For the price you pay, it is really hard to beat the value that Dormy Inn offers. I’ve regularly been able to find rooms for as low as 7,000 yen or so. Though a bit more expensive than a bare-bones room with a bed, Dormy Inn’s offering is worth the extra price.

Though it’s indeed anyone’s guess, perhaps one of the things that sets Dormy Inn apart from other similarly priced hotels is that the management company’s DNA is not that of a hotelier. Instead, the firm got its start providing affordable dormitories for students but made a pivot after salarymen started asking to stay on business trips. Likely, these roots are infused into the essence of Dormy Inn today and this is why it feels less like a hotel and more like “coming home” than other chains.

At Dormy Inn, you can always find a hot spring on the premises and this is one of the top reasons why you should stay there.

So, what makes Dormy Inn my hotel of choice when traversing Japan’s prefectures? The following list will highlight some of the main points of appeal that make me continually reserve with them whenever I have the chance to do so…

  • Hot Springs
    Essentially, every Dormy Inn has an expansive spa area complete with an outdoor bath and a sauna for guests. While a hot shower can do the job in a pinch, nothing beats a long soak after a hard day of adventuring. Seeing as I’ll often pay a thousand yen or so for a day-use onsen or sento, the fact that Dormy Inn has this as part of their base product alone is enough to get me to book with them. Note that not all Dormy Inns are natural hot springs but all do have great bathing facilities.
  • The Rooms
    Compared to a fancy ryokan or a high end hotel, the rooms at Dormy Inn are nothing to write home about. That said, they are always of sufficient quality and come with all a weary traveler could want. There’s almost always USB ports to charge devices, reliable Wi-Fi and clean linens. On top of this, Dormy Inn also always offers a pair of pajamas which is a god send if you’re a light packer like myself.
  • Free Dairy
    In the evening, Dormy Inn offers a selection of ice creams to help cool you down after blissing out in the hot springs. Alternatively, you’ll find individual servings of drinkable yogurt prepared for you in the morning. Though not something that alone would make one book with Dormy Inn, these additional perks are very much welcome. Note that if you’re an ice cream lover like my friend Sandy, it is one per person. Please don’t pig out on 10 of them in the hot spring lobby 🫣
  • Yonaki Soba
    One of the distinguishing factors of Dormy Inn is that it offers a free bowl of warm soba noodles in the late evening. The service was born in 2009 from the founder’s commitment to his largely salaryman customer base. He noticed that people on business trips would largely spend time alone in their rooms at night. He wanted to create some sort of communal third space for serendipitous interactions and the impetus for this was the serving of yonaki soba.

Now, you’d be right in saying that some or all of these perks can be had at other establishments. At the same time though, one of the nice things about Dormy Inn is that every chain is guaranteed to have all of these benefits. Thus, it makes finding a place to crash for the night a lot more reliable when you know that the Dormy Inn brand is sure to deliver.

One of the other things that I like the most about Dormy Inn is that they always have a sauna with a cold water bath. While I am not really big on the saunas, I do like to go into a piping hot bath until I can no longer stand it. Then, to reset my internal temperature, I’ll jump into the cold bath (or mizuburo in Japanese). I’ll eventually have to do a blog post on this but it’s a great way to induce deep sleep.

Though there are certainly a lot of hotels out there with their own bathing facilities, those without saunas don’t have the cold bath. Thus, Dormy Inn is always a safe choice for me. Often when I am sourcing content for my area guides, I’ll do upwards of 30 kilometers of walking in a day so a long soak is just what the doctor ordered in the evening.

Until next time travelers…

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Donny Kimball
Donny Kimball

I'm a travel writer and freelance digital marketer who blogs about the sides of Japan that you can't find in the mainstream media.

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