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Hyakuna Garan, Okinawa, Japan

by Laura Gelder | May 2017

"As soon as I arrived here a sense of calm rolled over me, with the sea breeze. The red-tiled buildings seem at one with nature thanks to the twisted banyan trees that grow in-between its wooden walkways. And everything is wood or glass – meaning the Pacific is never far from view. If your clients want a Japanese experience this is the place; they can dine in the black pyjamas provided and mediate next to the hotel’s seven-metre stone Buddha. All is calm."

THE BACKGROUND: Designed with traditional local materials like red tiles and limestone, this ocean-side hotel is a homage to the ancient Ryukyu kingdom which once ruled the island.

THE LOCATION: Overlooking the Pacific, a 35-minute drive from Naha Airport.

THE ROOM: My Western-style Executive Suite was 68 sq ms in size with a balcony overlooking the beach and the tiny limestone outcrops which characterise this coast. The decor uses neutral and warm tones with lots of wood. There are two sumptuous double beds as well as a sitting area. The bathroom has a shower and a large spa bath tub looking out to sea.

KEY FACILITIES: All guests can book one of the six ‘houjouan’ or hermitages free of charge. These rooftop dwellings are entered through a low door and include a tatami mat area for relaxing or stretching and an open-air stone bath and lounge chairs looking out to sea. It was raining during my visit so instead I enjoyed a relaxing massage in one of the indoor treatment rooms. There is also a zen room and library.

RESTAURANTS/BARS: The restaurant serves high-end Japanese cuisine. Dinner is a formal affair, staged in the sparse but cosy restaurant and consisting of at least eight (I lost count) beautifully-presented and creative dishes, including Okinawan fermented tofu with local Awamori liquor and wagyu beef. Breakfast is also a multi-course affair, featuring both Western and Japanese fare.

RATES: Executive suite JPY 50,000pp for two

THE DETAILS: A: 1299-1 Hyakuna Yamashitahara, Tamagusuku-Aza, Nanjo City, Okinawa, Japan. W: hyakunagaran.com

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