Opened in July 1992, a few years after the construction of the nearby Okinawa Convention Center, this resort-style hotel was expanded in 2002 with the addition of an East Wing building, bringing the total key count to 303 rooms and suites.
Where is it?
In the Ginowan district of Okinawa, on the west coast in the island’s south-central area just north of the main city of Naha. Situated within the Ginowan Convention Area, it’s part of a large park-like space that contains a baseball field, tennis courts, a sports stadium and white-sand tropical beach, as well as the Okinawa Convention Center itself – all within easy walking distance of the hotel.
Naha International Airport is 30-40 minutes away by taxi (approx ¥4,000/US$36) or around an hour on the airport limousine bus “Hana” (¥600/US$5.50).
What's it like?
A gleaming white complex of buildings, the main lobby is up a vehicular ramp in a mezzanine-type area, with the reception counters to the left, shops to the right and a broad staircase leading down to an open lounge and huge windows beyond which is the pool and garden. The atmosphere is unashamedly leisure resort in feel, but the hotel’s close partnership with the Okinawa Convention Center makes it the most appealing place to stay for event delegates.
The majority of rooms are Western style, but there are also some traditional Japanese-style rooms with tatami matting, etc. The standard rooms are simple and functional, but a big plus is that all rooms face the ocean and have good-sized balconies with table and chairs, which make even the smallest rooms feel spacious.
There are eight room types and three suite types in the main building, while the East Wing’s 99 rooms are across just two types. (There are 129 non-smoking rooms, so be sure to pre-request this if it is important to you.)
I was in a Double room in the East Wing. An airy feel and light décor – along with the aforementioned balcony looking out to open sea – made it seem bigger than its 30 sqm size, designed in the classic L shape. A very firm bed faced a relatively small flatscreen TV on a sideboard (I could not find any English-language channels), with a small table beside it under a wall mirror. A small circular coffee table and chair, plus a standing lamp completed the furnishings in the main area of the room; the wardrobe was in the entrance “corridor” along with the safe and mini-fridge. Wifi was complimentary and excellent.
The bathroom was slightly unusual but practical, designed with a glass panel splitting it in two: the first section contained a corner sink and toilet, the back section a large shower area with stool for sitting on while you wash, next to a bathtub.
Food and drink
There are four restaurants, three on the ground floor and one on the top floor. Paseo Garden is an Italian-style eatery where breakfast is served and a large, wide-ranging buffet is put on each night; next to it are Japanese restaurant An-non, which features Okinawan cuisine and a counter where you can watch sushi and tempura being prepared, and Grill Restaurant Rin, where the best Japanese beef is on offer (book a table in advance because this is very popular – and recommended).
On the 13th floor, Kochuten Chinese restaurant specialises in Sichuanese food with the benefit of stunning views. Equally gorgeous panoramas are available next door in Paddle cocktail bar, which has a curving counter next to the window. I had a very pleasant evening drink here, sampling an original awamori (distilled rice) cocktail whilst contemplating the sunset over the East China Sea. In the lower lobby area, under a tall ceiling and surrounded by greenery and water features, is the easygoing Tea Lounge, and during the summer the hotel puts on Poolside Garden BBQs.
A 1,000 sqm banquet hall catering to as many as 1,200 people is complemented by two smaller ones (168 sqm and 150 sqm), plus a 65 sqm conference room. The hotel can combine its facilities and catering with the convention center nearby, so MICE events can be tailored in numerous ways. The area beside the outdoor pool can also be booked after 7pm in the evening for buffet events of between 50 and 300 people.
There are two swimming pools: the curving, landscaped outdoor pool is primarily used by families on holiday (open 8am-7pm); to swim laps head to the rectangular indoor pool (open 8am-11pm). Flanking the outdoor pool is a lush tropical garden, and a gate gives access to the main public park – the beach is 5-10 minutes’ walk away. Also in the hotel’s “Aqua Zone” on the ground floor (L1) is a public bath and sauna room, and a small fitness centre. Chura Bless spa on Level 2 offers “Ryukyu Esthetique” treatments, there’s a range of shops on the same floor, plus a hair salon. If you want to explore the island, the front desk can help you book a tour or taxi and itinerary.
Okinawa is a holiday hotspot first and foremost, but also an increasingly attractive MICE destination, and this hotel manages to set the right tone for both sets of customers. Business visitors will find all the essentials covered, with a good level of comfort and facilities at this price point – and will find it easy to get into holiday mode once the work is done.
PRICE Standard internet rates for a Double room (East Wing) in mid-February start from ¥19,480 (US$175) including tax and surcharges.
CONTACT 1-1, Makishi 4-chome, Ginowan-shi, Okinawa 901 2224, Japan; +81 098 897 2121; laguna.co.jp