Blending Tradition and Luxury at Japan’s Hoshinoya Okinawa

It’s one of the first luxury resorts to set up opulent shop in Okinawa and it’s opening the area up to a new class of traveler. Hoshinoya Okinawa promises “authentic Japan with modern comfort,” by adding unexpected touches to the traditional ryokan experience.

Hoshinoya Okinawa is located on Taketomi Island, a little blip of paradise less than six kilometers square. To get there guests take a 60 minute flight from Okinawa’s main airport then travel an additional half-hour by car and speedboat. This extra effort results in total privacy and tranquility among the 48 wooden villas, designed with traditional Ryukyuan architecture in mind.

Rooms come in the form of villa suites, all of which are furnished with bed-style futons on platforms in tatami rooms and spacious living rooms that open up to the outdoors. Gleaming, free-standing bathrooms take center stage in the light and airy bathrooms. Villa suites range in size from 53-66 square meters and include private gardens.

The ocean waters surrounding Hoshinoya Okinawa stay warm enough for swimming late into the year and offer excellent snorkeling and scuba diving. Resort staff can arrange for excursions to other islands of the Yaeyama Archipelago to discover countless fish and coral species. Back at the hotel, a large pool designed to resemble a local Taketomi Island well is open 24 hours a day. A lounge positioned above the water offers nightly live music performances, a book and magazine library and complimentary drinks and snacks.  The five room spa offers traditional treatments and relaxing bathtub soaks.

Chef Tatsuo Nakasu heads up the kitchen in the main dining room. His menu is a new Okinawan food based on French cuisine known as Ryukyu Nouvelle. Starting this month, the restaurant features an exclusive type of lobster raised in partnership with the resort’s suppliers. Poolside and in-room dining are also available as is a breakfast menu of Japanese and Western offerings.