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Aman-ish type resorts in Japan

Aman-ish type resorts in Japan

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Old Nov 18, 09, 7:38 pm
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Aman-ish type resorts in Japan

Hello all!

Can anyone recommend a Aman-ish resort (small, very good service) in Japan? I'm looking to get away for a few days during an upcoming month stay in Tokyo and am looking for something secluded. Could be mountains or beaches... both sound good to me.

Thanks.
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Old Nov 18, 09, 7:42 pm
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Just about any high end hotel or ryokan will offer the level of service you require. Yes, the service is that good, it really is!
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Old Nov 18, 09, 9:17 pm
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I'm guessing that some will feel that Gora Kadan is Aman-esque, but I'm going to argue pre-emptively against it, since I found it to be one of the most disappointing lodging experiences I've ever had. Very tired interiors, uninspired and dull meals, and gimmicky service.
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Old Nov 18, 09, 9:53 pm
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I honestly know nothing about it personally, but check out Hoshinoya Karuizawa... they presented at a recent Virtuoso Event and I marked it down to learn more about it / follow up. Never did get the time, so let me know what you find out

http://www.hoshinoya.com/en/index.html
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Old Nov 19, 09, 5:49 am
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Originally Posted by ABG View Post
I honestly know nothing about it personally, but check out Hoshinoya Karuizawa... they presented at a recent Virtuoso Event and I marked it down to learn more about it / follow up. Never did get the time, so let me know what you find out

http://www.hoshinoya.com/en/index.html
heard a lot about hoshinoya but never get chance to try,,,,
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Old Nov 19, 09, 7:12 am
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Originally Posted by Groombridge View Post
I'm guessing that some will feel that Gora Kadan is Aman-esque, but I'm going to argue pre-emptively against it, since I found it to be one of the most disappointing lodging experiences I've ever had. Very tired interiors, uninspired and dull meals, and gimmicky service.
It's funny you say this. When I first saw the title of the thread, I immediately thought Gora Kadan! No kidding!

I'm respectfully going to have to disagree with you, Groombridge. I've stayed there twice, and both times have found it excellent. To me, it was one of the best hotel/meal experiences in my life, and I've been around. The rooms are pleasant, although I'll give it to you that they are not over the top. I think we have to consider what ryokans generally go for (simplicity and the very basics, not opulence). I found the food incredible (both preparation and ingredients). Honestly, I found the ingredients to be the rarest and most expensive here out of any of the ryokans I've been to (including the Tawaraya and Hiiragiya). I actually found the presentation to be among the most inspired too.

As for service, that was the ryokan's weak spot. This is not to say that it was bad -- it was better than almost any non-ryokan hotel I've ever been to. However, it just wasn't up to the levels of some other ryokans (again, Hiiragiya and Tawaraya). It was at time amateurish and, for one of my stays, I had two different servers. For some reason, they assigned it so that we had one for the first two days and then she had her day off, so we had somebody else. Not good.

As you can see, I think this is a fantastic place and would highly recommend it. And it's definitely Aman-ish. In fact, my experience at Gora Kadan was far superior to my Aman experience (which I admit was only one long stay in a villa at Amanpuri as I generally don't travel to the parts of the world where Aman has hotels).

On a different note, you could consider any good ryokan Aman-esque, in some ways due to the high level of service.
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Old Nov 19, 09, 10:23 am
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Gora Kadan

Interestingly, Gora Kadan was created a year BEFORE Adrian Zecha launched Amanpuri, so owner, Miwako Fujimoto was decidedly ahead of the game.

This is a glorious ryokan and very much in the genre of Aman, with a beautiful location on the edge of Lake Ashi in Hakone National Park.

You must, however, choose the right accommodation to truly appreciate the experience, which means opting for one of the 14 suites, which are on the upper floors (4th & 5th), so have the best views. I like the Kadan Suites, which have their own big wooden cypress tubs for endless bathing rituals. These suites are like small houses and are extremely comfortable. Even the futons, which are rolled out at night, are really comfortable.

The food - kaiseki dinners especially - is brilliant. Very good quality ingredients, perfect presentation and, in my experience, superb service.

Gora Kadan does have a few negatives. The separate 'western' spa is a bit of a joke and because this ryokan caters to English speakers, there is occasionally a strange understanding of what westerners appreciate (the western breakfast is good for a laugh, though). Having stayed in other ryokans, this was much more to my Amanjunkie liking.
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Old Nov 19, 09, 10:32 am
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Originally Posted by RichardInSF View Post
Just about any high end hotel or ryokan will offer the level of service you require. Yes, the service is that good, it really is!
Agree on this. One could even say that Ryokan/Onsen are what inspired the people behind Aman and similar hotelier groups.
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Old Nov 19, 09, 1:08 pm
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Originally Posted by mosburger View Post
Agree on this. One could even say that Ryokan/Onsen are what inspired the people behind Aman and similar hotelier groups.
I believe that people who aren't Japan regulars really don't understand the service level offered by virtually all upscale and luxury Japanese accommodation. They hone in on one place -- hey, Gora Kadan may be really wonderful, I'm not knocking it -- but think of how much else they are missing. The whole Hakone area strikes me as way too schlocky for a "secluded experience."
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Old Nov 19, 09, 1:20 pm
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I am tempted by these 2:

http://tenkunomori.net/index3.htm

http://www.sansou-murata.com/e/murata_top.html
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Old Nov 19, 09, 10:11 pm
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In my own experience, the service and hospitality of Japanese people are second to none in this world !!

I stayed at Seiryuso a few years ago in southern Izu. Although staffs barely speak any English (we understand a little Japanese), the service there to me is better than any FS or Aman I've been.

The friendly staffs there treat you like family, and they really go out of their way to make sure we get everything we need, even when we didn't really share common language, it was just amazing

I've never stayed at Murata, but know several people who did, but heard lots of positive comments. Murata is one of the most famous ryokans in Japan too.
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