Since staying at Hoshinoya Fuji last February, the Hoshinoya hotels and their sister hotels ‘KAI’ have been on my radar for some time. This October break I found a great deal at KAI Atami and with the husband busy at work, I asked Mrs. F if she fancied a trip! Thankfully she said yes!
We started the trip with a night stay in Yokohama before taking the 78min local train down to Atami. When we arrived, it was hot! 28 degrees celsius hot! Atami is famous for being a seaside town in Summer and an onsen town for the rest of the year. It certainly lived up to its reputation with a foot onsen conveniently located right outside the train station.
I was eager to try it but unfortunately my feet are not a part of my body that one freely unleashes on the public during day light hours. Not without some raised eyebrows anyway so I decided to just observe instead.
When we had arrived at the station, it was too early for check in but we decided to go to the hotel anyway and drop our bags off. The staff were a little thrown at first but the lady who greeted us was extremely helpful and polite, even providing us with some iced tea when we arrived. On her recommendation, we took a taxi down to Sun ‘beachy’ to explore the area before check in time. The weather was glorious and the beach was empty. We dipped our feet into the water before heading around the bay.
Depending on where you stood, you got a different vibe, from a Spanish costal town, to Saint-Tropez (Mrs. F’s words not mine) to an old Japanese fishing town. It was very surreal but beautiful.
We strolled around enjoying the sunshine and taking photographs. We even watched some local fisherman catch a fish!
After a nice cup of coffee and a sneaky cake, we headed back to the hotel for what turned out to be a rather wonderful experience.
The taxi drove us through the gates where we were greeted by the same young lady as before with a delicious glass of sparkling pear juice.
KAI Atami is a resort more than a hotel. It is split into two sites, KAI Atami- a Japanese ryokan and Villa del Sol- a French inspired hotel on the water front. In between the two sites are shared facilities which consists of two onsens and a Sky Terrace. We were staying at the Villa del Sol site and it was such a pleasant surprise.
Because the hotel was quiet, we had been upgraded to a bigger room which had amazing views of the sea. Mrs F was nearly in tears!
After check in and some time to settle, we swiftly changed into our Yukatas and headed up to the Sky Terrace where were presented with some freshly made Japanese sweets and a glass of sparkling wine just in time to watch the sun go down.
It was then time to head back to our hotel for dinner which turned out to be a five course seafood French inspired menu. It was set in a beautiful room with a grand piano in the centre. A kind waiter with exceptional English served us throughout our meal making sure that we were well looked after. It started with fresh squid and mango, followed by a crab risotto, hard crab, sardine soup and finishing with a delicious grilled blue fish with anchovy sauce. For dessert we had a fresh fruit salad followed by a mont blanc and some small treats. It was fair to say we were stuffed afterwards!
After dinner, our evening was still not over. It was time to done the Yukatas again and take the hotel shuttle up to the Japanese Ryokan site for an evening drink and Geisha performance. When we arrived we were shown into a beautifully decorated tatami room where you could sample a range of whisky, sake, shochu and a non-acholohic plum and green tea drink. I avoided the whisky and opted for some sake and shochu which were both very nice.
Soon after, we were lead to a big tatami room with a stage for the Geisha performance which was a delight. She charmed us with three different routines before teaching us a traditional Japanese game called tosenkyo with her assistant.
Tosenkyo is a game that requires two players to throw a paper fan at an ornate stand. How the fan lands, determines how many points the player receives. It was a lot more complicated than it looked!
After the game she performed one more dance and then took the time to take some photographs. It was such a lovely unique experience that you rarely get to see outside Kyoto.
After such a fun packed afternoon and evening, we decided to end our day with a dip in the onsen. A perfect way to ease the muscles from our long walk on the beach.
The next day we woke to another glorious day of sunshine. We got dressed and made our way to breakfast where we were fed another banquet of fresh food. This time we started with a salad, followed by clam chowder, scrambled egg with bacon and finally fresh yoghurt with a strawberry compote. Each dish had a side of freshly baked bread served with a glass of fresh orange juice and a cup of coffee.
After breakfast, we packed then headed back up to the Sky Terrace for a daytime view. The sea was still and the sky equally as blue. A beautiful way to spend the morning.
We enjoyed our moment of peace before heading back down for our final cup of Nespresso coffee signalling the end of our wonderful time at KAI Atami. The feel at the hotel was so relaxed and the staff’s only aim was to please. Villa del Sol has such a summer European feel…
… yet manages to keep its impeccable Japanese levels of hospitality. As a final parting gift, we were given a beautiful wrapping cloth as momentum of our stay.
This was my second stay at a Hoshinoya and KAI hotel and I have to say I am really impressed. It is amazing value for money and has left me on both occasions with fantastic memories and experiences. The staff are so good at what they do and make you feel like royalty. Don’t ever hesitate to spend the money at one of these resorts because I will personally guarantee that you will get more than what you paid for.
Next February we have yet another Hoshinoya experience to look forward to but this time in Karuizawa.