Stay Here: Hiramatsu Hotel, Atami, JapanBy Iona Goulder
Nestled along the captivating coastline of Atami, a tranquil escape from the bustling streets of Tokyo, the Hiramatsu Hotel stands as a testament to the harmony of luxury, history, and natural beauty. Atami, often referred to as the “Onsen Capital” of Japan, is conveniently located just over an hour away from Tokyo by Shinkansen (bullet train).
This location makes it an ideal destination for Tokyoites seeking a quick and rejuvenating getaway. Equally, anyone looking for an overnight stay out of Tokyo should seriously consider nipping down to what feels a bit like the Japanese equivalent of Brighton. A mixture of sea, sand and plenty of restaurants gives Atami its own almost ‘folksy’ feel. The hotel itself is perched atop a cliff overlooking the sea and Atami itself. The panoramic views from this location are nothing short of breathtaking, offering a sense of serenity that’s hard to find in the city, and much needed after several days of Tokyo noise.
Hiramatsu Hotel: The Lowdown
On our arrival, we were warmly greeted by the courteous and attentive staff. From the moment we stepped foot in the lobby, it was clear that the Hiramatsu Hotel puts a strong emphasis on exceptional service. We were immediately given a glass of champagne and sat watching the stunning views unfold under the hotel. We were then taken a tour of the hotel which has a unique blend of history and modernity in its room design.
The hotel itself was built around a traditional besso, or country villa, you can look around these areas and step back in time, as you’d expect they’re architecturally perfect with clean lines and beautiful panes of light. The art collection is also worth the visit alone; it’s a real mixture of everything from European Miros to landscape painter Tamako Kataoka and works of shodō calligraphy by Yuichi Inoue. Around every corner, it felt like another feast for the eyes.
Hiramatsu Hotel: The Rooms
The hotel has 13 rooms, each with its own hot spring bath, allowing guests to enjoy the renowned Atami springs. Twin, double, and suites are available, built in the sukiya-zukuri style of architecture, which epitomises the beauty of the traditional Japanese house: simple yet elegant.
We were fortunate enough to stay in a corner room with a terrace that overlooked the tranquil waters of the Pacific Ocean. The view and the room were incredible, brilliantly well stocked with a huge bedroom and a peacefulness that is unlike anywhere else we stayed in Japan. But what sets these rooms apart is the private onsen, fed by natural hot springs. It was a divine experience to soak in the soothing waters while gazing out at the endless expanse of the sea below. This was relaxation at its finest.
Hiramatsu Hotel: Eat and Drink
The highlight of our stay at the Hiramatsu Hotel was, undoubtedly, the unforgettable dinner. Atami’s famous fresh seafood from the Sagami-Nada Sea takes centre stage, but the restaurant also sources the finest foodstuffs from all over Japan and even ingredients flown in from France (the whole menu has a French flair and eye for detail). Each course was a culinary delight, meticulously prepared with a focus on the freshest and finest ingredients. The flavours were an exquisite fusion of French techniques and the bold umami of Japanese ingredients.
In short: the Hiramatsu Hotel in Atami is a true gem among luxury retreats. Its prime location, impeccable service, historic charm, breathtaking views, and outstanding cuisine make it a must-visit destination for those seeking an escape from the city and a taste of refined relaxation. My stay at the Hiramatsu Hotel was a memorable journey through Japanese culture and hospitality, and I can wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone in search of an idyllic retreat.
For further information on the Hiramatsu Hotel, see here.