The HMI Irago Sea Park & Spa is located on Cape Irago at the very tip of the Atsumi Peninsula, in southeast Aichi prefecture. Arriving at this hotel, with its gorgeous views over Mikawa Bay from almost every part of the hotel, provides a good chance to escape the city life, making for a comfortable and relaxing stay. Every room in the hotel overlooks the bay and beach area – complete with handwritten message in the sand welcoming guests to their new seaside getaway.
The hotel is a 42 minute drive from the Mikawatahara Station, though the hotel operates a bookable shuttle bus to and from the JR and Shinkansen station at Toyohashi for those who coming by public transport. It takes an hour and a half to get to Toyohashi from Tokyo, meaning in just two and a half hours you can easily access the calming resort and escape the city.
There are several different types of rooms to choose from, including the regular twin and double and Japanese-style rooms. For those wanting something roomier, there is also a suite available. However, this suite contains five beds, a large seating area and a self-serving bar. All rooms come with the usual amenities and, of course, a balcony to take in the stunning sea view. Most rooms also have a LAN connection for laptops (LAN cables can be borrowed from reception if needed). When it comes to functions, the hotel provides a library (with 2 Internet-connected PCs for guests) and a banquet hall. So whatever the event, the resort can have you and your guests well looked after.
Irago Sea Park and Spa, as the name suggests, can make your stay a memorable one for its relaxing onsen and spa services alone. A large onsen is available to guests, also an option to those visiting on a day pass. Open until midnight, it's a perfect place to relax at the end of your day. The spa offers several different types of treatment, such as face and body massage. The treatment begins with a private bath, doused in oils of your choosing, followed by the massage provided by a trained member of staff. Spa treatments are charged separately to your room and are a must to try. Massages can also be ordered to the room as part of the room service. Another spa treatment offered is Doctor fish (Garra rufa), which 'clean' and smooth out your hands/feet as you immerse them into a small well of water.
After relaxing in the spa or onsen, you'll be spoilt for choice for where to dine. Misaki serves French and Japanese cuisine with a large set menu all prepared using local, seasonal ingredients, whilst Le Paradis is a buffet restaurant complete with beautiful sea views. The buffet contains both traditional Japanese dishes, including fresh local delicacies, and some Western dishes. The chef de partie can prepare fresh sashimi and steak to your own preferences. Tea Lounge La Mer also serves light snacks, desserts and refreshments throughout the day, making for a good excuse to take a break at any time. Breakfast is served in the first floor buffet area, catering to both Japanese and Western tastes, with hot food and a selection of cereals and breads.
The hotel shops provide a good selection of souvenirs and gifts, not to mention local omiyage-style snacks and delicacies. Entertainment-wise, the resort has both a karaoke snack bar and game arcade. During some weekends, the lobby comes alive with live music and piano recitals, allowing you to take a drink and soak up the atmosphere. Retiring for the night, the relaxing sounds of the sea waves gently washing up against the shore can help you fall asleep in complete comfort, if you keep the balcony door open.
The Irago area is a fabulous natural environment, with many golf courses in the area, and some fresh fish markets by the sea. Nearby, a quick connection to Mie prefecture can be made via the Ise-wan ferry connection between Toba City and Irago, making for an interesting daytrip for those staying in the area a bit longer.
When it becomes time for you to say goodbye to the resort, it's with a heavy heart. If you've been travelling between major cities, then you'll surely pine for a return visit to this beautiful, relaxing seaside location.