Located on the top of a cliff overlooking the sea, the Tenku-no-Fune Hotel is a fantastic choice for those who are looking for the feel of a small boutique hotel coupled with five star service & meals. The facility opened in 2013 and is divided into three areas:
1) A lobby/lounge that overlooks a lovely pool and a gorgeous view of the islands in Shimabara Bay. There is also a small spa, and, on the second floor, an Italian restaurant 'Festa del mare'. The spa is reasonable, offering 60 minutes treatments from 9000 yen. The pool is only open during the summer season.
2) The main building consists of three types of rooms - twin (for 1-2 guests), double (for 1-2 guests), and junior suite (for 2-4 guests). It is important to note that the bed in the double room is king-sized, instead of an actual double bed. All of the rooms have their own balconies with ocean views and a private hot springs bath. They also have huge showers; and a comfortable sitting area with sofa, big screen TV, & music to choose from on a Bose sound system.
3) The 'Island View Villa' & 'Panoramic View Villa' hold a maximum of 4 guests each. They are located down a narrow, paved path on a mini peninsula of their own. Guests are driven down and picked up by golf cart. The villas have two separate bedrooms, a large living room, and a huge balcony with amazing sea views - and, of course, private hot springs baths.
All rooms include dinner and breakfast in the onsite restaurant, 'Festa del mare'. Guests in the main building have a one minute walk to the restaurant; while guests in the villas arrive by golf cart. The restaurant offers a panoramic view of the sea and surrounding islands and is non-smoking. The chef, Nobuyuki Nakamura, uses seasonal ingredients - many of which come from the Amakusa area itself.
Our dinner, which was included in the room fee, consisted of a tiny 'Inizio' (beginning), a seafood-related appetizer, a locally grown vegetable appetizer, soup of the day, pasta of the day, fish of the day, meat of the day, bread, dessert, and espresso, coffee or tea. The service was impeccable and the food was amazing. We were also pleasantly surprised that alcohol was very reasonable. Draft beer and glass wine started at only 650 yen per glass. Breakfast is served from 7:30 - 9:30, and the first guests to arrive get tables with the best views. The breakfast consisted of a tasty buffet, and some other items delivered separately - eggs, ham, soup, freshly baked bread, etc.
The two of us stayed in a twin room, on a Monday night in the off season, for a total of 41,340 yen. Dinner and breakfast were included. Considering the size of our room (quite large), ocean view balcony containing a private onsen bath, amazing meals, great amenities, and 5-star service; this is one of the best places that I've ever stayed in Japan.
The hotel is a 25 minute drive from JR Misumi Station, and 50 minutes from Amakusa Airport.