The APA hotel chain is as standard in Japan as Premier Inn in the UK, or Best Western in America. And just like those well known chains, they offer a sort of security, in that you know exactly what you are going to get.
You have to have a sort of weird affection for any chain that mentions a paper crane on their website as one of their features. But it does deliver on that front, and many more. Just a short and easy to navigate walk from Kencho mae monorail station, it’s situated right at the heart of Naha.
It has a nice expensive feel to it, with shiny surfaces, and multiple lifts taking you up, up, up. The staff are polite and friendly and try to help with enquiries (though most time their English is limited). Saying this, you would be hard pressed to find a Japanese person who isn’t polite and friendly.
The hotel rooms are admittedly not the largest, but this is often typical for Japan, where space comes at a premium price. I stayed in a twin room with a friend, but we don’t mind being in close quarters, so it was perfectly fine for us. The TV comes with the usual free channels,or you can choose to upgrade for ¥1000 for a better selection. There is also free internet in the room via LAN cable (which you can borrow from the hotel). It is common in Japan not to have free Wi-fi access, but network access instead.
The rooms are clean and tastefully decorated and also come with a hairdryer, towels, combs, razors, a toothbrush and toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner and body wash, all of which is good quality, so it’s nice not to have to carry around all your toiletries. They also have microwave access if you want to heat up a midnight snack.
What really sells the place is that guests have free use of the onsite onsen, which is also packed with plenty of toiletries for you to clean yourself with before entering the relaxing hot spring waters. There are also robes provided for use in the onsen. Though be warned: travellers with tattoos may cause offense in the onsen and be asked to leave. However, my friend has several tattoos and as we were alone we could use the onsen.
To be honest, there isn’t really a downside to this hotel. It’s surrounded by cheap restaurants that locals frequent (the mark of a good restaurant in my opinion) and they also have an eclectic feel, away from the hustle of Kokusai-dori.
In all, I would say you get what you pay for with APA; a perfectly pleasant hotel which, while a little small, is still great value for money. If you stay here, you are unlikely to go away displeased