By Chris Barnes
In April 2012, JapanTravel hosted a lucky draw contest for its contributors to win Chisun/Solare hotel vouchers. There was an early bird draw for posts submitted by mid-April, and then there was the main draw encompassing all posts submitted throughout that month. And guess what? I won! Twice! Two ‘one-night stay for two’ vouchers! And with there being a wide choice from 57 hotels all over Japan, we decided to travel to Okinawa.
For my first voucher we chose the Okinawa Marriott Resort and Spa in north Okinawa. After a long day of traveling and fun at the gorgeous Churaumi Aquarium, when we reached the hotel, it was quite a welcome sight. The entrance way quietly branched off from the main road and went ahead a few meters, beautifully lined by palm trees on either side. The staff was courteous, friendly and cheerful, and all we had to do was show our voucher and our identity proof. Just that. (And we felt "Wow, JapanTravel"). Moreover, we were offered complementary breakfast tickets too. The bell boy then soon escorted us to our room, informing us about the hotel facilities and restaurant hours on the way. I would like to mention here that all staff were quite proficient in English and that made things a lot easier for us.
The room allotted to us was quite spacious, beautifully done in orange and browns. The bathroom and bathtub too were spacious w.r.t Japanese standards. Having savored the room and the views for a while we freshened up fast and hurried downstairs for our dinner. There were a lot of options, given the many choices of restaurants catering to Japanese/ Okinawan/ Chinese and Western cuisines. We went for the BBQ at Howdy. The atmosphere was quite lively and the staff made everyone pretty comfortable. It was really casual happy dining. There was a variety of marinated meat and seafood to choose from, many options for salad, fruits and yeah ice-creams too. We were offered a plate of complementary Okinawan beef and in a while there was a surprise birthday celebration for a pretty lady at the nearby table. It was just all so relaxing and lively!
After the sumptuous dinner, we went about exploring the lounge and shop areas a bit more before retiring to our room. The next morning after an early and filling breakfast, we went to explore the pool area. There was an indoor swimming pool and this beautifully landscaped outdoor pool complete with palm trees and water slides. The entry was free and given the lovely weather we (especially hubby) had a wonderful morning. Since the check-out time was 11am, we couldn't really explore the alluring spa facilities.
We checked out by 10:15am and took the hotel’s shuttle bus to the nearby Kariyushi beach resort where there were plenty of marine sports and diving programs. We enjoyed our time jet-skiing and having fun on the beach before taking the shuttle back to the hotel. Though we had already checked out, they let us use the pool changing rooms, just in time for the Limousine Bus for Naha. Just as we were all set for the 2.5-hour bus ride, we remembered we didn’t have any water with us and when hubby enquired if there were any vending machines nearby, they instead actually handed us a bottle right away, just like that. And with such kind ways of the courteous staff and a plethora of options for relaxation and fun at hand, the stay at this resort was extra-ordinary and really remarkable, one we would cherish for life!
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