By Peter Sidell
Farm Takanawa Club’s beautiful hotel in the hills overlooking Atami was our great escape from Tokyo recently. The facilities, the food, and the setting all made it a trip we want to repeat.
First, the facilities. Takanawa's so-called “puchi” (petit) hotel is perfect for people who like the onsen concept but are not in the mood for traditional Japanese onsen style. If you are not comfortable being the center of surreptitious attention (a common complaint of many self-conscious and pasty foreigners in communal bathing areas), or if you simply want to experience hot springs without crowds of people, this place is fantastic. The building is just a year old, and there are only six guest rooms. The onsen area is clean and well-designed, and since only overnight guests have access, there is no feeling that a thousand bums have been gracing the stools and bathing pools ahead of you. I never saw another person in the woman's area during my evening and morning dips, and my man-panion had his section to himself at night, with just a friendly passing "ohayogozaimasu" to another patron before breakfast.
While the onsen at Farm Takanawa Club is just for hotel patrons, anyone can enjoy the food and fantastic views of Atami from the hotel's restaurant, Kai. Located up in the hills overlooking the city and Sagami Bay, good sightlines to Atami Castle, Hatsushima, and the great expanse of Pacific Ocean provide a stunning backdrop to your meal. We had the 5,000-yen course dinner, and it was divine. The chef proudly came out to greet us (and the other diners), which is understandable considering his attention to detail. Flavours, textures and presentation were all memorable, and many of the ingredients used are organic and grown on-site.
If a fancy course dinner is not on your agenda, there is a very reasonable lunch menu (meals from 980 to 1,250 yen) made with the same fresh ingredients. After lunch, which is served from 11am to 2pm, pastries and cakes concocted by patissier Yoshinori Omi are available in the cafe. Excellent European-style baked goods (including loaves of French bread) are also made daily and available to the public.
I am planning another excursion to Farm Takanawa Club, as the rooms, the views and the food are all worthy of a second (and third) sam.
Free pickup service from Atami Station is available if requested, and English-speaking staff are happy to take inquiries by phone or email.
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