When travelling is limited, each travel experience counts double.
I had a chance to visit Okinawa in autumn last year and had the good fortune to connect with a friend whom I had not seen for 10 years. As it happened, this friend is the General Manager at the ANSA Okinawa Resort, which I did not know.
This is how I found out about this resort hotel in the Uruma area of Okinawa Honto, and how its management tries their very best to weather the Corona storm by broadening their services and offering unique events.
Here staff do not just wait for better days when more guests are coming but each guest now counts, and receives excellent service whether you come for a workation, a relaxing stay with your family or for an active road trip with friends.
Catching up with a friend
How nice to re-connect with a friend, this is what I thought when I realized that Amy, the General Manager at the ANSA Okinawa Resort was the same Amy I had known from my days in Tokyo. Tokyoites, do you remember Amy? It felt like staying with a friend rather than staying at just any odd hotel.
At the time Amy managed Oakwood Premier Tokyo Midtown and I was the Assistant Director at JMEC, a business training program in Tokyo. We often held our events at Oakwood and Amy was always most generous with facilitating us. Be sure, she knows a thing or two about hospitality and service!
This kind hospitality is exactly what I was impressed with when I “found” Amy by chance again at the ANSA Okinawa Resort some 10 years later. Like magic Amy’s team at ANSA Okinawa facilitated my travel arrangements and made me feel welcome instantly.
From the pick-up from Naha Airport and transport to a nearby destination in the Uruma City area to the bottle of red wine in the room on arrival and dinner with Amy in the evening, I felt like a VIP guest. To be sure, it was not just me who was welcomed like this because I knew Amy, but a group of my friends received the same warm welcome.
Workation with Golf at ANSA
If you need a place to chill while doing a bit of work on your laptop and at the same time enjoying a great view over this part of Okinawa, then a room at the ANSA Okinawa Resort is the place to be. This is the place for a workation stay on Okinawa without breaking the bank. Of course wifi is available throughout the hotel.
The hotel has a spacious light-filled lounge area that doubles as bar in the evening. During the day one can sit here and enjoy a cup of coffee while answering some emails, or order some light meals or snacks. This is also a good meeting space where you can discuss your projects in a relaxed atmosphere, and who knows, the laid-back vibe here might cause you to think more creatively.
If your workation party includes more people, then you can rent a conference room that has seats for 12 people.
There is also a large common bath and sauna, a fitness center and a karaoke room for unwinding after a couple of day’s hard work.
The ANSA Okinawa Resort is literally surrounded by the Okinawa Royal Golf Club and was once under the same ownership. So if you want to split up your workation days with some golf, you just have to step out of the hotel and you are at the golf course in 5 minutes.
Flexible Eating Arrangements
The Suriya Café is an all-day buffet dining restaurant where you can enjoy a Japanese or Western meal at any time between 7:00 and 21:00 (different opening times apply during the Corona pandemic, please check).
The ANSA Okinawa is also a good location to come with a group of people for a party. They offer an enkai plan that consists of a multi-course menu with Western-style and Chinese-style dishes. Costs per person are 5,000 Yen.
If you have a sweet tooth, then you can order a home-made cakes from the hotel’s very own patisserie. They offer baked cheese cake, rare cheese cake, fruit cake, chocolate cake and strawberry short cake. For cakes sized 12-18cm, you can also place a take-out order (reservation by 18:00 the day before). They even customize your cake on request (by 2 weeks prior reservation).
Passive Holiday: Enjoy a Family Day at ANSA
Families with children like coming here in summer when the hotel pool is open and the BBQ space by the pool can be used. Children like to play with the mini goats in the animal enclosure, also by the pool. ANSA Okinawa organized the Camping, BBQ & Pool event for families who would like to take their children on a camping experience but cannot go far away.
You bring your tent and can pitch it by the pool. Costs for the BBQ per adult are 4,000 yen. Children up to the age of 12 years go free. This event is running throughout the summer; you select your date of choice and make a reservation until one week before.
On Saturdays and Sundays the ANSA Okinawa runs a Beer Garden by the pool. Dates for this event are fixed and fall on the weekends in August and September. There are two rounds on each event day: one from 17:00 to 19:00 and another from 20:00 to 22:00. This is a 2-hour nomihodai (drink as much as you like) of beer, sangria and awamori for 1,500 Yen. If you drink only soft drinks, then it costs you 1,000 Yen. Food is available and charged separately.
For Okinawans who fancy an “international escape” there are several ongoing promotional events, and some special events throughout the year. Ongoing events are the European-Hawaiian Food Fair and the Afternoon Tea.
The small pleasures: of course you can also rent bicycles, rent board games and even enjoy star gazing using ANSA’s very own telescope.
Active Holiday: Day Drives from ANSA
This hotel is the perfect base to explore the surrounding area by car. If you come from Naha or from Naha Airport, it is best to rent a car there and drive up to ANSA (60 min on the Okinawa Expressway), and then do day trips from there. The hotel offers free parking for all hotel guests.
The ANSA Okinawa Resort is located in the Ishikawa Hills in the Uruma area in the middle of Okinawa Honto. There the island narrows so that it is possible to see both the East China Sea and the Pacific Ocean from the balcony of your hotel room.
Sit on your balcony with a glass of wine in the evening and plan your day trips ahead. Here are some examples:
There are some attractions nearby, including the Ishikawa Kogen Observatory (2min), Bios Hill (3 min) and Cave Okinawa (9 min). A bit further afield are the Blue Cave on Cape Maeda (16 min) and Ryukyu Mura (14 min). The hotel is happy to help with transport to these locations, or you drive yourself.
The ANSA Okinawa Resort is located inland but beaches on the East China Sea shores are only a short drive away. For example, Moon Beach (20min) or Tiger Beach (30 min).
I explored the Katsuren Islands (20 min) and on my way back stopped at the Katsuren Castle ruins (10 min) on the Katsuren Peninsula. The Katsuren Islands are Miyagi Island, Hamahiga Island and Ikei Island, which are connected with each other and with the main island by bridges. Impressive Kaichu Doro Bridge takes you across. Then there is Tsukenjima Island, which can be reached by ferry, and Ukibaru Island and Minamiukibaru Island only accessible by boat.
A longer drive further north on this island will take you to Nakijin Castle ruins and nearby Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium. If you are in this area, I also recommend the Oceanic Culture Museum Planetarium.
Going as far away as possible without actually leaving Japan? Okinawa is your best option!
Okinawa promotes itself as Japan’s “Resort and MICE Island”, and this is exactly what it is.
Japanese love Okinawa, many visitors from neighboring Asian countries have already discovered Okinawa, and visitors from other countries can look forward to discovering the Okinawan islands once international travel is possible again.
After you have done the rounds in Tokyo and Kyoto, and over-dosed on Japanese culture and food, Okinawa is the best place in Japan for a relaxing resort break to wind down without having to fly to another Asian destination. ANSA Okinawa Resort is waiting to welcome you!