This was an interesting resort and one definitely geared to a Japanese audience. Tour buses would come in of polite, well organized and professionally lead groups. These groups would eat in mass in the morning, disappear during the day for their intense, guided sight seeing and pop up here and there to invade the beach. The level of English at the resort was poor for most staff with the exception of one or two staff at reception and also the lady at the information counter.
The beach area was very nice at the hotel and came with a variety of very tame water sports, including some kayaking (only within a very restricted area of very calm waters); peddling water tractor; there was an inflatable boat which people were being towed into the sea on; guided snorkelling also appeared to take place. In true Japanese style, everything was very supervised and areas of the water were carved out so that one was confined to a 200 metre square area of the beach. Waters were very calm and there was virtually no tide. So, if you are looking for a sporty surfing holiday, this is not the resort or the sea. The water, however, is very clean and also quite shallow. All in all, it was a relaxing beach area. I suspect the beach facilities at the other neighbouring resorts (ie Renaissance, Blue Moon, etc) to be very similar.
The hotel itself is quite nice and has a dated 80’s feel to it. However, this has no bearing on cleanliness, maintenance or usability of the building. The Japanese maintain their buildings to a very high standard and Japanese tourist tread very lightly. Every room comes with a balcony and great views over the Sea and the beach – very nice feature. The western style room was well appointed and very comfortable and airy. The building architecture is quite interesting and shaped in a triangular fashion so to look like a cruise ship.
The hotel is easily accessible by a public bus from Naha airport and to Okinawa. The former takes about 1.5 hour from the central station and the latter takes about 1 hour. It is best to have a car in Okinawa in order to profit from the great scenery and the different cities on the Island. However, you MUST have an international driver’s license in order to rent a car. Otherwise, you’ll be taking the bus like us!
In terms of site seeing on the Island, “America town” and “Kadena” can definitely be missed. In fact, I found this to be the most depressing experience of this two week trip. Enough said.
The breakfast buffet at the hotel was excellent. The Japanese are up at 0700 to take advantage of the great selection of Japanese and Western options. The buffet was plentiful and frequently refilled. The breakfast coupon can be used for lunch if you miss breakfast which is a nice bonus.
There was no internet in the room which was disappointing but due to the ‘resort’ nature of the hotel, this is not terribly surprising. In fact, the lone internet station in the reception was rarely used so I guess I can’t blame the hotel for not supplying this facility.
We reserved the hotel via the website of the hotel directly. It was approximately 5,000 Yen cheaper than the other resorts but still quite expensive as far as Japanese hotels go, this was because it was a triple room.
I would stay at this hotel again but would sooner look for another location on the island and most certainly have a car for next time.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Sheraton Okinawa Sunmarina Hotel is a luxury resort located beachfront at Onna-son, approximately an hour's drive from Naha Airport on Route 58. All rooms have a magnificent ocean view, and the hotel provides a choiceful range of marine and beach activities. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Hotel Sun Marina
- Sheraton Okinawa Sunmarina Resort Okinawa Prefecture, Japan