We came to the Hotel New Akao as part of a tour group. The hotel has both pluses and minuses which I will list below. This hotel will not please those who expect modern amenities. The rooms are dimly lit. The bathrooms are not conducive to taking regular showers or baths. The decoration is dated---probably back to the 1970s or '80s. The hotel has seen better times, and yes, the gardens, while spectacularly situated over a n 18-story mountain facade open to the ocean, are overgrown and a bit haunted-looking.
Pros: The biggest pro is the warmth of the staff at the hotel. They warmly welcomed us and were enthusiastic in helping us fit slippers and kimonos for the hot baths. Although none spoke English, they were able to communicate with us in terms of etiquette (slippers for the bathroom are not slippers for the hot baths). The kimonos were clean and were adorable on the kids. The hot springs baths is a concept of communal baths common in Japan. There is etiquette that is not posted anywhere but earned us glares from some of the matronly guests when we didn't know what to do. There are both indoor (like a big swimming pool) and outdoor (rather small and dark) baths. They are from the sulfur springs feeding from the Mt. Fuji volcanic system, but do not have any heavy sulfur odors. You come with only our kimono and slippers, and bring a basket for your valuables. However, do not set your towels down, because ours were stolen in the bath house. You disrobe before going into the baths. Inside, there is a trough with some spigots and hoses for warm water. There are a variety of shampoos/scrubs/seaweed conditioners and so forth. You wash your body and hair before going into the communal baths. This is not for those squeamish about nudity, because there will be nudity (single sex) from young to aged.
The other pro was the food. The mochi making ceremony at night (only once, at 8 pm), which demonstrate the traditional way to make these glutinous rice cakes, by pounding the flour and adding hot water in a drum. Dinner was a splendid 10-course deal with a small sample of tuna sashimi, tofu, shabu shabu, teriyaki, salads, and dessert. We sat on the tatami mats and each had a small table on which were set a large number of beautiful dishes. The breakfast buffet was in a large, old dining room facing the ocean. The hotel's lobby is on the top floor, and the rooms all face the ocean. It was marvelous to see the sun rise, with the gradual change in the colors of the ocean.
Cons: The hotel is very, very dated. The bathrooms in the traditional rooms (the rooms with tatami) were not usable. There are bathrooms in the hallways. The tatami was not uncomfortable to sleep on, but was not particularly comfortable either. The air conditioners did not work and we opened the windows a crack. The gardens, while lovely, were neglected. There were areas of the hotel that looked abandoned, with discarded chairs and tables and silk flowers here and there--- like an aged debutante stuck in the wrong decade. It's a little time warp and a little disconcerting, but also somewhat mysterious, if you like that kind of thing. If you like adventures and the unusual when you travel, you will like this place.
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with JAPANiCAN, Booking.com, Expedia, Rakuten, Agoda, Hotels.com, Travelocity, Priceline, KNT-CT Holdings Co.,Ltd.(YOKOSO Japan), Orbitz and TripOnline SA so you can book your Hotel New Akao reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- New Akao Hotel