|2005 Spring - Intro - Sheraton Grande Ocean Resort - Actor at Play
Actor at play in a palmy paradise
When my wife, Marie, and I took our trip to Miyazaki to experience the Phoenix Seagaia Resort, the first thing I noticed as we left the airport was the beautiful weather. Even though it was December, it was warm and there were palm trees lining the roads. Was this really Japan?
||Visitors Michael and Marie Naishtut pose with personal concierges in front of the tile-roofed Yukata Walk (named after informal cotton kimono that guests wear). This open-air corridor links the Sheraton Grande Ocean Resort's skyscraper with its hot-spring baths and ryokan-like dining rooms.
Throughout our stay, three things really stood out: design, service, and detail. The entire complex is designed in an exceptionally beautiful and interesting way, combining elements of traditional Japan with modern European and Southeast Asian touches. The whole staff was very helpfulkind and professional, yet with the friendly qualities one finds at small country inns.
Finally, the detail: fine, small touches all over the complex are impressive.
Everywhere you look, there are interesting little engravings, beautiful wood and paper lamps, and vases with Asian designs. Glowing candles lining the tranquil Yukata Walk give one the feeling of slipping back in time to ancient Edo, as Tokyo used to be known.
There are several different outdoor hot-spring baths that we found serene, relaxing, and private. You hear the sound of tiny waterfalls and see the steam rising from the water. There are also plenty of places to just sit and relax. Wherever you go, you encounter some walkway or corner with a tastefully presented chair or bench. One such area was a kind of reading room with a very warm and cozy feeling, where you could just sit on one of the comfy chairs or couches and read one of the many books provided.
The restaurants are all very nice and the food was delicious, although I found it quite amusing to be serenaded by traditionally costumed Western Christmas carolers in the pub-like Japanese izakaya: "Jingle bells, jingle bells, Osake kudasai!"
Each guest room has an impressive ocean view, where you can see for miles. We could look down and watch the golfers swinging away on the lush green course.
On the last day of our stay, we indulged in aromatherapy massages at the Banyan Tree Spa. I strongly recommend it. They offer many different options with various massage techniques, body scrubs, foot baths, and aromatherapy oils. You can choose, depending on the level of relaxation or invigoration you want. The choices have names like "Pine Delight" and "Island Dew."
That basically is what Seagaia is all aboutrelaxation and invigoration, comfort and elegant beauty, mixing the traditional world of Asia with modern Western design. Both Marie and I have decided we'll definitely be going back. It was a wonderful place to spend a romantic getaway, but it would also be a great place to go with a few friends or family members too. You really feel as if you have taken a trip overseas to some Asian or tropical paradise. It's hard to believe that we were in Japan the entire time!
Born in New York in 1961, Naishtut is an actor and comedian appearing on NHK's Eigorian, an educational TV program for kids.
Articles from the 2005 SPRING issue:
Kateigaho International Edition Issues:
2005 SUMMER - 2005 SPRING - 2005 WINTER
2004 AUTUMN - 2004 SUMMER - 2004 SPRING - 2004 WINTER
2003 AUTUMN - INAUGURAL ISSUE