Okinawa Marriott Resort & Spa
By: Sarah Cortina | Jun 10, 2010 | Issue: 846 | No Comments | 2,326 views

Walking through the doors of the Okinawa Marriot Resort and Spa, even repeat customers stop and catch their breath while they take in the view. As a first-timer, I’m floored. The vaulted glass ceiling soars over the lobby, letting the bright Okinawan sun spill across the pristine marble floor. Instantly, I’m in vacation mode.

The feeling only gets stronger inside my room, where a wall of floor-to-ceiling windows looks out over the pool, offering a tantalizing glimpse of the ocean beyond. Each guest room also features a cozy nook-with-a-view that’s perfect for curling up with a good book—if you can tear yourself away from the beach, that is.

I certainly can’t, and head straight off to dip my toes in the waves. The resort is located just a five-minute walk from Kariyushi Beach, but if the heat gets too much, there’s a shuttle bus service to whisk you from pool-side to beachside and back again.

After settling in, Kanon is an easy lunch option. The lounge, just off the lobby, offers café-style nibbles during the day and cocktails at night. Then it’s off for a lazy afternoon dip. The resort features a sprawling outdoor pool complete with a 2-foot-deep wading area for the kiddies and a bright orange, corkscrew water slide that’s impossible to resist. The main pool, meanwhile, is designed to mimic the nearby beach, with a gentle, sand-colored slope leading into the deeper areas beyond. Relaxing in the cool, clear water, I spot some intrepid athletes swimming laps in the nearby indoor training pool; impressive, but not terribly tempting at this point. The two Jacuzzi baths, on the other hand, have a definite allure. Looking out over the ocean, they are clearly meant for enjoying the island’s romantic sunsets—with or without company.

Later, after dinner at the hotel’s Okinawan-Japanese fusion restaurant Ryu-bin-ka, it’s time to check out the resort’s other main attraction: the spa (adults ¥1,000, kids ¥500). The separate male and female areas each contain a luxurious sauna plus five different baths. With its faint but sweet orange fragrance, the aroma bath turns out to be my hands-down favorite. But for evening dips under the starry sky, the outdoor pool can’t be beat. Just keep in mind that even though the spa is styled like a traditional onsen, swimsuits are required.

After such a soothing experience, it’s no trouble at all to drift off to sleep in my room’s soft, cushy bed. Nothing but the thought of my inevitable return to the real world could possibly keep me awake.

Okinawa Marriott Resort and Spa is located 70 minutes drive from Naha Airport.www.okinawa-marriott.com

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