- Enjoy Authentic Ryukyu Performance Arts Often Seen at Local Festivals, Available for Your Enjoyment Every Saturday Night, at Utuimuchi
- A Cup of Coffee Offered at “Tettoh Coffee,” by a Passionate Coffee Roaster
Hotel Locus in Miyakojima Suggests a New Type of Resort: Respecting the Local Environment
post : 2018.09.18 18:00
Triggered by the opening of the Irabu Ohashi Bridge in January 2015, Miyakojima and the surrounding islands are garnering more popularity and attention than ever before. The statistical data showed that during the Japanese fiscal year of 2017, the number of inbound tourists was 988,343 (140.58% increase from the previous fiscal year), which only proves its rising popularity. Of course, with an increase in visitors, it’s natural to see an increase in the accommodation facilities. However, this spring, we saw the birth of a sophisticated city resort, unlike the rest.
The Hotel Locus opened in January of this year, in the central area of Miyakojima Island, close to the city center in Hirara. The access and location of the hotel is excellent, sandwiched between Hirara Port and Painagama Beach, right along the coastline.
Their concept is, “Another Resort Stay.” Unlike the conventional “complete” resort stay, the hotel advocates an “experience-based” stay, where the guests enjoy the whole island as a resort, with the hotel being their home base. Just as the name Locus suggests, the location and central area of where things occur, the hotel has a collection of original programs and activities for the guests to enjoy. The activities suggested include the food and culture of the island, places of interest, and the wonderful experiences born from exchange with the locals.
Based on their concept of “handcrafted design,” the architecture and exterior of the hotel are simple and beautiful, a result of their pursuit to be in harmony with the rich nature of the island. And yet, the furniture, fabrics, artwork and other interior touches create a warm and sophisticated atmosphere.
It’s not a large-scale hotel, but its 100-guestrooms all command a great ocean view, and there are six types of rooms to meet various scenes and preferences of the guests. The guestrooms are clean and fresh, and their use of natural materials add warmth to welcome the guests. It’s also notable that they have embraced what is now a standard service in Hong Kong, Singapore and other destinations, in offering free rental smartphones per guestroom. Such new and considerate service is a great plus for the guests.
Their restaurant, the Locus Table, offers delicious fares using ingredients from the island and the other islands in the prefecture as much as possible.
The diverse dishes available on the menu are accented with various spices and herbs, and they’re simply delicious, fresh, and healthy. The restaurant offers great service and high quality tastes all day; a half-buffet for breakfast, lunch, afternoon coffee, a la carte, and course meals. The restaurant welcomes hotel guests as well as those not staying at the hotel.
Experiences, activities, simple, natural, warmth, comfort, the sea, nature…there’s not enough space to write in all the keywords to describe Hotel Locus. However, the common denominator in all of this, is their concept of “respecting the local environment.” Up until now, the majority of the resort facilities within Okinawa have focused first and foremost on satisfaction of the customers (from outside of the prefecture), and have been prone to rarely direct the attention towards the local environment.
In this area, Hotel Locus welcomes various factors born and nurtured in the local environment and have embraced them as the facility’s irreplaceable identity. For example, their logo is inspired from the works of a local resident and kuba artist, Ms. Kyoko Ogawa. The subtropical palm, known locally as kuba or fountain palm, is a plant that grows across the islands. In the restaurant, all the guestrooms, and other spots throughout the facilities have works created through collaboration with Ms. Ogawa, and are symbolic to the hotel’s stance on care and respect to the local people and environment.
We can see the particular thought and care in the “hard” areas, as well as in the local ingredients used in the restaurants, as mentioned before. Also, at the small concept shop next to the Front Desk, are various items created with materials from the island.
To top it off, the various events held at the lounge of the activity counter on the first floor really shows the hotel’s commitment to the local land and people. They enthusiastically hold many kinds of recreational events (like the Shuffle Board Night shown in the photo below), open to hotel guests and local residents. The hotel is engaged in “soft” areas such as beach cleanup events throughout the island, too. Such activities and devotion to the local area are a new and innovative approach by a resort hotel.
The hotel manager, Mr. Kazuhiro Takata (left on the photo below) asks, “Without loving the local area, without being loved by the locals, how can we be loved by our guests arriving from outside of the island?”
Mr. Takata explains, “Together with the locals, we can love and enjoy Miyakojima, and make it even better. That, of course, naturally connects to attracting more visitors here, and isn’t that really the ultimate in customer satisfaction? We also believe that it’s “hotels” like us that can bridge the people of the island with the travelers. It is our wish and the source of our happiness to connect and expand the circle of people and things with our facility as the driving force.” Mr. Takata’s genuine way of communicating and consideration to the finest details with the greatest of care, all the while keeping in mind the angles of perception by the locals and visitors really reflected on his staff. The young leader with a bright smile and a gentle and calm demeanor, in my impression, embodied the spirit of hospitality at Hotel Locus.
The exquisite comfort brought on by the concept of “respect for the local environment” is indescribable. You can count on being excited about the new ways of resort hotels which weren’t available in the conventional types of hotels. Perhaps it’s only a matter of time until people all over will say, “We can’t talk about Miyakojima without talking about Hotel Locus.”
Address: 338-40 Hirara-Shimozato, Miyakojima
Check In: 15:00 Check Out: 11:00
Rate: From 7,200 yen/night/guest (not including tax)
Parking: Available (first come first served)
*Rate is current as of May 2018.
*Source (in Japanese): Number of Inbound Visitors, Miyakojima City Website
Okinawa CLIP photo writer Kiwamu Ogawa (Qey Word)