From azure seas, deep green forests, nine World Heritage sites, a vibrant culture and traditions that date back for centuries, Okinawa now has another lure for visitors, with the ultra-luxe Ritz-Carlton opening its doors within the premises of the Kise Country Club
After a two-year renovation and rebranding period, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company recently unveiled its first luxury resort in Japan on the tropical island of Okinawa. What was formerly the Kise Bettei Hotel & Spa is now The Ritz-Carlton Okinawa, setting out to pioneer luxury hospitality on an island that has long been a secret getaway for generations of Japanese visitors.
The Okinawan concept of hospitality or gusuku, which translates as ‘castle’ or ‘guest house’, is reflected throughout the property to give it a welcoming sense of place, embodied through landscaping and contemporary architectural design which extensively features the Shurijo face motifs, distinctive red clay roof tiles, white walls and holy water ponds.
The extensive renovations to transform the Kise Bettei into The Ritz-Carlton Okinawa came in at more than one billion yen and took approximately eight months to complete – it also represents the first conversion project for the Ritz-Carlton group in Japan.
With panoramic views that overlook the East China Sea and the Kise Country Club, interiors designed by Japanese design practice Ilya were inspired by adjacent ancient forests, golf courses and the sea. The spa, for example, is located in the landscaped gardens in its own separate enclave. Combining the essence of ancient and modern Chinese, Indian, European and Balinese spa cultures, The Ritz-Carlton Spa by ESPA features the use of organic materials in all design points, and the deep forest motif is particularly evident where a display of light creates textural and moving shadows as if under the forest canopy in the reception area.
Read the full story, ‘A brand new day’, in the August 2012 issue of Perspective magazine!