We stayed for 5 nights and wished it was 10. The Hotel is in a good spot, very near the airport but the planes don't really bother you, infact watching them land is quite fun! The Hotel has a really nice feel to it, the lobby, public and restaurant areas inside are beautifully appointed. Outside the gardens are very nice with a good pool, but there are a couple of areas that do need attention eg the pool bar (which was closed) but we did get the impression the hotel was working on improving things where needed - eg the indoor pool was being renovated while we were there.
Our corner room was huge - we had two massive picture windows and a double balcony over-looking the beach and Ishigaki Town in the distance, great views all round. Two 3/4 beds pushed together made for the biggest double ever! The bathroom was very well kitted out, good separate shower and amenities and one of those Japanese automatic toilets which does everything for you....!
Big flat screen TV, nice furnishings, towels and very good maid service - all in all a great room.
The beach in front of the Hotel is not private but is very much the domain of the Hotel with staffed sunbeds for guests and a beach house selling trips, drinks and snacks. Good showers and lockers etc and nets to keep away the jellyfish. We took a snorkelling trip to the nearby reef and had a great time - just three guests but two guides made everyone feel safe, and the novice lady who came with us was very well looked after by the excellent all female staff who took us out.
One feature worthy of note in this Hotel was the variety and quality of the food. There is a very good breakfast buffet with something for everyone and outdoor seating weather permitting. There are about 6 different restaurants offering local, Japanese, Chinese, Sushi, etc etc. We tried several meals and all were excellent. The Tepenyaki was particularly good - not cheap but worth a try. Our Chef was charming and prepared excellent food. A lunchtime Italian buffet was an intersting but tasty departure from the Asian food we enjoyed.
There isnt much nearby the Hotel, a small locals Bar and then Cafe Puff Puff about a mile away which is a nice sea view cafe. That doesnt matter however as the nearby Ishigaki Town is a short taxi ride away and there is always a taxi waiting outside the hotel. About 1000 yen into town.
A smarter option is the bus which runs a continual loop from the airport, hotel into town and then up to the beautiful Kariba bay. An unlimited 5 day pass is only 1000 yen and we used it all the time - the buses run all day at about 40 minute intervals. The bus terminal in Ishigaki is very central and right by the Ferry terminal where you can catch ferries to all the nearby islands.
We would very much recommend taking a tour to these islands - the concierge at the hotel can put one together. They are all different and have a lot to see and do. The Ferry ride itself is quite a trip - really fast!
Ishigaki Town is bit rough and ready to look at - the Typhoons mean all the buildings are very stocky and no frilly bits! That said it does have a certain charm, and as with all places it is the people who really make a place and the people here make it a great place. We dont speak Japanese and most locals dont speak any English but we cant recall being made to feel more welcome anywhere, by everyone we encountered.
Even in Restaurants without a photo picture of the food we somehow made ourselves understood, and I would encourage all non-Japanese speakers to get out amongst the locals and give it a go - they will really appreciate you and help you make sense of everything. A basic phrae book or App is a useful tool and enough to get by with locals helpful attitude. There are loads of different bars and restaurants in Ishigaki town, there is a matrix of central streets full of them. The whole place feels very safe and friendly.
Back at the hotel the concierge staff mostly speak good English and can really help you navigate your way around. We had a fantastic trip to the Island and the Hotel was the ideal base to enjoy it from.
We would very much recommend the Hotel and would love to return.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- This Okinawa hotel offers the perfect chance to relax alongside the tranquil waters of Maesato Beach. The rich cultural traditions, abundant coral reefs, distinctive regional foods and the natural warmth of its people make this island getaway an unforgettable destination. Within easy reach of Ishikagi Airport, this is your chance to discover a Japan you never imagined. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Ana Intercontinental Ishigaki Hotel Ishigaki
- Ana Hotel Ishigaki
- ANA Intercontinental Ishigaki Resort Japan - Okinawa Prefecture