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JAPAN


CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: Sora Suite; the sumptuous bathroom with incredible views; and the Amanemu Spa


AMANEMU


LOCATION: Situated in Ise-Shima National Park, overlooking the pearl-rich Ago Bay, in southwest Japan, Amanemu is a collection of 24 villas and pavilions


scattered across a quiet hilltop. FIRST IMPRESSIONS: Blonde wood, bamboo and stone help create a minka (traditional Japanese building) feel for the luxury villas. Serene and contemporary, the rooms are truly enormous. The bathrooms feature two large mirrored sinks that are not side by side, as in other hotels, but back to back, giving you space to preen yourself without bumping into your other half. The pièce de résistance – and one of the highlights of any trip to Japan – is the amazing lavatory: self-opening with a warm seat, it washes you, plays music and even flushes itself. Every home should have one – an all-singing, all-dancing toilet.


50 — aspire september 2017


THE FACTS: A golf-buggy ride from the main building is the huge spa, which is designed around a large salt-infused, mineral-rich onsen. The spa also features two private onsen pavilions, a watsu pool and four treatment suites offering traditional Japanese therapies using locally-grown plants and herbs. You’ll be pleased to know that swimwear is mandatory in Amanemu’s onsens – unless you decide to take a private one, then everything can come off. The 30-metre outdoor infinity pool, fringed by comfy daybeds, overlooks the surrounding forested hills and the waters of Ago Bay. The yoga and fitness studios have all the latest mod cons, and open up to a deck, so the classes enjoy the feel of being one with nature. The restaurant serves locally- grown ingredients that make up Japanese cuisine at its finest. And if you want to indulge in the best Wagyu beef in the world, you’re in the right place.


WOW: The scene-stealer was having my very own onsen in the bathroom. The deep, square, stone bath – with taps for hot, cold and onsen (spring water) – meant I could enjoy a mineral-rich spring bath in the morning, at lunch and before a great night’s sleep with the most amazing view from the large window in the bathroom. If your client is looking for somewhere peaceful and tranquil, where you hardly ever see another guest – this is the place for them. The happy and polite staff seem to appear magically whenever you need them, like your very own genie.


BOOK IT A stay at Amanemu in a two-bedroom Nagi Villa costs from £760 per night including breakfast and transfer from Kashikojima Station. amanemu.com


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