I recently had an opportunity to experience the Spa at the New Otani Hotel in Tokyo Japan. The Japanese treat spas a little differently than in the western world. The “Spa” for all that the word represents is something that is an integral part of Japanese life, particularly for women. Not treated so much as a luxury item even though it can be expensive to experience one depending on where you are, life in the sauna or hot tub is an important part of health, relaxation and down time.
Spas are also more formal than they are in the states and even Europe, where I find the service to also be a notch above the U.S. The New Otani Hotel is a luxurious stay (see our write-up on the property which we loved and would definitely recommend, including having a meal at any of their on-site restaurants – YUM!!). The spa at the New Otani is an extensive of that luxury — from the offerings, the service and the amenities.
Use of the spa includes rental fee for gym wear, swimsuits, towel, and bathrobe which of course they expect you to have in the west. To give you an idea of how formal they take the spa experience, they state on their website that “Guests with tattoos are not admitted in the Golden Spa.”
You also must be 18 years of age or older to use the spa and it is required that you “wear swimsuits with adequate coverage.” I found that amusing of course but in case yours is too skimpy, you can rent them on-site upon request. These “rules” are an extension of Japanese culture, which I absolutely respect. It isn’t really any different than the knee socks you’re expected to wear on a Scottish golf course (or a South African one), at least in my experiences which was now quite a few years ago. It’s what defines a culture and makes you cherish one. Enuf said!
The interior set of two side by side mini jacuzzi pools was my favorite part of the spa. Inside the same room, there’s a steam room and sauna which you can rotate between all afternoon if you’d like.
The changing room area for women is adjacent to what I’ll refer to as the preparation area, essentially a section with mirrors and mini stools for grooming of sorts before or after using the spa.
There is also a sitting area as well as an extensive exercise facility and fitness center where you can work out. There’s a private one you can use if you’re staying on one of the Executive Floors or a main one which has more flexible hours in which you can work out in the main building. I tried both btw – the main difference is that the private one has exclusive but limited hours and is obviously much less crowded.
Other facilities and services include facials, massage and esthetic treatments. They also have tennis courts and a golf driving range which is great for the adventurers and sports enthusiasts among us.
Personally I found the experience unusually interesting and felt that my time there was not just respected but I had to respect “it” which made me look at the spa experience a little differently…..in an absolutely good way :-)
A We Blog the World 2 Thumbs Up!!
THE GOLDEN SPA NEW OTANI
4-1 Kioi-Cho, Chiyoda-Ku
Tokyo 102-0094, Japan
Note: I was hosted by the hotel but all opinions expressed here are entirely my own.