Japan’s Newest and Most Romantic Ritz Carlton


We have always dreamed of staying at the Ritz Carlton (Who hasn’t?) and when we heard about a brand new Ritz opening in the gorgeous Nago Bay, Okinawa we had to make it north for a honeymoon stay. Set along the East China Sea and on the award-winning Kise golf course, the Ritz Carlton Okinawa is a place of total tranquility and utter decadence. We tend to be adventure honeymooners, packing in all activities possible, but between the resort’s gourmet restaurants, unbelievable spa, luxe suites, and gorgeous grounds…we could barely bring ourselves to leave.

01-Ritz-Carlton-car-serviceThe Ritz is basically the gold standard in customer-service and this fact shined through from the moment our chauffeur met us at the airport. Kota-san opened the door to our private vehicle, prepared with cool towels, bottles of water, cable TV (we love the sumo sports channel!), and international newspapers for the smoothest 75-minute ride from Naha to Nago.  


We walked into the lobby and gasped it was so chic. The white coral walls, sky-high ceilings, and contemporary furnishings were divine and with the ocean breeze wafting through space, we were ready to move in.

Perhaps our favorite thing about the hotel is the presence of water. It has fountains, reflection pools, infinity pools, and streams running through the property creating reflections that seem to blur the lines of ocean and sky.

We checked into our room and we felt like royalty coming home. It was spacious beyond belief with a full living room, dining area, queen-size bed, writing desk, entertainment center, coffee bar, his-and-her bathroom and jacuzzi tub. To add to the warm welcome, the chef prepared a sampling of incredible desserts and the GM left us a handwritten note of congratulations.

In a room of wonderful western conveniences, we also loved to see the all the thoughtful Japanese touches. The handpainting in the alcove is reminiscent of the scrolls in Japanese homes and in that gorgeous black lacquer Nespresso and martini bar, there were lovely hand-blown glasses by local artisans.

No photo, no adjective can fully describe the sheer deliciousness of our dinner at Kise. Specializing in Teppan-yaki cuisine, this Ritz restaurant is where you sit in front of the chef’s grill and watch the artistry of the preparation and smell of the budding aromas tickle your nose.


There were eight courses that blew our minds and bellies– Okinanwan filet with Wah salad, grilled lobster, and kettle-cooked pork to name a few. Even something straight-forward like a cheese platter was brought to a new level of culinary brilliance. Our chef lightly grilled each piece making them ooze with flavor then drizzled them with a sherry reduction for a plate that was almost too pretty to eat!

The next morning we woke up to our view of the lush golf course and the East China sea (the hotel was actually designed so every room gets to enjoy an ocean view). We had our coffee on the patio then had a soak in our window-side tub to enjoy the views a little more.

The Ritz Carlton Okinawa is a place of relaxation but if you are feeling ambitious, there are plenty of activities in the nearby area from Yamburu forest treks to the Nago Bay Aquarium to the Helios Distillery Tour. We opted for Helios to learn about the Okinawan specialty drink….Awamori. With history dating back 600 years, Awamori is a liquor made from Thai rice distilled in copper tanks and aged in oak barrels for anywhere from 1 to 150 years. This stuff is potent but quite tasty on the rocks.

Feeling warm and fuzzy from our sampling of awamori, we decided to go for stroll on the beach below the hotel. The golden sand, rock formations and views down the shore to Nago City were just splendid.

11-_RitzCarltonOkinawaBarAfter another incredible dinner we decided to take dessert in the Bar. We were escorted to this sultry lounge to enjoy our fresh mint tea and Okinawa mango pudding with a little privacy.

12-_ESPA-lobbyWe had heard such incredible things about ESPA that we booked a 120-minute couples massage upon arrival. Guests who receive this Ocean Shell Body Treatment are asked to arrive an hour before the appointment and in all other things in life, this would seem like a pain but in the realm of spas, this becomes an extra hour of bliss.

13-_ESPA Honeymoon treatment
Our Forest Suite had a patio overlooking the Yamburu forest, steam room, sauna and best of all…a hot stone bath with a champagne on ice. We could have died and gone to heaven right then and there but after we were thoroughly steamed and soaked, we were rubbed head to toe with hot sea shells and sent into a deeper state of euphoria.

We knew our stay at the Ritz Carlton Okinawa would be good, but this good? Only in our dreams.

Much love from Nago Bay,
Anne & Mike

Note: Ritz Carlton Okinawa invited us to be their guests; however, all opinions are our own.

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