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“Nice location with some kind of focus on art, staff seems to have prejudice against foreigners”

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River Retreat Garaku
Ranked #3 of 64 Hotels / Ryokan in Toyama
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 9 November 2016

Revisited the place after ten years again. Art and design are great, rooms (except the suites) are not much outstanding though. Food is OK, though the Japanese course is definitely preferable to the French dinner, which appears to very artificial (trying to push local cuisine into French style does not work with every dish). Staff definitely is the big minus at that place. Arrived in the taxi and had to carry the luggage to the reception by ourself. When we waited for our room keys and had the welcome drinks, staff focused on my wife assuming that I don't speak Japanese. Same in restaurants and bar. Would not go there again.

Room Tip: Avoid the standard rooms
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Stayed: October 2016, travelled with family
2  Thank BusinessTravelerSE
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
リバーリトリート雅楽倶, 支配人 at River Retreat Garaku, responded to this reviewResponded 4 December 2016

Dear BusinessTravelerSE san

Thank you for sharing your informative review on TripAdvisor.It's disappointing to read your comments regarding your unpleasant experience at the hotel.We'd like to sincerely apologize to you.We will discuss the issues that you've pointed out with our staff to improve their communication skill further.
We appreciate you sharing your concerns and it is our hope that you will give us the opportunity to better serve you in the near future.

Sincerely.

RIVER RETREAT GARAKU
Fumihiro Matsumiya

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5 - 9 of 115 reviews

Reviewed 4 October 2016

A comfortable retreat to enjoy with in-room private onsen, artistic interior design and decorations, beautiful river view as well as first class service.

We had French dinner and Japanese breakfast.

Delicate presentation of the cuisines at the French dinner. However, the beef, being the main course, was hard, tough and tasteless.

We were also disappointed with the Japanese breakfast of unexpected average food selection and taste.

We travelled from Nagoya by train and asked the hotel to arrange a taxi to pick us up at the rail station in the afternoon. When we got off the train, the taxi driver was waiting for us outside the rail station. Nice scenery along the river in the 30-minute drive to the hotel.

When we checked out, we took the hotel free shuttle to the Toyama Station. Beautiful mountain views of the spectacular Tateyama on the way.

A perfect prologue to Toyama.

  • Stayed: April 2016, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
3  Thank AmyHK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
リバーリトリート雅楽倶, 支配人 at River Retreat Garaku, responded to this reviewResponded 4 December 2016

Dear AmyHK san

Thank you for reviewing about your stay on TripAdvisor. It's great to hear that you enjoyed the atmosphere and decor of the hotel. However,we're terribly sorry about your dining experience at the restaurants.
We will discuss your comments with our kitchen team.
And appreciate you bringing this to our attention.

We hope we can welcome you back again.

Sincerely.

RIVER RETREAT GARAKU
Fumihiro Matsumiya

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Reviewed 23 September 2016 via mobile

Although I researched that Garaku I thought fairly extensively , it lived up to my expectations. The rooms were spectacular and I say rooms because I was fortunate enough to be able to stay in two different rooms on two consecutive nights.

The rooms have names, unique characteristics, and beautiful decor with great views of the river below. As for the food, it was absolutely wonderful. While each of the restaurants is different in atmosphere, food presentation, and food selection, I must say I preferred the Japanese restaurant.

All of the food is locally sourced, even the sake is from Toyama and the glassware for the sake is paired with your selection and it too is Toyama made.

As many have said, this hotel is an art museum and I would love to have purchased the dining room ceramics, glassware, and much of what was in the rooms. I just thought that the taste, the simplicity, the attention to detail throughout the retreat was absolutely perfect.

I had no problems with language since the serving staff in the Japanese restaurant, at least , spoke flawless English. In the gift shop I bought a number of locally made souvenirs so that I really didn't feel I needed to shop much any place else in To. The staff gave me great insights into the glass museum, and the glass factory where I could make my own glassware which I found absolutely what I had hoped I could experience in my short time there.

I highly recommend Garaku to anyone who wants to relax, pamper themselves, and enjoy some of the best food I felt I've ever had anywhere.

Stayed: September 2016, travelled solo
3  Thank Rakkyo318
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
リバーリトリート雅楽倶, 支配人 at River Retreat Garaku, responded to this reviewResponded 4 December 2016

Dear Rakkyo318 san

Thank you very much for your wonderful review.
We're pleased to hear that you enjoyed the stay with us and had a great time in the hotel.
We're looking forword to welcoming you back to the hotel again.

Sincerely.

RIVER RETREAT GARAKU
Fumihiro Matsumiya

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Reviewed 5 June 2016

This hotel is a must if you ever need to stopover in Toyama. The surrounding area was not very interesting but once we stepped inside the hotel, we just WOW all the way to our room. The hotel was like a contemporary art museum with artsy objects and decorations everywhere. The interior of the hotel was really chic - a cool lobby accented in black and white, a cute loft library, marvellously designed stairways…even the souvenir shop was very unique. The hotel is situated along a river and the ambience of the hotel was very relaxing. There was a large bar/lounge area where you can hang out and help yourself to free flow of coffee, tea and soft drinks while enjoying a soothing view of the river. If that's not enough, there are 3 or 4 massage chairs as well as foot massagers outside the public baths in the basement to help you unwind. Our room was beautiful, it was modern and nicely designed. I love the bathroom which has a lovely bathtub overlooking the river.

Hotel staff were very polite and friendly. Upon check-in, female guests were asked to pick out a Kimono of their choice to be worn inside the hotel during their stay. This was nothing new to us, but it was the first time a hotel offered to assist guests if they don't know how to "wear" it. Out of curiosity I requested for assistance and a cheery female staff came to my room and helped me tie a beautiful bow in the back. It looked very nice! One minor issue, the check-in staff forgot to tell us about the free heated stone room (see attached photo), we only found out ourselves much later. By the time we tried to make a reservation it was already fully booked :(

Last but not least, the dinner and breakfast. They were simply exquisite! We had our own private dining room which was beautiful itself and the food was a feast both to the eye and to the stomach. On both occasions we were under the care of 2 servers who spoke perfect English (they studied overseas) and both were most courteous and attentive.

A truly memorable stay!

Room Tip: Pick a room with river view
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  • Stayed: May 2016, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank TPHK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
リバーリトリート雅楽倶, 支配人 at River Retreat Garaku, responded to this reviewResponded 24 June 2016

Dear TPHK san

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Reviewed 15 November 2015 via mobile

We specifically chose this hotel as it looked gorgeous in pics in terms of interior decor and it is in Toyama where we could go to Tateyama easily.

It proved that we chose it correctly as it does not only have the good hardware, but excellent software too!!!

The lobby was stunning with a extremely high ceiling and contemporary decor with a fireplace and a nice view of the river. We were served with welcome drinks upon arrival and they serve free non alcoholic drinks at their designer cafe and bar too. They also have a library on 2nd floor and a terrace on roof top and you can find a lot of interesting art pieces within the whole hotel. Most staff speak English.

We chose the room called 'Thinking Red' as this is the only room with a private sauna and jacuzzi bath! It is huge at 150 sqm and has a outdoor terrace where we could relax in front of a nice river view after sauna and jacuzzi bath! It also has a lounge bed (size of a double bed) and a massage chair for you to relax at the living room! The only areas for improvement are that the shower water pressure can be a bit higher to give a more comfortable shower and the bathroom amenities could be further upgraded to make it a really luxurious hotel.

We had our first dinner at the Japanese restaurant and both food in presentation and quality was excellent except that the portion could be a bit larger since some other guests and we had to take 3-4 bowls of rice to fill up our stomachs! Service staff were all excellent especially Takashi Ito (Charles) who can not only speak fluent English but also very professional and flexible that he specially arranged us Western breakfast on our last day! Breakfast was good too, both Japanese and western ones!

On 2nd night, we arranged dinner at the French restaurant Levo. Although I can't say it's really French cuisine, the decor, food presentation and food quality really gave a wow effect! The forks, knives and spoons are in the drawer of your table, the bread looks like leaves, 3 other kinds of bread made from rice and wheat, etc. They don't only look nice and different but taste really good too!!!

3 things for improvement to be one of the best restaurants would be:

1. they could have more staff who can speak better English
2. our prearranged champagne could have been better coordinated
3. A better kind of beef, for example Hidagyu or other Japanese wagyu beef, with a bigger portion, could make it a perfect meal for us and all!

Anyway, the whole staying and dining experiences were excellent and certainly we will be back!!!

Stayed: November 2015, travelled as a couple
2  Thank jaqu1324
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
リバーリトリート雅楽倶, 支配人 at River Retreat Garaku, responded to this reviewResponded 3 December 2015

Dear Mr. jaqu1324
Thank you for staying with us. We also appreciate you posting your feedback and review. We will use your feedback to make future stays even more enjoyable. We hope you will continue to stay with us when you visit Japan again.

River Retreat GARAKU
General Manager
Daisuke Matsumiya

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about River Retreat Garaku

Address: 56-2 Kasuga, Toyama 939-2224, Toyama Prefecture
Phone Number:
Region: Japan > Chubu > Toyama Prefecture > Toyama
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 64 Hotels / Ryokan in Toyama
Price Range: $313 - $1,567 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — River Retreat Garaku 4*
Number of rooms: 25
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
we've been awarded "four red pavilion, the best comfort hotel" by the Michelin Guide 2016 Toyama • Ishikawa. River Retreat Garaku is a luxury boutique hotel situated on the Jinzu ("Path of the Gods") River in the forested foothills of the Northern Japan Alps. In this sublime setting outside central Toyama City you are enveloped in the unique Japanese aesthetic of nature and art, all within a modern architectural masterpiece. Ever present views of the timeless hills and river are brought through dramatic windows into the lobby, restaurants and guest rooms, which are filled with stunning sight lines, quiet spaces and exquisite art. The spring fed baths, cedar tubs, and colors of traditional Japan are paired with more than 300 pieces of contemporary Japanese art from the owner's extraordinary collection. With only 25 very spacious rooms and suites, each with a different decor, large common spaces, multiple onsen (spa) and aromatherapy facilities, and two exceptional restaurants with traditional Japanese and French/Japanese fusion cuisines, Garaku emphasizes personal attention, relaxation and privacy. L'evo or Evolution is the new nouvelle cuisine French/Japanese fusion restaurant at Garaku where the world class seafood of Toyama Bay and local mountain vegetables are brilliantly combined for a total culinary and aesthetic experience. At Garaku's Japanese restaurant Rakumi ("Enjoy the Taste") you can experience the best of washoku, the traditional Japanese cuisine UNESCO has designated a world cultural asset. Here the chef blends Kanto (Tokyo) and Kansai (Osaka) styles in delectable presentations of elegant simplicity where every ingredient can be savored. Whether you are looking for a memorable experience away from the pressures of the city, want to avoid the rule bound atmosphere of a traditional ryokan or want a romantic getaway, Garaku invites you to come, be pampered, and relax. Imagine visiting the amazing home of a serious art collector where your every wish is granted. This is Garaku. Garaku is conveniently located 20 minutes from the Toyama Airport, 30 minutes from the Hokuriku Shinkansen (bullet train) at Toyama Station, or one hour from Kanazawa Station. ... more   less 
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