River Retreat Garaku is an absolute gem of a hotel located at a bend in the river at the base of the hills that form the backdrop to the port city of Toyama. If you're lucky enough to call this property your home away from home for a few days, enjoy it. It's a wonderful setting-off point for the Tateyama-Kurobe alpine route, with Tateyama station about 40-mins away by car.
The grounds are nothing short of stunning, beautifully manicured, and feature artwork and sculptures from the owner's private collection. The building itself is very modern and sits in contrast to the remarkably lush surroundings, but it has a welcoming atmosphere that is very pleasing to the senses.
The property itself has a relatively small number of very spacious rooms, so even if you're traveling with a family, you're sure to be comfortable. We booked a suite which was thoroughly luxurious and had a full-range of top-quality trimmings. It was the most comfortable we felt our entire trip and had we had more time we would have gladly stayed for longer.
The Japanese restaurant is, as you would expect, very high end here, and while the prices do reflect it, the whole experience, food & service, is totally top-drawer, so you're getting what you pay for.
Last but not least, the service here is everything you would expect. The essence of sophisticated, yet understated, overall wonderful Japanese hospitality. Charming folks who really put their heart into providing a great experience for their guests. You can tell they know the place is special and the pride they take in it shows.
Overall, a truly fine stay was had at River Retreat Garaku, and if our travels ever bring us back to this corner of Japan, there is no doubt we'll be staying here again. Just wonderful.
- 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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