If you’re looking for a breather from the bustling city life, Nara is a perfect destination to wind down and recuperate. The capital of Japan from 710 to 784 prior to its relocation to Kyoto, Nara played an important role in Japanese history and remains at the epicentre of traditional Japanese culture, with some of the country’s most sacred temples and shrines.
The majestic city proudly homes three UNESCO World Heritage Sites across a total of 20 individual venues. Between these monuments, you’ll discover herds of wild sika deer freely roaming around, both in the national park and on the streets.
Located a short distance from the renowned Nara Park, the JW Marriott Hotel Nara is an ideal starting point to visit the wide variety of attractions throughout the city. Marking JW Marriott’s debut property in Japan, the luxury hotel has partnered with global design firm GA Group to bring in architectural elements that emulate the calm and gentle ambience that continuously captivates each and every person who steps foot into this beauty.
As you enter the hotel, you’re greeted by rustic timber beams that line the ceiling, emulating the distinctive features found in the temples and homes of Nara.
A fabric backdrop framed behind the reception area adds to the mood and depicts the hills surrounding Nara, accented in gold thread. This theme of humans and nature as one is interwoven throughout the hotel’s interiors. If you look closely, you’ll notice how the organic lines in the carpeting paint a close reference to the surrounding landscapes, such as the reflections of the rain pools on Nara’s hillsides.
Rooms and dining
The JW Marriott Hotel Nara houses 158 rooms, including 16 luxurious suites featuring warm, neutral tones similarly found in the traditional homes of Nara. You’re assured of a rested stay, with JW Marriott’s finest services and facilities, curated to deliver a holistic experience.
The enjoyment you get from a heartfelt meal is universal, so the hotel offers an array of local and international cuisines to cater to your appetite. From all-day dining venue Silk Road Dining to speciality Japanese restaurant Azekura, and to the Flying Stag lobby lounge, each meal tantalises your taste buds, as you relish authentically local flavours made with fresh produce and ingredients.
Spa by JW
With your cravings sorted, perhaps it’s time to wind down with a signature spa treatment at the luxurious Spa by JW, or get a sweat going and feel re-energised after a workout at the hotel’s 24-hour fitness centre and indoor swimming pool. Whatever your fancy, there’s plenty to do on and off the premises to nourish your body and mind.
The first guest: Hidetoshi Nakata
To commemorate as the international luxury hotel brand’s debut in Japan, JW Marriott had the honour of inviting style connoisseur Hidetoshi Nakata as the first guest.
Known for his prowess on the pitch, few might know that the former footballer is deeply involved in promoting Japanese culture to the world through his passion for sake and his committed engagements with local communities – having travelled to every one of Japan’s 47 prefectures, which spanned the course of seven years.
Like the deer of Nara, his presence is a symbol of the excellence of Japan. Below, Nakata shares the lasting impressions the hotel had on him.
As a professional globetrotter who has stayed in countless luxury hotels, what do you value the most when it comes to accommodation?
The place where I sleep, as well as the bathroom area and the closet area, are the key points I note when I stay somewhere. It has to be clean, functional and comfortable.
Since you were the very first guest at the JW Marriott Hotel Nara, could you tell us about the impressions it left?
My impression was that everything – including the architecture, the design, the interiors and the furniture – is well-crafted. I feel this hotel is not just a place to stay, but also a central purpose for visiting the destination.
What captivates you the most about Nara, which retains the beauty of numerous heritage sites?
Nara has quite a few attractions in addition to the historical heritage sites that Japan can proudly present – it is home to some of the most treasured Japanese sake brands, traditional crafts, temples and shrines. The surrounding areas, including Kyoto and Osaka, have been proactively promoting their own regions to world-class standards.
Now, the JW Marriott Hotel Nara corresponds to the city’s historical and cultural elements and stunning attractions, finally fulfilling what the town has truly deserved for a long time. In addition to Nara Park, it’s highly recommended that you visit the temples of Tōdai-ji and Kōfuku-ji, Isuien Garden and Kasuga Grand Shrine, and take in the beautiful scenery and the abundant greenery deep in the hills.
Visit JW Marriott Hotel Nara’s website for room rates and availability.