The Prince of hotels
Trip Start Jul 06, 2011
20Trip End Jul 24, 2011
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Down the bloody steps to the subway (after Al escaped his trip up and down the hotel lifts).
Only an hour trip today but we're on a N700 Shinkansen again although a 3+2 car again. Think it's a JR East but might be JR Central. Must only be JR West that runs the 2+2 reserved normal cars. You're all thinking "what on earth is he talking about?".
Catch a couple of glimpses of Mt Fuji as we race towards Odawara. Apart from wearing a white hat, it's pretty much totally clear
The Prince has its own bus from Odawara station back out to Hakone-machi and we're on board and on our way by just after 11.30, along with a whole lot of Japanese heading, for a bit of luxury up by the lake.
It was a lonnnnnnnnnnnnnnnng way up and that bus flew up the mountain.
Finally up to 'Hakone' (the general area) and then down again to Lake Ashinoko. Drove through a couple of small towns (Moto-Hakone and ?) just packed with people and cars. Public holiday today so lots of people up visiting just for the day. Could actually have been better (from a 'more dining options' perspective) than the Prince as it is out on it's own, but no view of Fujiyama and that's what this overnighter is all about.
Arrive at The Prince Hakone and oh my god!!! Reminds me of my one visit to the Park Hyatt in Sydney. Know that check-in is 3pm and expect to just leave our bags and head off but told our room is ready and off we go with a porter (male) and another person (a guide?), both very good looking, through the absolutely MAGNIFICENT lobby and hallway
Two round towers of rooms and we have of course booked the cheapest room available cos the others were wayyyyy expensive.
Nevertheless the room is humungous and fabulous, even if we are looking across the roof of a walkway back to the main building.
No time to dwell in the room. Need to get some pics of Mt Fuji (if it's not hiding). From down by the lake we get a few snaps then head through the serenity and style of the hotel and out into the weirdness that is the shopping arcade and crap shops and cafes that is just outside the door (but still part of the greater Prince Resort).
There's an aquarium that I know I would want to blow up if I went inside so we settle on the ropeway (read cable car) up the nearby mountain.
Surprisingly ok with the 1.7km ride up to the top, unlike many of our fellow riders who hate the jolt and sway as it goes over the pylons
The images of impending disaster brought on by the concrete cancer on the back of the building at the top are only blocked out by the views of Mt Fuji. What they would be like on a clear winter's day. Even peaking through the clouds it is an amazing sight.
Back down to the hotel, book the bus back to Odawara for tomorrow, the Japanese restaurant for dinner and off to the open air onsen. We notice the sign about no body art and show her our tats and she pulls a funny face then covers her eyes and waves us through.
The onsen was beautiful but the water in both pools was wayyyyy hot and we didn't last that long. Not as many people as the one in Osaka so a bit less daunting. Was quite beautiful looking out across the lake though anyone on the many cruise boats who happened to have binoculars could get quite an eyeful.
When we'd booked dinner I was given two times - 5.30 or 7.30. Seemed a bit odd and that set the tone for the whole dinner. The restaurant was cavernous, cold, too well lit, noisy even with the very few people in there (no soft furnishings) and I'll say again, odd
Although our waitress was wonderful, it all seemed a bit twee and rehearsed. Forgot our wine. We were asked just before 8 (yes 8!) if we would be wanting anything else as the kitchen was closing (what the?).
The food was beautifuly presented but made the small servings made famous by nouvelle cuisine look huge. With the two glasses of wine (cheapest bottle was JPY7000 I think) the meal was over 13,000. Ouch. The hotel offers an internet package that includes breakfast and dinner but no matter how hard I tried I could not submit a booking. The hotel was no help when I contacted them asking for help and I suppose why would they be - it was 25,900 and we ended up paying over 31,000 by having to pay for dinner seperately. Lesson learned. Reads like we didn't enjoy the evening but strangely enough we did.