IT TOOK ME three attempts to find the valet entrance to Nobu Ryokan. At first pass, I knew exactly where the property was, but that valet stand with the ubiquitous black umbrella was nowhere to be found. I made a U-turn, passed the hotel again, made no advances at getting in and pulled over again to do what any tech-savvy individual would do—Google Nobu Ryokan’s phone number. But, alas, the hotel does not publicize its number. I started to panic, thinking, check in is at 1pm; this is the hottest reservation in town, and I don’t know how to valet. Third time’s the charm, right? As luck would have it, the property’s oversize wooden gate slowly rolled open—the house Range Rover was transporting guests to Geoffrey’s—and I was lucky enough to flag down a valet staff member to let me in. It was like the parting of the Red Sea. Once you find out how to enter (which I am unable to reveal due to privacy reasons), it’s truly comical.
That gate, though, perfectly embodies what Nobu Ryokan is all about: privacy, security and tranquility. “The Ryokan is a very private and protected luxury retreat,” says Janelle Eng, the hotel’s general manager. “We say retreat because you come here and immediately recognize that you’re not on the PCH [anymore]. All you hear is the ocean and there’s nothing else to distract you—it allows everyone to decompress.”
The ocean is indeed the star of the show, and Nobu Ryokan’s Japanese-inspired minimalistic design allows for it to be so. Yes, it’s perched above one of the most coveted strips of Carbon Beach, but the hotel’s 17 suites, expansive relaxation deck and even fitness center ensure that the Pacific is the center of attention. You can’t escape the sound of the waves crashing, and if you’re lucky enough to snag a room with an ocean-hovering balcony, you’ll likely get a nonstop spritz of sea spray—which is completely welcome.
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