Nagasaki has a rich historical background – while it is most widely known for the atomic bomb that devastated the city in World War 2, points of interest dive much deeper back in time. One of the only ports of Japan open to foreigners in years gone by, Nagasaki has a vibrant cultural background which has been influenced by the different nationalities that docked in those waters long ago.
The Portuguese are one such example of foreign influence in the city, and this can be seen at the Hotel Monterey in Nagasaki, which has been built and decorated with a Portuguese influence in mind. So if you’re tired of traditional ryokans and faceless business hotels and fancy something with a bit more class, make a booking to stay at the Monterey during your next visit to Nagasaki!
The Portuguese first landed in Japan in the 1540’s, when they were known as the ‘nanban’ because the Japanese thought they came from the south – a name you may recognise from the deliciously tasty ‘nanban chicken’ – a chicken dish with a sort of tartare sauce on top. The Portuguese brought many things to Japan (such as guns and the popular Castella Cake) and there are still many signs of Portuguese influence around the city to this day. Taking inspiration from this time in history, the 2011 built hotel has been decorated with the blue and white tiles popular in Portugal and included other thoroughly European features like a spectacular enclosed courtyard and European style furnishings.
Simple décor in muted tones make for a peaceful ambiance in the bedrooms of the Monterey. Budget rooms are cozy but not too compact, whereas the most deluxe rooms offer double features and a bit more wiggle room to relax in, especially in the corner rooms. Bathrooms are compact and relatively clean, though foreigners may find the bathtubs a little on the small side – but that is usually the case in Japan!
Prices are reasonable considering the location and quality of the hotel. A single room (with single occupancy) costs 12,600 yen per night, while a deluxe single goes for 13,800 yen – double occupancy available too. Twin/double rooms (with double occupancy) range from 23,600 yen to 39,000 yen per night, depending on whether you opt for the standard twin, corner twin, deluxe twin, classic twin or deluxe corner twin.
Planning your wedding? Fancy a seaside setting full of class, history, and culture? Well, kill two birds with one stone and get married on your trip to Nagasaki in the Chapel Bussola – the Hotel Monterey’s own chapel! The ceiling is decorated with an artistic representation of Nagasaki’s Portuguese sailing history as depicted as a beautiful compass – quite the matrimonial hotspot for any nautical enthusiasts.
Italian restaurant Amalia Salon is a luxurious setting for a romantic meal just footsteps from your bedroom door. Lunch (11:30 – 15:00) is quoted at an average price of 1,500 yen, whereas dinner (17:00 – 21:00 ) will set you back more in the region of 3,000 yen. The Cafe Saudade is a bit more casual, with a meal costing about 800 yen. The buffet breakfast on offer at the Monterey looks pretty good, offering both Western and Japanese dishes, but will set you back 1,500 yen. If you fancy something a bit cheaper, there is a convenience store (the Daily Yamazaki) just a short walk down the road. Both the restaurant and the cafe (and the multi-purpose hall) are available for hire if you are planning a meeting or banquet.
Nagasaki is a fantastic tourist spot, and while the Hotel Monterey isn’t right in the middle of the city, it is placed in a fantastic location if you want to sightsee in the south end of the city – the Glover Garden, Oura Church, Confucius Shrine, Prefectural Art Museum, Dejima and China Town being just a few choice locations. To get to the attractions in the north of the city, just hop on the tram which is barely two minutes walk away from the hotel.
Not the cheapest option by far, but sometimes you just have to treat yourself when you want a nice weekend away – and more often than not you can find a discount deal on one of the hotel booking websites anyway. Nagasaki is a top tourist spot in Japan – there is so much to see and do there – and making your base at the Hotel Monterey is a sure way to get your holiday off to a great start. Oh, and if you do happen to stay there – make sure to take a glance above the doors in the elevator; the gadget they have to indicate which floor you’re on is nostalgically beautiful.