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Thursday, March 10, 2016

Hotel Lido Azzurro on Hachijo-jima Island

ホテル・リード・アズーロ 八丈島

 Hotel Lido Azzurro, Hachijo Island, Tokyo.
Hotel Lido Azzuro, Hachijo-jima Island, with "Hachijo Mt. Fuji" in the background

We recently spent a couple of very pleasant days on Hachijo-jima (Hachijo Island). If you live in the Kanto area, Hachijojima is a very easy destination whose isolation and almost jungle-like scenery make it feel a lot further from Tokyo than it really is (i.e., 50 minutes by plane from Haneda Airport).

Hachijo-jima is busiest in summer, but even in mid-winter, when we visited, it was considerably warmer than in Tokyo and most its tourist facilities were very much up and running. Scuba diving is a big draw for tourists to Hachijo-jima, and there are numerous dive shops, all located within a few minutes' drive of the airport, a little north of the main settlement of Mitsune. (Although, having said that, pretty much everything on tiny Hachijo-jima is within a few minutes' drive from the airport!) However, the dive shops alone looked to be in low-season mode, as the weather was cloudy and the sea a little rough.

Annex, Hotel Lido Azzurro, Hachijo Island, Tokyo.
Annex, Hotel Lido Azzurro
There is plenty of accommodation on Hachijo-jima - mostly in the form of minshuku. Minshuku are fine if you're by yourself, but often being family-run affairs the personal touch can be a bit claustrophobic when you're a couple, so we went for a hotel: the Hotel Lido Azzurro, about 10 minutes' drive (4 km) from the airport, on the east coast of the northern half of the island.

Like almost everything on Hachijo Island, the hotel was easy to miss when driving and, like almost everywhere we went, we initially overshot it. (I got very good at doing quick three-point turns on Hachijo Island - quickness being necessary as the undulating terrain makes for limited visibility on roads.) The hotel had plenty of parking.

The Hotel Lido Azzurro is only about a decade old, and although it has something of a prefab look about it, it is spacious, has all the facilities you need, and, best of all, had great service.

Annex lounge, Annex, Hotel Lido Azzurro, Hachijo Island, Japan.
Annex lounge, Hotel Lido Azzurro, Hachijo Island

Reception was welcoming, polite and efficient. However, our first impression let us down in that, upon being given our key, we were instructed to go right to the end of the ground floor corridor and out the door at the end. On exiting the door, we found ourselves under a concrete stairway feeling as if we'd been banished out the back. In front of us was a lawn with no real pathway, and a very plain-looking pink bungalow on the other side of it.

This turned out to be the annex, and we felt a bit hard done by until we actually entered the building and discovered a huge, comfortable lounge with guest rooms coming off it. We had to take off our shoes at the entrance of the annex and put on slippers, and when we entered our room we realized we'd truly struck it good.

Like the hotel lobby and the annex lounge, our room was huge! The bedroom was big and the bathroom was big, with enough storage space in both areas to accommodate half a dozen people's belongings.
Annex guest room, Hotel Lido Azzurro, Hachijo Island, Japan.
Annex guest room, Hotel Lido Azzurro, Hachijojima, Japan

There was free wi-fi, which was fast and reliable. When we needed a fruit knife we called reception and it was delivered within two minutes with a big, hospitable smile. The beds were comfortable, the room was spotlessly clean, and everything worked.

Our room was only meters from the sea, so we had a great ocean view from the window. And there is a path leading right down to the sea, through the black lava rock - and even a seat to enjoy the view from.

View from the annex,  Hotel Lido Azzurro, Hachijo Island, Tokyo, Japan.
View of the sea from the annex, Hotel Lido Azzurro, Hachijo-jima Island
The hotel has an outdoor pool, but the weather being dull and the temperatures not exactly hot, we didn't use it.

So for a comfortable stay on a moderate budget, we felt that the Hotel Lido Azzurro was one of the better places we've stayed at.

Book accommodation at the Hotel Lido Azzurro

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