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Hakone Retreat Före Review: Rates, Where to Book

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Japan is one of the world’s premier travel destinations. The Land of the Rising Sun is steeped in history, culture, stunning scenery, and ancient traditions. It’s a country where the old meets the new, with vibrant, modern cities and sleepy villages that time forgot.

But a visit to Japan can sometimes be overstimulating, particularly when exploring bustling destinations like Tokyo, Yokohama, and Osaka. Thankfully, Japan is also famous for its hot springs, and there are plenty of options available to relax, unwind, and recharge.

Onsen is the Japanese name for these bathing facilities, and the country boasts some 25,000 hot spring locations scattered across its islands. Of these, I was lucky enough to stay at the Hakone Retreat Före, and it was such a pleasant experience I wanted to share it with you.

Read on for a full explanation of this stunning hot spring bath hotel, including location, property amenities, spa treatments, food & drink options, and booking information.

Visiting the onsen is one of the best things to do in Japan, and I hope this article encourages you to try the one at Hakone Retreat Före. After my brief but wonderful two-night stay, I returned ready to face the world again. I’m sure you will, too.

What is the Hakone Retreat Före?

Garden view in Hakone Retreat Fore
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Formerly known as the Nest Inn Hakone, Hakone Retreat Före is a hotel, spa, and wellness center located at a traditional Japanese hot spring bath. Run by the Onko Chishin hotel brand, it’s a luxury retreat that offers guests the chance to get away from it all, with access to a private onsen.

Set in beautiful woodland, you’ll find 11 private villas, architecturally designed to work in harmony with the natural world around them. With a soundscape of birdsong, your Hakone Retreat Före villa is a peaceful place tucked away in the mountains, and the perfect destination for leaving all your worries and cares behind.

Hakone Retreat Före Location

Lounge Seats in Hakone Retreat Fore
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Address: 250-0631 Kanagawa, Hakone, Sengokuhara 1286-116, Japan

On my first arrival at the Hakone Retreat Före, I was struck by how secluded it felt, although it’s still close to the town of Hakone. Situated in the shadow of Mount Hakone (a complex volcano), the retreat is nestled in the leafy Sengokuhara district of Honshu Island. As part of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, you can see views of Japan’s more famous volcano from the area.

At the retreat itself, you’re about 1.5 hours Southwest of Tokyo, and 50 minutes from Odawara Station. Hakone is a mountainous town famous for its hot springs, and it offers plenty of accommodation options for the weary traveler. You can check out more of the best Ryokans in Hakone at that link, but for me, the Retreat Före is a cut above.

Hakone Retreat Före Amenities

Garden Table and Chairs in Hakone Retreat Fore
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

The hotel has an abundance of world-class facilities and amenities to make your stay as comfortable as possible. Free in-room WiFi is included, and free WiFi can be found in public areas such as lounges, restaurants, and coffee shops.

Rooms feature air conditioning, private bathrooms, a kettle and electric milk frother, free toiletries, and room service. You’ll also find hair dryers, mini-fridges, and a Bluetooth audio system.

The lodging facility offers a variety of room types, each with its own unique design and amenities. There’s a luxury double room with a wood-burning stove for romantic nights with a loved one.

A suite with a stunning terrace. A villa with a private, open-air bath. A parking lot is available in case you rent a car, complete with an electric vehicle charging point. Note that there are no TVs in any of the rooms – the retreat is designed to help you switch off and unplug.

For eats, Western and Japanese restaurants are available on-site. Try the French-style Woodside Restaurant for fresh, locally sourced ingredients with a European twist. There’s a lounge cafe open all day offering free coffee and tea, and the buffet breakfast is exceptional, so don’t miss that.

And it wouldn’t be a wellness retreat without some pampering. The Könoha Spa offers guests the works, with facial and massage packages to ease all your troubles away.

Holistic aromatherapy and hot stone treatments are also available, and everything is done in the blissfully tranquil surroundings of the Hakone Forest. They take rest and relaxation seriously in these parts, so let them help you to feel human again.

Hot Spring Bath Facilities

Hot Spring Bath in HAKONE RETREAT FÖRE by Onko Chishin
HAKONE RETREAT FÖRE by Onko Chishin / Booking.com

The hot springs in the region are sourced from Mount Hakone volcano and are said to have healing properties. The retreat’s onsen is open until 11 p.m., which is ideal for relaxing after a long day of sightseeing. Some of the rooms also feature a private hot spring bath if you prefer to keep to yourself.

On the other side of the resort, you have access to a shared onsen called the ‘birdbath.’ I had a quick look and thought it was lovely.

Indoor and outdoor onsens are available, and views of Mount Hakone can be seen from the outdoor bath. There are indoor mineral hot springs with separate male and female areas, and Yukata robes and slippers are provided in each room.

Hakone Retreat Före Rates

Entrance to Hakone Retreat Fore
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

At the time of writing, the price for a deluxe double room with a shower was $837 for two people for two nights. A suite with a terrace will set you back around $1,474 for two people for two nights. And the deluxe double with wood-burning stove is a cool $942 for two people for two nights.

Rates are subject to change and vary depending on the size of your group, the type of room you book, and the time of year. The property accepts credit cards and cash, and a credit card, debit card, or cash deposit may be required at check-in for incidental charges.

Note that this is a luxury retreat and is priced accordingly. Japan isn’t exactly the cheapest country in the world either! Check out our article on the best cheap places to travel if you’re looking for something a little more budget-friendly.

See Related: Do Hotels Take Cash? Important Things to Know

How to Book at the Hakone Retreat Före

View of Villas in Hakone Retreat Fore
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

There are several ways to book a stay at the Hakone Retreat Före, and it’s worth shopping around to find the best deals.

Try Booking.com or Hotels.com for starters, both of which can sometimes offer discounts of up to 50%, with free cancellation. Alternatively, you can book directly with the retreat, although you might find prices are more expensive if you go down this route.

Once your booking is confirmed, contact the property immediately to let them know your plans, the number of registering guests, expected arrival time, and any special check-in instructions to receive a tailor-made service.

My Hakone Retreat Före Review

Living Room on a Villa in Hakone Retreat Fore
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Retreat staff always greet guests on arrival and we received a warm welcome. Let them know if you’re arriving by bus, and they can help you get your luggage to the top of the slope in a golf cart.

At check-in, we were given a cup of tea and a snack while we waited for our belongings. Everything seemed to be taken care of right from the start, and staying here was a much-needed respite after the frenzy of the previous sightseeing days.

We needed to feel completely cut off from the outside world, and the Hakone Retreat Före delivered. Hands down the best onsen experience I’ve ever had, this is a standout among the city’s hot springs.

I was enchanted by both the natural surroundings and the stunning buildings. Whoever designed it knew exactly what they were doing.

Our Villa

Room of a Villa in Hakone Retreat Fore
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Our vacation house was incredible. The amenities are world-class, and the situation is spectacular. No matter where you are in the resort, you’ll have stunning views of the mountain, and it’s impossible to do it justice in the photographs.

Inside, the decor is sleek and minimal. There’s nothing superfluous here, as an uncluttered space helps unclutter the mind. The rooms are spotless, and serious kudos must go to the cleaning staff.

Child and Pet Policies

Children over the age of 18 months are welcome. Pets are not allowed at the retreat, but there is an exception for service animals.

If in doubt, contact the retreat directly to avoid any unnecessary difficulties. Rooms are not equipped with cribs, but sofa beds can be provided for groups of three or more. The availability of extra beds is dependent on the type of room you book.

Guest Reviews

List of Guest Reviews at okcs Retreat Hakone före
HAKONE RETREAT FÖRE by Onko Chishin / Booking.com

I’m not the only one waxing lyrical about this lovely hotel and wellness center. With a current score of 8.7 on Booking.com, the Hakone Retreat Före has garnered an excellent reputation. Guests are particularly fond of the retreat’s mountain location, on-site onsen facilities, and the kind and courteous staff.

Visitors also love the hotel cafe, the “outstanding” breakfast buffet, and the quality and choice of the food on offer. The tranquil setting among lush green trees is also a particular highlight, and this is a must-stay destination for anyone who loves being in nature.

If you’re looking for a unique experience and don’t mind spending a little more, I suggest booking a stay here. This is one of the best onsen resorts I have ever stayed in, and I highly recommend it.

Hakone Attractions

Shrine in Lake Ashinoko in Hakone, Japan
Pavel / Adobe Stock

Outside the walls of the retreat, there is plenty to see and do if you fancy stretching your legs and getting back into the world. Hakone is a tiny village in the hills that still has much to offer. Backpackers, explorers, and other tourists seeking a break from the insanity of Tokyo can journey to this sleepy hamlet to get away from it all.

The Hakone Venetian Glass Museum is just eight minutes from your front door. The Pola Museum of Art is also nearby, but the retreat will offer you a ride if you don’t want to walk to either. Don’t miss the breathtaking Hakone Shrine.

This iconic red gate sits on the shores of Lake Ashi and feels like something out of a dream. And of course, you’re not too far away from the towering Mount Fuji, which is one of the main reasons to visit Japan in the first place.

If you don’t fancy a stay at the retreat itself, you can always do a day trip from Tokyo to explore Hakone and enjoy a Lake Ashi cruise. Private tours are also available, and nature walks are popular for basking in Hakone’s beautiful countryside.

FAQs

Exterior and Villa Entrance  in Hakone Retreat Fore
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

How many onsens (hot springs) are in Hakone?

The area has seventeen hot spring sources, known as the Hakone Ju-nana-yu.

What is the best onsen in Hakone?

One of the nicest onsens in Hakone, if not the entire country, is Hakone Retreat Före. There are other onsens in Hakone to consider, and you may want to shop around if you want a more traditional ryokan experience. But this incredible hotel is hard to beat when it comes to some quality R&R.

Do onsens allow tattoos?

Sadly, no. Like practically every public pool or bath in Japan, tattoos are forbidden.

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