I can tell you first hand that the serenity, Japanese elegance, impeccable service, and most of all, privacy of the Nobu Ryokan on Malibu’s Carbon Beach are striking because it’s so close—yet worlds away—from the multi-lane mania of the Pacific Coast Highway. Warm feelings of escape began when General Manager Janelle Eng welcomed me at the door. And you can see for yourself in this video. But that was nothing compared to the feeling of peace, awe, and ease I experienced when she showed me to my large room on the second floor.
The entire hotel is inspired by the minimalist aesthetic of a traditional Japanese ryokan (inn) and built to the highest possible standards. Each of Nobu Ryokan’s 16 rooms—filled with copious amounts of teak woodwork, bronze fixtures, limestone, and custom-built furnishings—provides a unique, sensational experience.
High-profile guests are encouraged to feel completely at ease on the lavishly built teak patio near the central courtyard overlooking the ocean and they never have to worry about privacy because the hotel and patio are open only to guests.
First-floor garden rooms blur the line between indoors and out with private patio spaces, outdoor fireplaces, lush gardens, and soothing stones imported from Japan. You can’t get any closer to the ocean than the beachfront rooms, which feature king beds, enormous flat-screen TVs, and large private decks that are literally built over Malibu beach. All the bathrooms are filled with natural light and are equipped with gorgeous, handmade teak soaking tubs (a ryokan hallmark), limestone showers, bath products that even the most discerning guest will enjoy, and high-tech, hands-free electronic toilets that are smarter than you can imagine.
For me, nothing compares with the view from my second-floor ocean room. Lots of exclusive “oceanfront” rooms have what I’d call a two-dimensional view: essentially limited by the rectangle you see beyond sliding glass doors or from a balcony. But the room I was lucky enough to call home had large glass walls on two perpendicular sides that allowed me to ponder the waves breaking on the beach and see the entire coastline all the way up to Santa Monica and beyond without even getting out of bed. Of course, the view from the private wraparound deck was better, but the view from the deck’s teak soaking tub was simply the best. It’s the only room with an outdoor soaking tub, and that’s why it’s unofficially called the “rock star” room.
But the simple truth is every guest is treated like a rock star. Janelle and her staff do more than just provide good service. They’re warm and friendly. They truly understand what their high-profile guests need (including strict privacy) and pride themselves in being able to deliver whatever is desired by those who can afford rates starting at $2,000 per night with a two-night minimum. Of course that means everything from the valet parking to the mini bar to use of the well-equipped fitness room is included.
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