The Luxe List 2012, Japan: Ritz-Carlton Okinawa,Nago

At Japan’s southern extreme, Okinawa entices with 160 sun-kissed islands—yet not one international luxury hotel had put down stakes before the arrival of these 97 guest rooms on the archipelago’s main island. Those who visit the rebuilt castle of Shuri-jo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Naha City, will recognize similarities with the design at the Ritz-Carlton, starting with the hotel’s gently sloping clay-tiled roofs and continuing inside to its motifs and ponds.

Zen-like guest rooms do their part, too, with calming light-wood furnishings and unobstructed views of Yanbaru Forest or the Motobu Peninsula. Meditate on these green or blue panoramas from a bathtub strategically poised alongside a generous picture window, or upgrade to a Cabana Room, which extend to an outdoor wooden deck with daybed, stone-clad Jacuzzi, and access to the seafacing swimming pool. Other attractions include a 10-room ESPA and an 18-hole golf course.

1343-1 Kise, Nago; 81-980/435-555;; doubles from US$576.

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