Saturday, May 11, 2013

Winery Hot Spring Resort

Would you like to soak in an outdoor hot spring at a winery? Can you do this in Japan?  Yes, but perhaps only in Niigata Prefecture. The baths and other facilities at  Cave D'occi Vinespa Winery Resort are elegant, tranquil, and luxurious. And the cognac produced and aged on the premises is smooth and flavorful.

No detail has been overlooked in the process of creating a refined hot spring experience. The baths were all designed to provide views of greenery, open sky, and a nearby mountain. Each tree on the grounds has been perfectly pruned and each rock on the bottom or the edges of the baths was laid with precision. The washing areas and changing rooms are spotless; considering its popularity, that is impressive.

The immaculate baths alone are enticing enough for me to go there, but there are other allurements: wine and cognac tasting for just one hundred yen a glass; restaurants with gourmet sausages, cheeses, and condiments; a cool wine cellar;  yoga lessons and much more. 

Kiichiro Ochi is the name of the owner, and  Cave D'occi reportedly means cellar of Ochi. Wandering around the winery's grounds is a relaxing pastime. You can even descend down a metal spiral staircase to the actual cellar where bottles of wine are aging.  At Cave D'occi one can spend an entire day  enjoying the baths, taking a walk, returning to the baths, sweating in a sauna, getting a massage, having another bath, tasting various delicious Western and Japanese foods, and experiencing other sensual pleasures. Admission is 1,000 yen. Rooms are also available for overnight guests. 

The rustic buildings, plush chairs and sofas, and soft lighting within the buildings all contribute to a refreshment that is more than skin deep, a feeling that you will take home with you.

The address is 1661 Kakudahama, Nishikan-ku, Niigata-shi, Niigata. Telephone: 0256-77-2226. Unfortunately, the Cave D'occi website is not in English.

This positive review is an honest review. I have not received any money from Cave D'occi, whose owner is probably unaware of this blog's existence.

To read about another luxurious Niigata hot spring that I recommend, click here.  This one has ocean views and a funky lobby.