Scott Dunn’s latest Signature Departure journey is aboard a floating hotel
Hop on board
It's not a brick-and-mortar hotel...
It's not a cruise...
It's a floating hotel.
Yes. The folks at Scott Dunn are seriously about going above and beyond at curating a newfound experience when it comes to travel. Introducing the Guntû: an architectural wonder coming in the form of a Japanese ryokan cum modern yacht fashioned by the renowned Yasushi Horibe, whose latest creative venture has resulted in this floating hotel.
As one of their Signature Departure journeys, the voyage promises three days and two nights of journeying to the Seto Inland Sea and passing through the dazzling southwestern oceanscapes Japan has to offer, amongst an ultra-minimalist ship environment entrenched in the steepest authenticity of Japanese culture. With nineteen rooms set in four styles, this hotel allows you to sit languidly in your bathrobe on a personal outdoor terrace and fill your lungs with that unmistakable sea breeze that beats plain ol' oxygen any day. Be it in one of the two Terrace suites with an open-air bath, or in the extravagant Guntû Suite at the bow of the ryokan with even more privacy, all rooms come with high-quality speakers and an iPad Pro, so they're clearly setting us up with all we need to get the mood right for any occasion. And we've left the best room feature for last – a wine cellar in each cabin featuring the most exquisite sake. We're sold.
All the luxuries you crave accompany you on your journey while aboard Guntû. From spas and saunas to communal baths (almost like the onsen that the Japanese are known for), treating yourself to life's pleasures are but a walk away in this all-accommodating yacht. Bonus: You may even request for private treatments to be carried out in your suite. There's nothing quite like the feeling of having the tensions in your muscles kneaded out Nentai-style (a type of Japanese massage), or laying on a warm bedrock mat for a Choukoku-Lymph treatment. Who says heaven's not on earth? Or in this case, above water.
We mustn't forget food, of course. Guntû's in-house chefs are experts at obtaining fresh produce from the Setouchi area, from which guests can then have their pick of the fishes and meats prized by the Head Chef. Or if you're inclined to a traditional sushi counter eating experience, Nobu's esteemed sushi chef (Nobuo Sakamoto) has come aboard Guntû to serve up outstanding sushi at the small and intimate Sushi Bar that seats six, using only fish that are freshly caught and in season. Those with a taste for more Western flavors are also taken care of, as the innovators in the kitchens of Guntû have created Western options inspired by various Japanese ingredients, dishes, and styles.
Yet passengers are not constrained to the (very comfortable) confines of the yacht. You can see for yourself that the stuff of picture books are in fact based on reality, with the opportunity to explore surrounding destinations including the fabled 'floating' Torii Gate at the Itsukushima Shrine of Miyajima island, the latter of which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Interested in getting to know the Japanese way of life even more? The Guntû also contains speed boats ready to take you on a short but immersive sojourn to personally discover what it means to be Japanese, where you get access to local life and the space to enrich your worldview ever more. And perhaps being pampered by the famed hospitality and service of the Japanese will rub off on us, and we'll emerge from our trip more woke than we were before.