Shinichi Ogawa & Associates

If I picture myself staying at a luxurious resort, it almost always involves being surrounded by the colour white. Something about white invokes the feeling I want from a getaway: a peaceful mood, a clean slate, a perfect cleanliness that is so hard to keep up with at home. EMIL NAKIJIN, a resort in Okinawa, Japan, encapsulates this dream perfectly. Designed by Shinichi Ogawa & Associates, the hotel is a low-lying white structure, surrounded by nature and overlooking the sea. Its quiet simplicity does not compete with its landscape, yet it does not seek to blend in. Rather, EMIL NAKIJIN balances contemporary resort styling with unblemished nature. It is the exact type of place I would chose for an escape and to reset.

Approaching EMIL NAKIJIN, one is not so much greeted as obscured by the long, white facade. Monolithic in nature, the entrance to the resort stands proudly against the scenic landscape beyond, both a beckoning and protector for travellers. Shockingly bright against the blue of the sky, the white structure draws one in, almost mysteriously. Perhaps it is the near perfect stucco, or the glow cast by concealed lighting, but there is something mesmerising about EMIL NAKIJIN’s exterior, something that peaks the curiosity. The only hint of the wonders within is the entrance sign, as minimal as the rest of the resort, a trail marker for the hotel’s lucky guests.

The interior of each room embodies form over function: each suite features a comfortable bed, small living space, and bathroom. Large windows expose panoramic views of the East China Sea, a result of the resort’s position on a north-facing cliff. Each room enjoys this view, allowing the guest to feel close to nature even from the comfort of the indoors. A terrace allows a deeper connection to the scenery. Featuring an infinity pool and open-air bath, the terraces are the perfect blend of upscale comfort in a natural setting. In the architects’ words:

Opening the glass doors, the inside, outside, nature, and the ocean are seamlessly connected and the feeling of freedom overwhelms you.

At a mere five rooms, the hotel is small enough where guests can feel truly secluded. Tucked away behind the opaque facade, one can let go of the rest of the world and submerge into the dreamlike lifestyle at EMIL NAKIJIN. The stress of the day to day is literally behind, and all that stands in front is a gorgeous white suite, a large window, and one spectacular view. Water from the pool and bath sparkles playfully against the white walls of the hotel’s exterior. The sun sets, casting a glow over the green landscape below. Sounds of the sea find their way up to the balcony. The comfort of the interior room is just steps away. A feeling of contentment is inevitable.

In the shop