ANA Intercontinental Ishigaki Resort review

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As the super typhoon Hibigis struck the east coast of Honshu, I was stuck in Ishigaki for an extra day.  So I called IHG and was able to redeem my IHG Chase Premier credit card's anniversary free night for the normally 60,000-point ANA Intercontinental Ishigaki resort, which is an excellent value as the revenue rate was ~$500 USD per night.  The Intercontinental Ishigaki resort is located on the south shore, and is the only hotel on the island associated with any of the major hotel groups.

The Room

The Intercontinental has a dedicated check-in desk for elite members, and the IHG Premier card gets you automatic Platinum elite status.  As part of my elite benefit, I was given a free drink coupon to use at the bar, a 20% off voucher for all food and beverage purchases, and a complimentary room upgrade to an ocean view premier room.

Personalized letter and snack

The premier room was absolutely huge, especially for a hotel in Japan.  The ocean view was also great as my room was located in the annex that stretches towards the beach.  In addition, the room had a separate bath and shower and two sinks.

Maesato Beach

The Intercontinental resort has its own beach called Maesato Beach, which is decked out with lawn chairs and umbrellas.  Portions of the water area are safely enclosed for water activities, and a lifeguard is on duty during the day.

On the east end of the beach is a jetty with a nice little cove.

Hidden gem: the cove


Among the extensive list of the Intercontinental's amenities are an indoor and an outdoor swimming pool with slides, a chapel, public bath sento, business center, and most importantly, a gym.  So if you get sick of playing in the ocean, slide down the outdoor pool.  And when it gets cold, go for the heated indoor pool or the gym.

Outdoor swimming pool with the chapel in the backdrop

Hungry stare: while the dangerously beautiful and poisonous lionfish is native to the coral reefs of Ishigaki, it's a nuisance species in the southern U.S. and must be eliminated!

The Gym

Yes, it's what we've all been waiting for.  Unfortunately, my room was bigger than the hotel's gym!  The gym had mostly cardio and very limited weight machines, and the free weights only went up to a measly 12 kg like the Hokkaido University gym.  The gym also faces the parking lot, so there's no ocean view to enjoy when you're resting between sets.

Since I hadn't worked out since Hokkaido University, I hit pretty much total upper body with pullups and arms on the cable cross machine, which is the gym's only saving grace.  I also did flat and incline chest press with the machine since there were no barbells.  To the hotel's credit, the Kid's Club is right next to the gym, so you can drop your kids off while you hit the gym just like you do at 24 Hour Fitness.

Final thoughts

The ANA Intercontinental Ishigaki resort is a gorgeous hotel . . . with an undersized gym.  From the room to the service and amenities, almost everything about the resort is great.  Even with a crappy gym, I would probably stay again if I ever returned to Ishigaki since the room itself ranks as one of the best I've ever stayed in Japan, comparable to even the Tokyo Park Hyatt.  And in July 2020, the resort is scheduled to open its luxurious Club Intercontinental addition next door.  Hopefully, the Club Intercontinental will have a better gym!


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