October 7 and 8, 2017
Palace Hotel Hakone is scheduled to close in January 2018 making this post moot, but for documentation purposes I will post it anyway.
This aging resort hotel boasts views of Mt Fuji and Lake Ashi on the upper floors, although both are somewhat obscured.
The spacious rooms, the largest Western room we had in Japan, are a bit worn. The beds, however, were comfortable yet firm and dressed with cozy down comforters. The bathroom was smallish and in need of updating. The usual Japanese amenities included a tooth brush and tea service. Bring your own coffee.
The onsen (public bath) located on the 3rd floor, while on the small side with fewer shower stations (around 5) and smaller pools than at some other hotels we had stayed at, had a nice quality outdoor bath water – soft water with a slight volcanic sulfur smell.
Breakfast at Humming – the hotel Western restaurant.
Breakfast was a decent quality but cost wise you might as well order the full American breakfast if you want toast and coffee with your eggs. Fried eggs are cooked a medium sunny side up and the scrambled eggs are sufficiently runny. Good coffee and flaky croissants.
The shizuoke iwana confit is excellent if you like fish with breakfast.
Dinner at Humming was OK but pricey. The monthly menu is a better value. This month’s menu was trout served with soup, salad and a choice of bread or rice. The fish was a bit overcooked. We also tried the pescatore pasta – tasty and a decent sized portion for being on the light fare menu. The smoked trout tartar was the best dish of the evening, albeit small. It was very fresh with a nice smoky flavor.
Dinner at Ginno Ho
This small restaurant has great kamameshi, a rice dish cooked in an iron pot with a selection of toppings such as vegetables, salmon or fresh water eel (unagi). One of the most flavorful rice dishes I’ve tasted in Japan, the rice reminds me of paella. Although the iron pot is far deeper than a paella pan there is still a rice crust at the bottom of the pot. The set menu is served with a clear bonito soup. At the end of the meal, some of the soup water is poured over the rice and eaten as sort of a rice soup. Also part of the set meal is a chawanmushi (a savory egg custard) and pickles.