Monday, April 29, 2024

Glamping in Chiba

Almost all travelers to Tokyo have been to Chiba Prefecture just right next to the city – after all that’s where Narita Airport is located. But this time we decided to stay one night in Chiba Prefecture for our glamping adventure.  

There are a few glamping facilities in the countryside of Chiba and we picked this one called Grandvaux Spa Village because of their facilities and the fact that it’s most convenient for our itinerary in terms of location. We left our last stop at Yokohama late morning, made a detour for some scenic foliage route in Chiba and arrived at Grandvaux Spa Village slightly after 3pm. (I think if you chose to go direct from Tokyo you should get there within 2 hours by car without traffic)

The glamp-site is part of the larger complex with a hotel and resort, a park and even a sanatorium – plus golf course and swimming pool. The ground sit on the former site of the holiday home for Swiss ambassador, hence the name after the famous Swiss retreat town. I think they do have open grounds where you can put up your own tent or park your car and stayed inside, but what we went for is the marquee-like tented cabin that’s almost as big as a regular hotel room. That actually reminded me of those great facilities we stayed in South Africa at a private reserve. 

We went for one of the more luxurious options, which means we actually have 2 separate tents – one our “living room”, with couches and another our “bedroom”, with a large bed. Don’t know why we needed that much space but this would have been perfect for families. The cabins were well-equipped – we went on the colder months but they got heat all over. The only catch is the toilet and bath facilities are steps away, and we need to take off the shoes every single time we stepped into the cabin. 

And in each cabin we had our own outdoor terrace separated by fences so you got the privacy and some security – that didn’t stop the house cats from paying frequent visits which was kinda cute. On the terrace there’s tables and chairs and a barbecue pit fueled by gas.

The resort came with lots of activity options – more than we thought and turned out we ran out of time to try them all. Throughout the day they ran workshops, whether that be wood chopping class (with an axe no less), peanut butter making, to zipline, badminton, swimming or horse-riding. Some free and some cost extra. We all had fun making our own peanut butter – apparently Chiba was famous for peanuts so we had our own farm to table product to bring home with after the hour-long workshop the next morning. 

Our stay package came with dinner and breakfast, but here’s another catch. Dinner is DIY barbecue style, so they only provided you with everything you need (ingredients, condiments, seasonings and utentils) and you have to do it yourself. We actually quite enjoyed it (with the bottle of sake we brought along), with steak and live seafood as our main course along with baked rice and vegetables which only need reheating on the grill ourselves. (they did say they discourage people from bringing in their own food - so just saying)

Next morning they delivered the breakfast basket to you with sandwiches and hot soup (in a warm vacuum container) – not 5-star room service quality but it’s fine, and I actually quite like the bowl of salad with vegetables coming from their on-premise farm. Oh yes, they also had a herb garden on the campsite that we can go and pick the herbs both for immediately consumption and take-home. 

We came when it’s little chilled but absolutely pleasant for walk in the outdoors, or waking up to the sound of bird chirping and wind breezing through, and the sight of leaves turning bright red. They also have a common cabin building with a communal kitchen that one could help with tea and coffee and snacks, and a rooftop where we could do star gazing. They also keep an outdoor woodfire pit lit up to keep us warm, and for bonfire and s’more making. (we had ours with the cookies we bought from Sezanne - how about that for the best s'mores in the world ever?)

And the best of all was their onsen facilities, which came with both outdoor and indoor natural spring bath. It’s so relaxing and since we came during the low season we almost have the entire facilities to ourselves – there were maybe only 2 other groups on the days of our visit. 

To us it was a 2 day well spent away from the crowd and with some nature, quiet time. Next time we should definitely stay longer and enjoy more facilities this place has to offer – we hardly touched a quarter of those this time around. 

Grandvaux Spa Village:

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