An ode to Narita Airport Resthouse

I just got back from Japan. Because of an early flight out, I booked an overnight stay at Narita Airport Resthouse, a hotel located —as the name suggests— right at the airport. My booking website asked me to review the hotel; here’s what I wrote.

Narita Airport Resthouse review

Great if you like dilapidated buildings, rooms with actual keys, antique light switches and printed signs featuring Screen Beans characters, revealing the last update to have been over a decade ago.

The place is perfect for an overnight stay prior to departure from Japan. The room has plenty of power outlets to charge your gadgets for a long haul flight, and when you wake up, the breakfast is reasonable and the coffee is dark and fresh.

But the true charm of this place lies in its ramshackle state. You go up with an ageing, heaving elevator and pass through long hallways with water-stained khaki carpeting. The metal door of your room closes behind you with a satisfying clang.

On the bathroom door, a screen bean character warns you that “the steam from the shower can operate the fire alarm”. That steam seems quite versatile, as it is also responsible for executing a wall mold in the bathroom that puts Jackson Pollock to shame.

None of this is to detract from the virtues of this hotel. It is a more than welcome change after the sterile high tech modernity of Tokyo and Osaka. Narita Airport Resthouse is the liminal space that helps you get back from the future to the present — from Japan to your own shabby country of origin.

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