June 12, 2011
I’ve been traveling in Japan for the past four days and just returned from Sendai, the town you heard so much about following the earthquake and tsunami that decimated many areas along the coast.
From the photos and reports on traditional TV you might have concluded that all of Sendai was destroyed, but that would be a mistake. I saw firsthand during a two day stay the destruction brought by the tsunami. It was indeed devastating to parts of this area. But I also saw something you didn’t see while you were glued to your televisions and watching the recovery effort; the more than 1,000,000 people strong city center that was untouched by the tsunami and suffered no visible damage from the quake.
For instance, we stayed at the beautiful Westin Hotel Sendai, a property that begins on the 26th floor of a tower complex that includes offices. The property had all of the touches you’ve come to expect from the Westin brand with an extra plus. That plus being the staff that made you feel that everything was being taken care of and that no request would go unmet.
It’s an interesting dynamic that I’ve written about before in my travels. The physical aspect of any particular hotel is simply the beginning of what makes a stay both special and comfortable. In this case the hotel was beautiful with its restaurants, rooms and lounges giving you a sweeping view of the city below from the 26th floor on up. Add in the staff and you’ve got a hotel I’d recommend to anyone looking for a fantastic experience in the center of this city.
At heart I’ve become a city guy as I feed off the energy that pulses through the places I travel to. This city provided plenty of that as it is vibrant and fun even though many here lost friends and family just three short months ago. They are getting on with life and making sure that they look to the future and not dwell on the past.
As you look to your future travel plans may I make a suggestion? The people of Japan and the destination are both beautiful to see and experience. If you are planning on travel and have ever wanted to explore this part of the world there couldn’t be a better time or a better reason to come to Japan.