Edited by: Jessica Merritt
& Keri Stooksbury
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Imagine booking a hotel purely based on its location and attempting to maximize your credit card benefits, then having your mind blown during your stay. That was our experience when my wife and I recently spent 2 nights at the Fuji Speedway Hotel, part of Hyatt’s The Unbound Collection.
This incredible property looks down into the famed Fuji Speedway, has awe-inspiring views of Mt. Fuji, and excels at small touches throughout its design. Then, there are the amenities: a traditional onsen, villas with private garages (and private dog runs!), and an impressive breakfast spread.
But that all pales to the element of this hotel that surprised us most: the onsite automobile museum. I’m not a car guy, but this hotel exceeded my expectations. I would go back just to spend more time at the property and check out all the features. Here’s what it was like spending 2 nights at the Fuji Speedway Hotel in early July 2023 — and why I’m claiming it as one of the coolest hotels on earth.
As you might guess from its name, the Fuji Speedway Hotel sits near Mt. Fuji and the acclaimed Fuji Speedway. The closest city is Gotemba, Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan. You could drive here from Tokyo in 90 minutes to 2 hours, depending on traffic.
Alternatively, you can take trains or buses to Gotemba or Fujiyoshida from Tokyo Station. This takes close to 3 hours, given that you can’t use the high-speed Shinkansen trains to get to these smaller stations.
By car, the Fuji Speedway Hotel is about 40 minutes from Gotemba or Fujiyoshida. The better option is arriving in Gotemba because the hotel offers a complimentary shuttle to the speedway from there 8 times per day. Book this in advance by emailing email@example.com.
Otherwise, you can expect to pay about $30 for a taxi from Gotemba and up to $90 for a taxi to Fujiyoshida due to tolls on the highway.
When I say the hotel is near Mt. Fuji, I mean it’s close and has spectacular views, depending on which side of the hotel’s numerous windows you look out.
As the name implies, it’s also this close to the Fuji Speedway.
I was anxious to use my up-to-$200 prepaid hotel credits from The Platinum Card® by American Express during our trip to Japan. I had 2 Amex Platinum cards and knew I’d likely close one of them shortly after our trip to avoid incurring the annual fee.
To maximize this benefit and get $200 in statement credits from each card, I wanted to find a hotel that allowed a 1-night booking, which meant no The Hotel Collection bookings. I booked with Fine Hotels + Resorts instead. I also wanted the credits to cover at least half of the room cost nightly, and I crossed my fingers that the hotel would recognize my World of Hyatt or Marriott Bonvoy elite benefits.
With sheer dumb luck, we booked ourselves into this incredible property as part of our plan to climb Mt. Fuji. We paid $370.06 per night for 2 nights, then received $200 in statement credits for each booking. That brought our cost down to $170.06 per night.
Once the reservations showed up in my World of Hyatt account, I started checking for available suites. Unfortunately, there weren’t any available with 1 king bed (instead of 2 twins) until 2 days before our arrival. As a World of Hyatt Globalist elite, I quickly emailed my Hyatt concierge and asked her to apply a suite upgrade from my account. She confirmed us into a Grand Prix Corner King Suite on the Mt. Fuji side of the hotel.Hot Tip:
You can add your loyalty number to Amex Travel bookings. There’s no guarantee the hotel will honor your elite status, but I’ve had great success on this with Hyatt, Marriott, and Hilton stays, essentially doubling my benefits.
I’ll be perfectly clear: We didn’t research anything about this hotel before arriving, other than looking for something near-ish to Mt. Fuji and then trying to apply a suite upgrade. We were blown away on arrival.
The first thing that caught our eye was the sign and its notation of a “motorsports museum” as we turned off the main road.
As we drove up the private road and approached the entry, we were treated to a lovely view.
We loved the hotel’s beautiful tower and lush greenery.
Staff greeted us warmly at the front entry.
And as we passed through the outer door, we instantly knew this was no ordinary hotel.
This enormous space between 2 sets of doors greeted us, with TVs playing historic racing footage and behind-the-scenes shots leading up to famous rallies.
Passing the second set of doors presented us with this jaw-dropping view. As I said, I’m not a car buff, but this was incredible.
The employee who had piled our belongings onto a cart disappeared into the elevator on the right side.
We rode the 2-story escalators while gawking and listening to an employee tell us that the hotel includes a 2-floor museum covering the history of automobile racing. Super cool.
And as we learned, everything at the hotel is car-themed. Everything.
At the top of the escalators, the Customer Experience Manager greeted us by name, invited us to have a seat at the nearby TROFEO Lounge, and asked what we’d like as a welcome drink.
While we waited, employees made our drinks as the manager prepared the paperwork for checking in.
My wife watched as employees squeezed her juice. I took the manager’s recommendation of a matcha tea, sourced from local growers, sweetened and with a dash of cinnamon. It was fantastic.
The hotel recently opened in October of 2022, and it became clear that I was their first guest using both Globalist benefits and perks from an Amex Fine Hotels + Resorts booking.
The manager explained the benefits in detail, pointing out that some of the benefits overlapped (such as getting complimentary breakfast from both perks) but that they had confirmed me into a suite and also that we had the $100 on-property credit to use. We could use the credit for spa services or dining.
After explaining our benefits, the hotel’s on-site amenities, and times for the restaurants, the manager asked what questions we had. We had many!
We wanted to know more about the automobile museum and also information about climbing Mt. Fuji the next day.
The manager left to find a Mt. Fuji climbing brochure, outlining the different trails, their starting points, and how to access them. While the complimentary shuttle could take us to the starting point of the Gotemba trail, we’d read that was one of the harder trails and opted for the easiest trail, starting from Fuji Station in Fujiyoshida. For that, we needed a taxi. The manager asked an employee to schedule that for us while escorting us to our room to ensure everything was satisfactory.
While we were checking in, our bags were taken straight to our room to wait for us. The manager also provided 2 codes for the gym/spa area. The code changes every few days and would change during our stay, so he provided the current code and the code for our final day — an excellent touch of forethought to make sure we didn’t encounter any problems during our stay.
The Fuji Speedway Hotel was packed with amenities. Honestly, it’s a destination unto itself, and we didn’t have enough time to sample all of them.
Between activities the hotel can plan on your behalf and what it offers on-site, there’s a ton here. We couldn’t fit it all in, especially since we were out before sunrise and back well past dinner time on our only full day at the hotel.
Let’s start with the most obvious amenity first and then discuss the others.
The onsite Fuji Motorsports Museum is not just a collection of cars but also tells the history of racing as well as its impact on car manufacturing.
Its size was impressive, spanning the first 2 floors of the building.
Even without going into the museum, we could admire many of the exhibits from the ground floor or while ascending the escalators in the atrium.
Visiting the museum isn’t free — even for hotel guests. However, hotel guests can purchase tickets at the reception desk, receiving a discounted price of ¥1,300 (~$9.25), a ¥500 discount.Hot Tip:
Buy your museum tickets from the front desk for a hotel guest discount of $3.55.
The museum won with small touches as well. Rather than lining the areas where you shouldn’t walk with gravel, the divisions were filled with nuts and bolts. As I said, everything had a car theme.
Even though we didn’t have time to visit the museum during its operating hours, we were able to gawk at numerous exhibits.
We could approach the barricades on the ground floor, but we couldn’t get close enough to read the information placards on the exhibit or see items further away.
During our stay, we made FaceTime calls to multiple car-loving friends and relatives to show them the exhibits as they lost their minds over the displays.
The Fuji Speedway Hotel offers a shuttle 8 times daily between the hotel and Gotemba Station. Using this complimentary shuttle can save you around $30 each way. The ride takes 30 to 35 minutes, so factor that and the prearranged shuttle times into your trip planning.
To book the shuttle in advance, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
You read that correctly. This gym has a racing simulator. Those words definitely caught our attention during the manager’s list of amenities during check-in.
The fitness center had your standard cardio equipment and weight machines.
The equipment was from Technogym.
There were dividers between cardio machines.
It also had kettlebells, medicine balls, and exercise balls.
There was even a scale and a defibrillator.
But its standout feature was the racing simulator.
You have to make an appointment to use the racing simulator, but it looked incredible. Next time.
An onsen is a traditional Japanese bathing area that’s part of a hot spring. The onsen at the Fuji Speedway Hotel is fed from local groundwater and featured gender-specific areas for men and women.
Booths were available for cleaning ourselves before relaxing in the bath.
There was also a pool, but notice the temperature on the wall — 39.1 degrees Celsius (102.38 degrees Fahrenheit). The water was pretty hot.
In the men’s onsen, there was a dry sauna. The women’s onsen had a steam sauna.
There were gender-specific changing rooms and entryways for the onsens, and following the signs to them was pretty easy.
If you’ve never been to an onsen before, there are etiquette rules on the wall here to help you out. Note: Guests use onsens in the nude.
During check-in, we asked about tattoos at the hotel’s onsen. Having tattoos can be enough to not be admitted at some onsens.
The manager told me my tattoos were acceptable because they are Western style and artistic/cartoons. My wife, however, was told she couldn’t visit the onsen because she has traditional Japanese-style sleeves on both arms.
The onsen is part of Omika Wellness & Spa — as is the fitness center.
It’s all part of a second-floor wellness area at the end of this hallway.
The spa offered a full range of massages, hot baths, and relaxation therapies. After being greeted by a friendly employee, we wound up in this seating area. On top of great views, it had multiple types of seating and iced green tea.
There were also spacious changing rooms for visitors.
Past the spa, there was also a pool and hot tub.
It was fully indoors and didn’t have your standard lounge chairs. Instead, these sofas against the wall provided seating.
There were also kickboards and floaties available, which was a nice touch.
If we got thirsty, drinking water was available nearby.
And a shower built into the wall was available for use before and after.
Wi-Fi was fast and reliable throughout our stay. It’s complimentary for all guests, and we got average downloads of 50 Mbps in our room and in the restaurants.
While most guests took the 2 story escalator to the lobby, there is an elevator from the ground floor for those who need it. Find this on the right side of the atrium.
From the reception desk, elevators are to the right, away from the restaurant.
There weren’t any seating options on guest floors while waiting for the elevator, but there were nice views of Mt. Fuji.
The elevators were extremely spacious. We needed to tap our room key to access guest floors.
The Fuji Speedway Hotel also has private villas.
These villas are separate from the main hotel.
These include kitchens, private yards, and even a dog run.
There are 2 venues within the hotel: a ballroom and a functional room. The ballroom has a show kitchen and a VIZ room, while the functional room has 5,600 square feet of flexible space.
However, that’s just what’s inside the hotel. Staff told me that clients can rent a rooftop space for truly unique experiences. Expressions on their faces let me know this doesn’t come cheaply.
You can book an incredible amount of activities through the hotel. These include on-track kart experiences at the Fuji Speedway, sunrise hikes, morning yoga, e-bike rental, horse riding, fishing, golf at multiple courses, and distillery tours.
We stayed on the sixth floor in room 630. Hallways on guest floors were lined with carpet featuring geometric patterns.
On the walls, artwork and historic photographs continued the racing theme.
And the signs with room numbers looked like a gear shift.
We entered through the living room, which was large and airy. There was a large couch against one wall.
To the right, there was a half bathroom.
It had a Japanese toilet with spray controls.
And there was a small sink.
The living room itself had 2 circular, wooden tables in the center sitting on top of a rug.
On the far side of the living room, near the balcony, there was a recliner chair, a small table, and a TV on the wall.
The minibar featured more automotive-themed items on the shelves, plus a coffee machine and phone.
There was a large selection of alcohol (not complimentary).
We also had supplies for making tea with traditional Japanese cups and a pot.
A drawer held cups, saucers, pods for the coffee machine, and packs of sweetener, creamer, and sugar.
The bottom drawer had snacks, an ice bucket, and a kettle, as well as a price list for the minibar items.
Another drawer had sanitizing wipes and glasses.
The minifridge had beer, juice, soda, and cheeses.
Above the sofa, there was more racing-themed artwork.
On the tables, we had welcome snacks of chocolates and fresh cherries.
There were also candies and an information brochure.
A note from the general manager welcomed us.
There was also a closet near the front door.
But the pièce de resistance was the balcony.
The balcony ran the length of the entire suite, including access from the bedroom. It held chairs and a small table and had views of Mt. Fuji.
At the other end of the suite, a large bedroom also featured earth tones.
A comfortable king-sized bed sat in the middle of the room, covered with soft sheets and 4 pillows. There was also a loveseat at the foot of the bed.
Each side of the bed had a nightstand with multiple outlets and a series of controls for the lights and curtains. One side of the bed had a notepad and a phone. The other side of the bed had a clock and smart speaker.
There was also a wooden table and TV in the sitting area.
A panel of controls on the wall had buttons for lights on the balcony, the curtains, and the thermostat.
We also had a humidifier.
Views from the bedroom included the entryway to the Fuji Speedway.
In the hallway between the living room and bedroom, there was a gigantic bathroom.
On one end, there was a small closet with a toilet.
A panel on the wall controlled the spray features.
The counter had dual sinks and a make-up mirror.
Each sink had its own pump bottle of Mikimoto Cosmetics hand soap.
A basket between the sinks held body towels (a loofah-esque scrub pad) and powders to put in a hot bath.
Wooden drawers and shelves under the sink held a ton of goodies. This included a trash bin, a digital scale, lots of towels, and a nonslip mat that we could put in the shower.
But I have absolutely never seen a hotel bathroom with this many items in the drawers. Any cosmetic product or spare toiletry item you might need, it was here.
Another drawer held a hair dryer.
At the other end of the bathroom, a glass door led to a room with a shower and tub.
The shower had a rainfall shower head and hand-held option.
There was also a large tub at the far end.
The pump bottles on the wall held body wash, shampoo, and conditioner Waphyto products. The scent was so subtle that it was near undetectable.
Hooks near the door held bathrobes with the hotel’s logo on the chest.
A large, wooden door on a rolling track slid open and closed easily.
In the hallway, a counter sat on top of 6 dresser drawers. There was a yoga mat on the counter.
The drawers held a ton of stuff.
There were Japanese robes and laundry supplies, as well as slippers.
There was also an iron.
Near the bedroom, there was a sliding glass door that led to a closet.
There were shelves, a small safe, traditional pajamas, and an ironing board.
The pajamas had the hotel’s logo, as did the cloth bags that we were told we could keep.
There were sandals and socks for us to use, as well.
The Fuji Speedway Hotel has 2 restaurants, a lounge, and a bar. Let’s look at each.
While TROFEO Italian Cuisine is labeled as an Italian restaurant (serving fare like gazpacho soup, multiple pasta dishes, and tiramisu during lunch and dinner), it also serves breakfast daily with a mix of Japanese and international fare. There were numerous hot dishes (like potatoes, eggs, and pancakes) and yogurt with fixings, including seeds, granola, and nuts.
The salad bar had many offerings, including beans, raw veggies, and croutons.
There were numerous pastries: croissants, chocolate croissants, muffins, and pies.
There were Japanese vegetables and ingredients to make soup bowls, with broth, noodles, and meats.
There were also cheeses and cold cuts.
The bread station had a toaster, jams, and fresh honey.
Signs provided allergen warnings on each dish.
And “to go” coffee cups had quotes from famous names in racing.
TROFEO was open for breakfast from 7 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., and dinner from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Behind the reception desk, Robata OYAMA offers traditional Japanese food prepared in a show kitchen. There are set times for preset menus and à la carte offerings. It’s open from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. nightly.
The TROFEO Lounge behind the reception desk offered afternoon tea, light bites, wine by the glass or bottle, sandwiches, pizza, pasta, multiple snack foods, and fresh-squeezed juices. But the views were probably the most important part.
There was also an outdoor terrace.
TROFEO Lounge was open from 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
This bar is shaped like a Formula 1 race car, and there’s an outdoor terrace here with views of Mt. Fuji. Bar 4563 was only open from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.
We were famished on our second night at the hotel after returning exhausted from climbing Mt. Fuji. We still had our $100 on-property dining credit to use, but we didn’t feel like getting cleaned up to visit the restaurants. We asked at the front desk and were told we could use our credit for room service. Thus, we placed our order for an hour in the future, giving us time to get cleaned up and relax a bit before eating.
My wife ordered a club sandwich with fries. I ordered a Pomodoro pasta, and we got 2 fresh juices.
Room service came exactly on time. The delivery staff set the meals on the living room tables, rather than just leaving the cart and expecting us to do it ourselves. We also received focaccia bread with olive oil to pair with my pasta.
Service was friendly, and the food was delicious. Taking our meals in the room was a great way to unwind after a tiring day.
Service throughout our stay was excellent with just a minor blip during checkout. We received a thorough, heartfelt welcome to the hotel at check-in as well as detailed explanations of hotel services and benefits. We experienced friendly greetings every time we returned to the hotel — whether we’d been gone 5 minutes or all day.
Service at meals was consistently friendly and felt authentic, and employees at the reception desk were knowledgeable and efficient in answering questions, booking taxis, and scheduling our shuttle to and from the hotel. The only issue we had was with our bill and the $100 credit at checkout.
The customer service manager had told us we could use our on-property credit for room service. At checkout, the employee told us it could only be used for in-person dining at the restaurants.
When we pointed out that we had been told we could use the benefit this way, she conferred with the manager and then applied the credit. We understood that normally the $100 credit can’t be used for room service, and it was nice that we were given an extra option. Staff being on the same page about this would’ve avoided an awkward moment at checkout.
The Fuji Speedway Hotel was incredible. We wound up here by chance, but we were so happy it worked out this way. I would return to this hotel just to explore the property more. It’s a destination in and of itself.
For car and racing lovers, this is a must-visit. But we loved the hotel even though we aren’t big fans of either. The hotel simply oozed “cool.” I sincerely hope this wasn’t my only stay at this hotel.
For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.
For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.
The Fuji Speedway Hotel has 120 rooms and 21 suites. It also has 5 villas separate from the main hotel building.
Yes, you can. The Fuji Speedway Hotel is in the Amex Fine Hotels + Resorts. This provides benefits like breakfast for 2 people daily, room upgrades at check-in (when available), and a $100 on-property credit.
The Fuji Speedway Hotel is part of Hyatt’s The Unbound Collection. It participates in the World of Hyatt program, meaning you can earn and redeem rewards here.
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Ryan has been on a quest to visit every country in the world and plans to hit his final country in 2023. Over the years, he’s written about award travel for publications including AwardWallet, The Points Guy, USA Today Blueprint, CNBC Select, Tripadvisor, and Forbes Advisor.
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