Zen enchantment at Nobu Ryokan Malibu


A large slice of enchantment awaits those who enter the unmarked doors on Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu and into the delirously delicious world of Nobu Ryokan Malibu.

The fact that the bedside pens at Nobu Ryokan Malibu are by Balmain gives only a hint of the exquisite details that have been attended to in an effort to surpass guests’ highest expectations. Owners Chef Nobu Matsuhisa, actor Robert DeNiro, and film producer Meir Teper have spared no expense to create a magical world unto itself smack on the ocean.

The former 1950s-era Casa Malibu Inn has undergone a heavy renovation and been transformed into the highest end Japanese-inspired inn, a two-story, 9,200-square-feet gem with just 11 guestrooms and five oceanfront bungalows. Hotel grounds are exclusive to guests only and feature in-room room service from a custom menu by Nobu Malibu which is next door.

The accommodations are a study in simplicity and understatement, all teak and white linen. The highest grade electronics are hidden from sight. At Nobu Ryokan Malibu each room is one-of-a-kind, with luxurious common threads that run through them all, including en suite fireplaces, sweeping skylights, private decks, and thoughtful design that guarantees peace, privacy, and true relaxation.

Our room ($2400 a night), named Aozora which means Blue Sky, felt decidedly pure and refined. Peace and zen prevailed. Hot green tea, cool apricots and salty rice crackers greeted us. Sunlight streamed in and we could hear the waves crashing gently on exclusive Carbon Beach. The bathroom was clad in sand colored stone and our mellow teak tub was warmed by the sun. The bed was as soft as a dove.

After a brief workout in the very smart oceanfront gym, we walked to indulge in a dinner at Nobu Malibu. The joint was jumping with the beau monde of Malibu, jammed with the young, beautiful and restless. We feasted on scallop truffle chips with shaved black truffles and sweet Yuzu miso sauce then dug into pan roasted tender sea bass set in a spicy Ponzu sauce with shimejo mushrooms, tossed with Nobu salsa and microgreens. A bottle of Pinto Noir was the perfect accompaniment. If you want to capture what LA 2017 in full flower is all about, you must eat a meal here. Nobu’s chefs are simply wizards at presenting beautiful plates that sing of Eastern exotic flavors.

After dinner we strolled through Nobu Ryokan Malibu’s private, perfectly manicured gardens and sat before the outdoor fire, mesmerized by the ocean. It was heavenly. Serene and exclusive, this is an exceptional caravanserai which has no equal in Los Angeles, perhaps nowhere in the United States. We can only compare it to Japan’s legendary Kayotei or Beniya Mukayu, both in the Ishikawa prefecture on the island of Honshu.

Credit must go to Janelle Eng, Nobu Ryokan Malibu’s exceptional General Manager, who has a team of dedicated and extremely gracious people totally devoted to their guests’ splendid stay. They are obliging, polite and kind in every way. Nobu Ryokan Malibu. 22752 Coast Highway, Malibu, CA, (310) 317-3080 , http://www.noburyokanmalibu.com

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