WeBase Kamakura

 

Prologue

 

Basic, cheap and often a little dirty – the traditional image of hostels leave little to be desired for all except the most budget of travellers., The emergence of poshtels fusing stylish design and hotel-like amenities with an affordable price point and communal atmosphere promises to disrupt the industry and challenge the traditional image of hostels – basic, cheap and often a little dirty.

 

For our stay in Kamakura, we are staying in the newly-opened WeBase Kamakura. Part of the fast-growing WeBase community hostels in Japan (with locations in Hakata, Kyoto and Takamatsu), join us in our experience of this unique accommodation concept.

 

Location / Accessibility

WeBase Kamakura has a fantastic location that is sufficiently detached from the city center to enjoy the tranquility of the Yuigahama neighbourhood, yet close enough to the main attractions that draw millions of tourists each year. Nestled among residential homes, the hostel is a short 5-minute walk from the Enoshima Electric Railway’s Yuigahama station and steps away from the beach. For visitors who drive, a well-established road network connects the property to other areas in Kamakura and Tokyo further afield.

 

Arrival Experience

  

It was just after 1000hrs when we arrived at the hostel after a short train ride from Tokyo. The reception and front desk area was a cozy, natural-lit space in between the two accommodation wings. Unlike a hotel, the atmosphere was much more relaxed with community message boards and walls adorned with funky murals inspired by the Kamakura region. As it was too early to check-in, we were encouraged by the staff to store our bags, head out to explore and return later when the dormitories were ready.

 

We were warmly welcomed by the staff when we came back in the late afternoon, who proceeded to check us in quickly and explaining the property’s facilities and hosted activities. They confirmed our reservation for two bunks in a 4-berth mixed dormitory, collected payment and issued our keycards to access the room, located on the second floor of the south wing.

 

Pods / Showers

 

Stacked one atop the other, we found the sleep pods to be cozy and comfortable for a good night’s rest. The light wood-patterned laminate finish and white linen combine to create the impression of a space much larger than it actually was. Each pod measured two meters in length and a meter in width and height, with an inbuilt lamp, electrical outlet, side shelf and a curtain for privacy. A futon and comforter is provided, but guests will have to make their own bed using the laminated instruction card for guidance. A complimentary body towel and slippers were also set on the bunk, which also had space for personal belongings that cannot fit into the lockers at the far end of the room.

 

Unlike some hostels where ten or more guests share a large dormitory space, WeBase Kamakura’s accommodations adopt an apartment-like concept and are much more intimate and private. Just four or six berths are housed in a mixed or female-only room (accessed via a keycard issued by the front desk) and two rooms share a vanity and toilet set-up housed in a clean common area. Even though we only stayed for a night, there was never a need to wait in-line and it felt as if we had our own ensuite bathroom.

 

Situated in the basement level, the shower and bath facilities were communal with both western and Japanese bath experiences. We elected to use the latter where one is required to thoroughly wash the body while seated at the shower points, then entering the large bathing pool for a relaxing soak in the hot water – perfect for rejuvenating muscles tired from a day out exploring in the cold weather. As is the norm in Japan, shampoo and soap are provided for use and complimentary.

 

Dining

 

Dining onsite can be had at the casual Brasserie Gent, where a light breakfast of cereals, bread and potato salad is served in the mornings for guests. At other times during the day, the friendly staff offer French-inspired dishes while also proudly showcasing their Ship’s Cat sculpture from modern artist Kenji Yanobe on the outdoor deck.

 

Guests can also enjoy their own food and drinks in the comfort of the property’s expansive lounge. Often the heart and soul of a hostel, we enjoyed a no-frills dinner of instant ramen and the local craft beer here while observing our fellow travellers congregate here in the evening for snacks and drinks together. A small pantry with microwave ovens, cutlery and a refrigerator can be freely used by guests bringing food items, while those without can buy them at reasonable prices from the vending machines.

 

Facilities

 

WeBase Kamakura is a relatively large hostel and offers many facilities for guests. Chief amongst these is the aforementioned lounge, an expansive space overlooking the courtyard where guests can watch television, read and catch up on work using the iMac terminals or simply relax and interact. Local travel information can also be found here and we especially liked the feature wall with a map and pictures of the local area to aid in sightseeing planning.

  

  

Another aspect that we liked was the property’s monthly activities calendar, comprising a good mix of cultural, educational and wellness pursuits led by staff members that made for a fun, interactive stay. Active guests will be glad to know that the hostel has its own yoga studio with regular classes held, while bicycles and surfboards can be loaned for a small fee to take advantage of the seaside atmosphere and quality surf in Yuigahama.

 

Service / Staff

The staff members, many of whom are fluent in English and several other languages, are helpful, friendly and personable. While most service encounters in Japan with foreigners are subdued, this was not the case here and we were able to freely engage with the staff granting us insights that enhanced our stay in the city. From spontaneous greetings to local dining recommendations, our interactions were akin to those of a local and friends visiting from overseas.

 

Verdict

This is a hidden gem in Kamakura! We love how they effortlessly combine the comfort and convenience of hotels with the social vibe and attractiveness of backpacking. Clean, chic with friendly staff and at a great price point, WeBase Kamakura redefines the hostel genre with its unique brand of hospitality that punches above its weight to take on higher-priced competitors.

 

WeBase Kamakura

4-10-7 Yuigahama, Kamakura-shi,

Kanagawa 248-0014

Japan

+81 467 22 1221

http://we-base.jp/kamakura/en/

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