review

Review: Always Niseko hotel, Niseko, Hokkaido

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Niseko Village Accommodation – Hotels, Airbnb, Hostels

Niseko is world- famous for its powder snow alpine ski slopes, and it no doubt attracts travellers from all around the world during winter time. When we were there in early March, slightly off- peak season, we still saw many ski- enthusiasts, which is probably why hotels were still pretty expensive when we were planning for our trip there.

Being primarily a tourist destination, Niseko is no short of hotel accommodation.

However, prices can be very high during ski- season, costing up to an average of $200-400 per night.

We tried looking for Airbnb for more budget accommodation, but could not find any.

There’s also barely any backpacker hostel there. We found only one, called Stoked Niseko Hostel. While it’s shared dorms are priced from JPY 5 500 (SGD 67) / night, it’s double private rooms are way more expensive than Always Niseko’s, at JPY 16 790 (SGD 205) / night, and bathrooms are to be shared with other guests! I was shocked at its prices, and surprised at the price Always Niseko could offer. So we booked it without hesitation. The reviews we saw online were also pretty positive as well.

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Always Niseko Room Rates

  • Superior Double Room w/ Breakfast: from JPY 11 200 (SGD 137) per night
  • Suite with Mountain View w/ Breakfast: from JPY 26 000 (SGD 318) per night

We booked the hotel about a month prior, and stayed there in the first week of March, slightly off- peak season. We found the pricing for Always Niseko to be one of the best and most affordable in the Niseko area.

For a Superior Double room with daily buffet breakfast, we paid a price of JPY 11 200 (SGD 137) per night for 2 adults and we felt that the deal was truly best value for money!

Most hotels during that period we were staying at were priced quite exorbitantly, at least  SGD 200 per night. Expectedly so, because Niseko is so popular with foreigners for its powder snow slopes.

Always Niseko Room Facilities

We stayed at a Superior Double Room and below are the facilities included:

  • Private Shower (No bathtub)
  • Safety Deposit Box
  • Hairdryer
  • Refrigerator
  • Electric kettle and Complimentary green tea
  • Free toiletries (They provide famous Japanese Shisedo brand facial wash, soap, shampoo, conditioner. Pretty impressive.)
  • Heating
  • Flat-screen TV (Very large, and comes with Netflix!)
  • Wardrobe/Closet
  • Towels
  • Linen
  • Upper floors accessible by lift
  • Toilet paper
  • Free WiFi! (High speed)
  • Bonus: Complimentary smart phone which you can bring out! Comes with GPS!

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The complimentary Japanese style amenities pouch was a nice touch.

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GPS- equipped smart phone provided for use free of charge.

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Shisedo toiletries

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We were pleasantly surprised with a cute amenities pouch each, placed nicely on the bed that we could also bring back as souvenir! How thoughtful. This is definitely the kind of Japanese hospitality I love. Inside, it contains hair brush, hair tie, toothbrush and shaver.

We also love that the smart television provides Netflix that we watched Terrace House on (other than local news which I love). Just note that you have to log in with your own Netflix account though!

The room is very clean, and had a beautiful view from our windows. The snow- covered houses next to our hotel were so cute and the snowy scenery felt so quaint and peaceful.

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View from our room

‘Elements’ Bar and Restaurant

We had our daily breakfast served at Elements restaurant located at the ground level of the hotel. I love the breakfast buffet served there and it’s something I look forward to every morning. The breakfast style is mainly Japanese, with items such as salad with croutons, quiche, rice, chicken and potato stew, onsen egg, hijiki, miso soup, sliced ham, mini sausages, karaage (Japanese Fried Chicken), toast, cereal, fruits(the apples were so sweet!) and coffee, tea, juice. My favourite daily must- have is definitely onsen egg mixed with rice. Oishii!

During dinner hours, they also serve Sapporo’s famous draught beer. A really good place to chill out after hitting the slopes!

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Delicious breakfast!

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I had at least 2 servings of the delicious onsen egg with rice every morning!

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MSG- Free food!

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Location & Accessibility – Always Niseko Shuttle Bus

Address: Hokkaido Abuta-gun Kutchan-cho Kabayama 65-15, Kutchan, Niseko, Japan, 044-0078

Phone: 136-55-8496

  • By Car: JR Kutchan Station is a 15 -minute drive away. Free private parking is only available upon prior reservation.
  • By Public Bus Option 1: From JR Kutchan station take the bus to Hirafu Intersection and walk 15 minutes to the hotel.
  • By Public Bus Option 2: From JR Kutchan station take the bus to Hirafu Welcome Centre and take the hotel shuttle bus (Hotel’s name will be on the bus!)

We chose Public Bus Option 1. On arrival in Niseko, we walked 15 minutes from the Hirafu Intersection stop to the hotel. It was a really nice walk and didn’t felt very long, because we were stopping by so frequently to touch the fluffy, powdery snow along the way. Haha! The surrounding scenery was also worth admiring.

Always Niseko is conveniently located near the Grand Hirafu ski resort and 3 km from Hirafu train station, so it is rather easy to get around town for food, shopping and of course, skiing/snowboarding.

Throughout our stay, we got around by the hotel’s free shuttle bus which runs quite frequently (once every 5 to 30 minutes) morning till night, to the village and various surrounding ski lifts. It is very convenient and the driver is usually on- time.

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Upon check- in, we were provided with the shuttle bus timetable, as well as local area information.

Ski and Snowboarding Equipment Rental

The hotel has an in-house rental store where we rented our 1) snowboards, 2) shoes and 3) clothes. They also sell accessories such as wool hats. Their prices are quite standard, and actually cheaper than another rental shop we saw near the Hirafu ski slopes.

We rented the 3 items for 2 days, which cost us about JPY 10 000 (SGD 122). The chair lifts passes are charged separately at the slopes.

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Conclusion: Great Value, Exceeded Expectations!

Always Niseko’s overall standard exceeded our expectations, and I feel that it is likely because it’s owned and managed by Nisade, an award-winning property specialist for hotel operations for luxury accommodations in Niseko, Hokkaido.

Below is the list of hotels they manage within Niseko area. As described on their website, Always Niseko is meant to cater to travellers who are seeking the best value for accommodation! And I believe they have done as they’ve promised.

I trust such hotel chains more because they tend to have more solid and consistent quality management in their services and room facilities. I guess it comes with experience in customer service from managing their various hotels.

I would definitely recommend Always Niseko to anyone heading there not looking to spend a bomb on accommodation! I had an enjoyable stay and really look forward to head back for the next powder run in Niseko!

If you are interested, check out the reviews on Booking.com here! Have a good trip to Niseko!

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