‘Travel Gratefully’ is a series of special or sponsored write-ups that add more value and gratitude during my travels. The topics cover unique grateful experiences with specific people, things, places, and many others. For sponsored write-ups, all opinions are inspired by my experiences and nothing else. All posted articles are deemed worthy and in line with the main goal of this blog series which is to inspire MORE grateful travelling.
There are always moments in life that linger after it happens. It may stay with us through memory or feeling. Some remain right after it happens, some pop up in your mind from time to time, while others stay longer or not at all.
It has been around 9 days since my stay with Ki Niseko and everything I experienced is still fresh in my mind. The feelings I have felt in certain moments I can still feel in my heart. Ki Niseko gave me opportunities to experience a lot of firsts and these firsts are ones that I will always amazingly remember for the rest of my life.
The initial plan for my Hokkaido, Japan trip was to explore Sapporo and nearby areas only. But when I saw amazing photos and experience write ups of Niseko (one of the top ski resorts in the world), I decided to look into possible collaborations. I was so stunned and grateful when Ki Niseko responded and set in stone that I will actually be experiencing Niseko with them. I am so grateful to the Ki Niseko marketing team for the amazing opportunities and experiences I have gained during my stay.
WHERE TO STAY IN NISEKO: KI NISEKO HOTEL REVIEW
Here’s my full hotel review & experience of Ki Niseko (Date of Stay – Dec 2016):
Right off the bat, I am going to say this. THE BEST THING ABOUT KI NISEKO IS THE PEOPLE. Yes! My experience with Ki Niseko started with people and it ended with people. The amenities are great but what made it more amazing is the people. Yes! I have said PEOPLE 5 times already because I really want to emphasize how wonderful they are.
From inquiry to the moment I said goodbye to the Ki Niseko team, I felt taken cared of. Ki Niseko has the most accommodating staff I have ever experienced. They will 100% attend to your needs and wants and do it genuinely so. I have had my fair share of travel staff, nothing really compares to the warm and genuine accommodation that the Ki Niseko team provides.
You might tell me that the staff may just be like that because they sponsored me but that is not the case. Whenever I travel, I observe everything. Not just how people interact with me but how they do with others as well. What the Ki Niseko team showed me, they also showed to other people. I could see the gratitude and satisfaction on the faces of other guests. It was definitely a world class feeling!
The inquiry team was very thorough with the information they provided me once I confirmed my stay. They answered all my queries and responded with more answers than what I was looking for. They replied within hours after my emails and they confirm everything systematically. It was very efficient because I knew I had nothing to worry about when I arrive at Ki Niseko.
The moment I stepped on Niseko soil, the first thing I saw was a Ki Niseko team member already there holding up a sign welcoming me. Everyone was really easy to talk to. Most of the staff at Ki Niseko are Caucasians so it was not hard to communicate.
As a side note, can I just say that everyone was really attractive? HAHAHAHAHAHA! Everyone was so pleasing to the eyes that it made me smile a lot! I don’t know if it was just me but yeah, apart from them being attractive their super friendly demeanor and warm accommodation really made me ecstatic!
At every point during my stay, everyone at Ki Niseko was just ready to help. You can approach them easily or sometimes they even approach you and ask you if you need anything. THEY ARE THE MOST PROACTIVE STAFF I HAVE EVER COME ACROSS WITH!
Indeed, amazing. No words!
ACCOMMODATION & AMENITIES
Ki Niseko describes itself as “the boutique ski-in ski-out hotel with doorstep access to Niseko’s world famous snow”.
It is the #1 hotel on TripAdvisor in the Grand Hirafu Niseko area.
The accommodation & amenities are amazing! Everything was complete, clean, and definitely of quality. Everything you will be using is world class. During check-in, they provide you with everything that you need to know.
They give out brochures and even provided me with a complimentary cookie! And it tasted hella good!
From the start until the end, everything was pretty grand for me!
If you check Ki Niseko’s hotel prices, it will definitely be an investment. But I believe everything is worth it. The amenities are just world class that you are really provided with what you pay for. The price justifies its worth.
I got to stay in one of their hotel rooms that had an amazing view of Mt Yotei, a local semi dormant volcano. When I texted a photo of this volcano to my sister, she thought it was Mt Fuji. It was really a beautiful view from the room. Aside from hotel rooms, Ki Niseko provides deluxe condos and penthouses. If you are travelling in bigger groups, you should definitely look into these!
I really loved my hotel room. It is by far the best hotel room I have stayed at in my entire life. The bed was so soft and relaxing. I had an amazing view. The hotel provided complimentary drinks and there were even toiletries from L’occitane, a very expensive beauty brand.
Wi-fi is strong EVERYWHERE. And you only need one username and password to use the internet anywhere in the hotel.
If you check out the website and other photos of Ki Niseko, you may think it is all western but it has hints of Japan as well. The bathroom still has that common high tech toilet and the shower is separated into its own part, one where I have experienced in other areas of Japan.
Ki Niseko also has an onsen, a Japanese hot spring and bathing facility. They have outdoor and indoor onsens – one for males and another for females. These are natural spas that you have to be naked in. I wish I got to try these but I was super tired and my schedule was too packed that this amenity got overlooked.
If you feel a bit shy, Ki Niseko has a private onsen where you can reserve a slot. These are free for staying guests! Aside from the onsen, guests also have the option of availing massage services. The spa counter is just beside the onsen entrances.
In the first parts of this write up, I told you that my stay started and ended with the Ki Niseko team. Ki Niseko provides complimentary shuttles in different parts of Niseko. They can pick up and drop off at certain areas specifically significant areas where visitors tend to go.
Just some info you should know about Ki Niseko and its surrounding areas:
- 5 to 10 minutes walk to/from Grand Hirafu Welcome Center
- 30 seconds walk to the Grand Hirafu Mountain Center/Gondola
- 30 seconds walk to Go Snow School
- 15-20 minutes walk to Hirafu Town
- Grand Hirafu mountain is at the back of this hotel
If you need or want something, Ki Niseko can definitely provide. It seems like they have everything. They were able to provide me with everything that I needed and MORE. Ki Niseko will not let you down! They really want you to have the best experience that you can ever have. And I can definitely attest to that want!
For inquiries, contact email@example.com
Just writing this part of my Ki Niseko experience makes me tear up! Up until now, I can still remember the feeling I had when I ate my first course meal. I can still taste the most amazing breakfast I have ever had in my life. This is the impact that AN DINING of Ki Niseko has on me! It was literally one of the the best breakfasts and dinners I have ever had in my life so far! Really, I just want to cry! I am so grateful, Ki Niseko! Thank you so much!
SOBRANG SARAP! (Super delicious!)
SOBRANG GRABE! (Super WOW!)
SOBRANG GANDA! (Super beautiful!)
Let’s start with BREAKFAST!
All I can say is breakfast was supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!
I have always wanted to use this word from Mary Poppins. I wanted to use it to describe an amazing feeling that I couldn’t describe in words. While I was eating An Dining’s breakfast, I actually paused because I was so happy because I was experiencing such a wonderful moment. I even texted my mom in the middle of it and told her how amazing it was. When I sent her the photos, she told me that if she was there it would be her best day as well.
Breakfast was set up in a buffet style. There were a variety of Western and Japanese plates to choose from – cereals, juices, salads, breads, spreads, soups, meats, desserts, and many more. I wanted to eat everything but of course, I couldn’t. I tried sampling most of the food but whenever I would taste one dish I would feel like I died and went to heaven so I would go back for more of that.
During that time, I really wish my stomach would take 3 more hours worth of food but our stomachs sadly do not work that way. When I was about to get full, I knew I had to try the desserts already. There were really lots of moments when I wanted to cry because the food was so damn good. The breakfast was such a grateful experience.
When my family and I travel to a new place and eat breakfast, my mom would always choose a seat with a good view. My sisters and I would always make fun of her sometimes but I did the same during my An Dining breakfast. I placed my heavenly food right where I can see a snowy road leading up to a sunrise filled Mt Yotei. It was a simple act but with a grand effect.
I already thought the breakfast would be world class but with that beautiful view, that breakfast became a universal worthy one. We should always live for moments like these and when we are fortunate enough to live in that kind of moment, we should cherish every second of it.
THE BEST OF BREAKFAST
- Hokkaido Rice & Salmon Roe – This went great WITH EVERYTHING!
- Hokkaido Butter with Bread/Croissant – THIS IS THE BEST DAMN BUTTER IN THE WHOLE WORLD. It tasted creamy, milky, cheesy, yummy, smooth ALL AT THE SAME TIME! SOBRANG SARAP! AS IN! SOBRANG NAKAKAIYAK GRABE!
- Gluten Free Cookies – Even though I was super full when I ate this, I still had that died and went to heaven feeling! It was the best amount of gooey, chewy, and tasty!
- THE VIEW! – Make sure you get a seat where you can enjoy the Mt Yotei view! Pair it with An Dining’s world class breakfast and the feeling will be priceless!
If you are staying at Ki Niseko, make sure you avail the breakfast buffet! The breakfast cost me Y2,000 (P865+).
For DINNER, the Ki Niseko marketing team gave me the opportunity to try out their signature course meal. I have never had a course meal in my entire life so I was very ecstatic that I had my first one at An Dining.
The signature course meal menu had 7 dishes but I was served 8. Mind you, at around the 4th dish, I told the waiter I was getting really full already. He told the chef and the chef kindly decreased the portions of the next dishes so I would still get to taste all of them. This was really a relief!
The signature course meal had hits and misses for me. Although most of the dishes were really delicious and fresh, some of the meals had acquired tastes. They were not bad. There were just some tastes that I did not prefer.
Again, I would like to commend the waiter who served my course meal. He was really a thoughtful one! He was Japanese but he spoke very good English so it was not hard to communicate with him. He served, introduced, and explained every dish I was about to eat.
It was really a learning experience for me. It was not just about eating the food, it was realizing the important history and significance of each ingredient that I was about to put in my mouth. The An Dining signature course meal is definitely a must try experience!
All the dishes were presented so beautifully that I really spent a few minutes taking good photos of each. Kudos to the An Dining staff for such an amazing course meal! I got to meet Chef Maeda (a celebrity chef from Australia who is now the executive chef at An Dining, Ki Niseko) afterwards! He was really nice and hoped that I enjoyed the meal. I thanked him for the dinner and walked off the meal afterwards.
I will not show and describe each dish I ate as I will be writing about it in another article so watch out for it but here are THE BESTS OF DINNER:
- Slow braised Ebetsu black pork served with mashed Kutchan potato – The moment I saw this served on my table, I knew I was going to love this! A few minutes later, the sound of heaven was calling me the moment this touched my tongue! It smelled so good! I thought over and over “OMG OMG OMG”! The pork just melted in my mouth and went very well with the mash potato! I kind of cursed in my mind because of how amazingly good this dish was! Just heaven! This is the best dish from the whole course meal.
- Assortment of sashimi with fresh Wasabi – To be honest, I hate spicy food and when the waiter served me wasabi I was really hesitant. He said it was fresh Wasabi and it will taste good with the fresh sashimi. He was right! Fresh wasabi and commercial wasabi are very different! The fresh one tastes mild and so much better! It made the sashimi taste more delicious. There was just that “oomph” taste to it that really made me fall in love with this dish.
- Snowball – By the time dessert came, I was literally full. But as people always say there is always room for dessert and there should always, always be room for a snowball! Man! This dessert is an interesting one! It’s very light but it melts, pops, and crackles in your mouth! I swear! The taste did not emit fireworks but it felt like one in my mouth. The cheese in the middle also had a WOW factor. The moment I tasted it the word WOW literally cartooned in my mind.
Make sure you try the signature course meal dinner at An Dining! It will definitely start and cap off an amazing night during your stay at Ki Niseko!
For inquiries, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
SNOWBOARDING WITH GO SNOW
If you’re one of those people who do not like planning your travel schedules too much, Ki Niseko can plan it for you! While you’re staying in Niseko, the Ki Niseko concierge team can set you up with so many activities – for you and your loved one, your group of friends, or even your kids. Ki Niseko collaborates with so many companies within Niseko that your choice of activities are endless.
They can book your snow activities like skiing, snowboarding, winter horseback riding, snowshoe tours, and many more. Any winter activity you’re interested in, they most likely can give you information on it. The concierge team will always be there to accommodate your activity needs and make sure you have the best winter experience you will ever have!
The marketing team gave me the opportunity to try out snowboarding by sponsoring lessons. It was my first time to snowboard so I felt like a giddy kid knowing that I would learn something new.
On the day that I arrived, I had to pick up my snowboard boots, board, jacket, & pants at Rhythm Sports. This is Ki Niseko’s partner company for winter gear. The complimentary shuttle was supposed to take me but the hotel’s drivers just left for another route so the front desk called up Rhythm Sports to pick me up and they were at the entrance after a few minutes! So proactive!
Rhythm Sports is a 3 minute drive away. The staff was so nice and helped me with all the winter gear that I would need for my snowboard lessons. Almost all the staff at Rhythm was Caucasian. Most of them were working there for the winter season so they can ski or snowboard during their spare time as with all the staff I have met so far.
The 1 day reservation for snowboard boots, board, jacket, & pants cost me Y7,363 (P3,180+).
When I reached my hotel, the front desk team was already out the door ready to help me carry my snowboard equipment. I was really grateful for this! They were really proactive. It was really a great part of Ki Niseko.
Since Ki Niseko is a ski in ski out hotel, they have a ski valet where guests can put their winter equipment for safe keeping. You can just pick up and drop these off and do your day to day activities. After I used the equipment, they solely took care of it and returned it to Rhythm Sports for me. So efficient! I was really at awe! It just takes all of the hassle and stress away!
The snowboarding lessons were provided by Go Snow – another partner company of Ki Niseko that provides winter lessons. Go Snow is just a 30 second walk away from Ki Niseko’s ski valet so it is very very convenient! I joined an adult snowboarding lessons group which was headed by Stefan. He was really nice and very patient with me. Mind you guys, Snowboarding is fun but really hard! Everything is really uncomfortable at first because of the boots, cold, and the board but everything was definitely an experience.
Go Snow’s winter slope at Hirafu is so beautiful that I sometimes forget how tired I was from the lessons. It was just pristine and heavenly! It was all natural powder snow! It made the snowboard lesson much more exhilarating!
The snowboard lesson was difficult but really fun. It really is a sport. I had a great time exchanging stories with people from Hong Kong, England, Holland, and Poland. There were times that I was having a hard time with the snowboard steps but everyone was just supportive and fun! Stefan was really hands on and made sure that we were having fun and learning something. The lessons were really interactive as Go Snow provides skill modules and a few games. The snowboard lesson never got boring and was super interesting all throughout!
Snowboarding with Go Snow is definitely a must do while you’re in Niseko Hirafu! Book your lessons and equipment with Ki Niseko!
For Go Snow & other winter activity inquiries, contact email@example.com
For door to door private transfers to & from Niseko or throughout Hokkaido, check out Sky Express or inquire at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you decide to invest in a luxury stay in Niseko, I highly recommend booking with Ki Niseko.
Ki Niseko will make sure that you have the time of your life making you experience one of the best ski resorts in the world as a grand and genuine world class destination. I also want to give a shout out to all the amazing people I’ve met! You are awesome! Thank you so so so much for everything!
Travel Gratefully With Ki Niseko! For more details, visit kiniseko.com