When I was a kid, my grandmother would often take us on vacations that included stays in very, very nice hotels.
When she passed away in my 20s, my sisters and I realized all the things that our grandma did for us that we rarely appreciated – including those very nice hotel stays.
We never knew how spoiled we were until that moment and how late our gratitude was for all the amazing vacations and stays our grandma provided for us.
Up until now, we still talk about our good times and offer a prayer above the skies to compensate for all those kid years that we failed to live in the moment and be grateful for everything that we had.
When I started to travel a lot, I had a backpacking phase. When it comes to accommodations in other countries, I would always book through Agoda and filter the price. I often choose the most affordable accommodation but with quality amenities and reviews.
I always make sure that it’s clean and safe.
In that first year of my backpacking phase, I was content.
I would only stay at my accommodation to sleep for about 5 to 6 hours and would be off on my merry way, accomplish my itineraries, and have the best travel experiences of my life.
But in cases that I wrongfully book a horrible accommodation or can’t sleep at night on my small yet comfortable dorm bed in a hostel, I look back during my memories as a kid when my grandmother would always make sure that we had an amazing bed to sleep in, appetizing food to eat, or stay in a resort with the most surreal view.
I learn to be grateful for the nice things that I had, do have, or will have. So whenever I have any amazing blessing, whether it’s a worthwhile travel experience or even a very nice accommodation, I make sure to maximize every moment of it.
What I missed out on being grateful as a kid, I make sure not to miss any second now that I am an adult.
WHERE TO STAY IN NISEKO: SEARCHING FOR LUXURY STAYS IN NISEKO?
Check out my hotel/accommodation reviews and experiences with two of Hokkaido Tourism Management (HTM) Niseko’s brands – Niseko Central & Ki Niseko.
But first, what is HTM Niseko?
HTM Niseko, licensed as a Condominium Manager, Travel Company, and Hotel Operator, is a well-recognized, recently awarded, and largest asset manager in Niseko. Their expertise and experience in efficient hotel & hospitality management has captured the hearts of travelers worldwide that led one of their assets to be a #1 tourist-ranked accommodation (via TripAdvisor) in the whole Hokkaido region.
Here is a list of their assets, brands, & services:
Assets & Brands
For more information on HTM Niseko, visit www.htmniseko.com
In 2016, I had the opportunity to review and experience some of HTM Niseko’s brands. I got to try snowboarding for the very first time with Go Snow and stay at Ki Niseko.
If you want to know my experiences during that #Hokkaido2016 trip, READ – SERIES: Travel Gratefully with Ki Niseko
For my recent trip to Hokkaido, I had the opportunity to experience another stay at Ki Niseko and a first time stay at one of the properties of Niseko Central, Yama Shizen.
This time around, I was able to bring my mom along for the trip.
I am very grateful to the HTM Niseko team for making this possible.
Check out our experiences at these luxury accommodations in Niseko:
WHERE TO STAY IN HIRAFU, NISEKO: NISEKO CENTRAL’S YAMA SHIZEN HOTEL REVIEW
So what’s with the Yama Shizen parenthesized Niseko Central in the title of this article?
Why the heck are there 2 names to 1 accommodation?
Can it be just Niseko Central or does it have to be both?
Let me explain.
Niseko Central (NC), managed by HTM Niseko and formerly known as HT Holidays, is the biggest accommodation provider in Niseko. It tags itself as the “Heart of Niseko” as most of its properties are centrally located in the biggest resort in Niseko, Hirafu.
Niseko Central offers more than 200 luxury properties to suit guest’s preferences.
My mom and I had the opportunity to stay at one of its properties, Yama Shizen. Niseko Central is the umbrella brand.
So, you can actually call it either Niseko Central or Yama Shizen, whichever you prefer.
During our stay in Niseko, we were also able to pass by other properties of NC like Nozomi Views, Youtei Tracks, and Powder Tracks.
All located within walking distance to each other.
At these properties, you’ll also find the official Niseko Central logo on its exteriors.
Here are other Niseko Central properties that you can check out:
- Mori Houses
- J’s Den
- J House
- Horizon Townhouses
- Chalet Murasaki
- Kashi Lodge
- Hirafu House
- Sekka Kan
- Ezo 365
- Deep Tracks
- Whiskey Woods
Getting to Niseko Central’s Yama Shizen
Traveling from the Philippines (NAIA 1) to Hokkaido (New Chitose Airport)? READ: Fly Jetstar to Hokkaido & Experience these Stunning Winter Destinations!
Traveling from New Chitose Airport to Niseko Central’s Yama Shizen? READ: Book your Niseko (Hokkaido) Transfers with KKday!
Our Stay at Niseko Central’s Yama Shizen
When our van halted in front of Yama Shizen’s entrance, I was more aware of the continuous heavy downpour of snow outside instead of where we’ll be staying during our first night in Niseko.
It was mostly a scenery of almost blinding white in every angle. It hit me that we were finally there. We were finally in Niseko!
Although the pristine snow can get pretty enticing, I realized I wasn’t in proper winter wear yet and the cold’s first hit when we exited the van was definitely a surprise!
That’s when I thought that I wanted to go up to our room and change! And that’s when I realized that OH YAY! we’re here at Niseko Central! I’ve been looking and researching it up online and prior to the trip, we were really excited to stay at this recently awarded (TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence 2017) accommodation!
Niseko Central’s Yama Shizen consists of 2 apartment buildings (East & West) that is centrally and conveniently located in the Hirafu area. These 2 buildings have a total of 39 rooms.
Here are the room types at Yama Shizen:
- Studio Room
- 1 Bedroom Condo
- 2 Bedroom Condo
- 3 Bedroom Condo
- 3 Bedroom Penthouse
My mom and I were booked to stay in a Studio Room at Yama Shizen West.
Upon entering the lobby of the building, we exhaled a breath of relief for the warmth we immediately felt. It was really cold outside! BRRRRRRR!
The lobby was pretty deserted upon our arrival and there were no Niseko Central staff to assist us so I walked around the lobby to try and find someone. I just found a few locked doors (that I knocked on but no one answered) and a closed café.
Outside, we could see other guests arriving as well and entering the lobby of the other apartment building, Yama Shizen East, so my mom went to inquire there while I stayed with our luggage.
Waiting for my mom, I just stared at the mesmerizing snow fall outside. It was so tempting to go out but when the doors would open, the cold reality hit me that I couldn’t YET.
I saw that my mom was on her way back with a Niseko Central staff (Jen) following behind her.
We arrived around 2PM.
Check-in time at Niseko Central is usually 3PM but Jen informed us if our room was ready and clean, guests are free to check-in early.
After a few pleasantries with Jen, she led us to our room. This was really cool because the check-in process would be inside our rooms, not at a designated lobby or reception. I’ve never had a check-in inside a room before.
We entered a mini-reception (Genkan – combination of a porch and a doormat in Japan) area adjoining 2 rooms. The area included seats, landings to put our footwear, and hangers to dry out winter coats.
Niseko Central deems it important that shoes (especially Snow boots) should be left within the Genkan so as not to damage the floors inside the actual rooms.
Upon entering our room, it was suddenly a blast of light compared to the Genkan. We were awed immediately by the view!
We all seated around the small table in the sofa area and Jen started to discuss all things Niseko Central and Yama Shizen. The check-in felt really personal. It was like I was just talking to a friend. The whole process felt inviting and worthy. It was a nice and new travel experience.
Jen provided all the necessary information that we needed to know during our stay plus a few extras that would make our Niseko stay a good one. She explained all the details while showing us visual aids in the form of info sheets, pamphlets, and booklets.
In summary, here are the amenities that were provided to us during our check-in and stay:
- Free telephone calls (local area)
- Complimentary water, coffee, and tea
- Kitchenette – sink with hand & dish washing soap, toaster, microwave, boiling pot, utensils, plates, glasses, kitchenware, mini-refrigerator
- Laundry room (which is shared by the 2 adjoining rooms – in our case, there were other guests staying in the other room but since we only stayed 1 night, we didn’t use this)
- Bathroom – hair dryer, shampoo, shower gel, conditioner, hand soap
- Niseko area guides and booklets
- Niseko Central tote bag – My mom loves this! After our trip, she uses this everywhere, everyday. For a freebie, it’s very sturdy and of quality! It easily beat out all other tote bags that we bought in malls.
- Taxi bookings within Niseko – we were supposed to avail this because we wanted to visit Milk Kobo but it was too expensive. (More information on this when I publish my Niseko 2018 Guide & Experience)
- TV & Stereo
- 24-hour apartment service calls – after 5PM, they refer to it as an emergency contact
- Shuttle arrival/departure transfers
- Restaurant reservations
- Niseko Central Ski Valet
- Lockers with key
- Niseko Passport
- Discount cards for Rhythm Japan
Here are also other guest services that are available for additional charges:
- Welcome Food Packs
- Wine Delivery
- Babysitting & Child Care
- Sightseeing & Day Trips
After the check-in process, Jen genuinely answered all our immediate inquiries. After everything was sorted out, Jen made us feel that her or any Niseko Central staff would be happy to help any time in case we needed anything during our stay.
She reminded us about the calls and to enjoy our stay. To which I gratefully responded, “We definitely will!”
When Jen left, what we took notice immediately was the view outside. Growing up watching Hollywood movies, I always dreamed of experiencing a balcony with snow.
I was so excited to wake up to THIS the next day. HAHAHAHA! I know! I was already thinking of the next day in THAT moment!
My mom was taking lots of photos and videos already. Mind you! It might look nice and you just want to lie in it but damn, it was SO COLD!
The snow was still pouring heavily. Even though we were in socks and hotel slippers, that didn’t help ease the cold. We took photos outside for mere seconds before wanting to go back inside again.
How could something so awe-inspiringly beautiful be so untouchable?
I sat on the floor by the window and just stared for a few minutes. I didn’t even sit on the couch. I wanted to be closer. ANG GANDA TALAGA! I felt like a kid. It was like I was fulfilling an 8 year old dream – to sit by a windowsill of a White Christmas.
After that short #KidDream moment, I stood up and started to fix our bags and take photos.
What did I think of the amenities?
Right off the bat, the Studio Room felt like a home-y mini apartment.
We had 2 single beds, a bathroom with a glass roomed shower, woody sink, and Japanese toilet, kitchenette, sofa, table, segregated trash drawers, holding chair backed against a mirror, TV, coat hangers that were attached to a heated wall, heater by the window, and a balcony.
The vibe of it all was a mix of a modern home, hotel, and an apartment, probably a small CondoTel with a hint of luxury.
It was definitely cozy and clean which complimented the comfortable beds and sofa.
The bathroom lacked toothbrushes and toothpaste but Jen assured us that other toiletries that weren’t available can easily be purchased at a nearby drugstore (Sapporo Drug Store at Hirafu 188).
The space of the bathroom isn’t what you’d normally see in Japan because it was bigger than the usual but there was still a high tech toilet so YAY for an attached bidet! HAHAHAHA! The shower was easy to use and hot water was readily available.
After a long travel day (12MD – 6AM Manila to Tokyo, 9AM – 11AM Tokyo to Sapporo, 11AM – 2PM Sapporo to Niseko), we definitely just wanted to stay in our very nice room! But we also wanted to explore as we had a few itineraries planned in the late afternoon.
During our #Hokkaido2018 trip, my mom would always joke that whenever we leave or arrive at a specific destination, we would always banter, Oh tara na! Mag-costume na tayo! (Alright it’s time to put our costumes on!) or Tanggalin na ang costume (Time to take off our costume)!
Coming from a tropical country, we needed a lot of winter clothes to adjust to Niseko’s winter temperature. So we came prepared! Or so we thought! We referred to our winter clothes as “costumes” because it would take us around 5-10 minutes to put on or take everything off! We were used to going to beaches putting on our suit and dress and we’d be out of the hotel room in less than 5 minutes. But in Hokkaido, phew! The costume part felt like a warm-up or cool-down from a workout. HAHAHAHA!
After putting our shoes on inside the Genkan, we went down to the lobby. We could already feel a few gusts of wind outside when guests would come in through the sliding doors.
A BIG TIP: DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE YOUR WINTER CLOTHES. BUY QUALITY WINTER WEAR OR BE PREPARED TO PUT ON A LOT OF LAYERS!
We braced and braved ourselves. HAHAHAHAHA!
Once we were out the doors, it was a mix of magical dust, freezing damn its!, and a spectacular view of all white.
Standing in the middle of Yama Shizen’s 2 tall apartment buildings, I felt like I was walking down an aisle to a winter wedding. HAHAHAHAHA!
At one side, we saw Niseko Central’s logo outside the exteriors of Yama Shizen East.
After exploring short distances around Yama Shizen and Hirafu, here are some things to know if you’re staying at Niseko Central:
- The Hirafu Intersection bus stop is just a 2-3 minute straight down walk from Yama Shizen
- Hirafu 188 (Sapporo Drug Store) is just a 1-2 minute walk when you turn right from Yama Shizen
- Once you’ve reached the Hirafu intersection bus, you’ll find mini food vans, a Seicomart, Odin Place Niseko, and so many accommodations & restaurants nearby. I think this is what you’d refer to as the MAIN STREET in most places where “It’s all where it’s at!”
- From Yama Shizen, you’ll also get to pass by other Niseko Central properties like Nozomi Views, Powder Tracks, and Youtei tracks.
- There are also lots of winter and snow path backdrops that are perfect for your social media “photo shoots” around Yama Shizen
The powder snow was dry so we didn’t slip at all.
BUT IT WAS VERY COLD.
Since it was our first day in Niseko, in Japan no less, we were still adjusting. We were wearing Uniqlo heat tech and layers but we still felt really cold. It was too cold to function – to get my camera & phone inside my bag or even actually OPEN my bag! HAHAHAHA! So it was definitely a relief entering establishments like Seicomart where it was VERY warm. YAAAAAS!
After missing out on an itinerary (more soon when I publish my Niseko guide) and buying food at Seicomart, we decided to retire to Yama Shizen and re-energize for the next day.
The walk up the short hill back to Yama Shizen wasn’t bad at all. There were moments (seconds) that we would forget how cold we were and basked in the beautiful winter in our midst.
We took some photos and once we reached Yama Shizen, we stared at the view of Grand Hirafu resort at the aisle. We could see the lights in a grayish view. Snow was still pouring heavily.
I didn’t even know I was taking photos and staring too long when my mom called out to me and told me that we should go back to our room because she was freezing already. In that moment, it hit me too. It’s crazy how a few seconds of an exhilarating moment can make you forget the things that make you uncomfortable. There’s always good in any moment.
After fixing our things and freshening up. WOW! That shower was a relief! I really loved the smell of the toiletries. It was flowery fresh and pretty pleasant!
After that, my mom and I just sat around the table and ate our food purchases from Seicomart. And we just stared at the view. The snowfall wasn’t letting up. It was beautiful. I’m really glad and grateful that I got to share those moments with my mom.
We used the toaster, boiling pot, and a couple of plates and washed/wiped them after. If you’re staying at Niseko Central and availed the Eco cleaning option, you need to put everything in the room back in its original place. All trash should be inside the segregated drawers while all wares used should be cleaned. Additional charges may be applied if not complied with.
From dusk to dark, it was starting to get a bit cold inside the room. We noticed that even with the sliding doors completely shut, it wasn’t sealed well enough to keep the winter air out. We could feel a bit of wind still coming inside. We turned up the heater to its full strength (or so we thought) and just let it heat up the room.
After a few hours, it was still cold and the heater didn’t seem to be working so we called someone to help. Maybe we dialed the heater wrong or something? After 15-20 minutes, a Niseko Central staff arrived and checked the heater. He put it at maximum heat and started to draw the blinds down.
My mom asked if it could stay up as she wanted to keep seeing the view outside. But the staff said that it was necessary to keep the blinds down so that the room would get heated.
When the staff left, my mom drew up one of the blinds and kept the one near the sliding door down. It did heat up a bit but the room felt air-conditioned. I had to cover up my whole body from head to toe with the thick blanket to keep warm a few times. Overall, it was still a very comfortable sleep. Just in case you experience this during your stay at Yama Shizen, request for an EXTRA portable heater.
Since our room was adjoined with another, we could hear the other guests when they arrived in or departed from the Genkan. But other than that, it was a pretty silent night!
When I woke up the next day, I immediately drew up the remaining blinds so my mom can wake up to a full view. It was still snowing but it was a little brighter. SOBRANG GANDA! (It was so beautiful!) NAKAKAIYAK! (It got me teary-eyed!) ANG SARAP GUMISING SA GANITONG VIEW! (It felt so good to wake up to something like this!)
After our post wake-up stare down with the winter view outside, we started to get ready and pack up our things. We were only staying for one night at Niseko Central. After fixing all our stuff and luggage, we started to fix the room. We made sure to put everything that we moved back in its place. We washed the dishes and left them on the kitchenette landing to dry.
After our morning itinerary, we walked back through the snow roads leading back to Yama Shizen. It was a perfect winter stroll with occasional peeks from the sun.
We did final checks on our stuff and just sat by the window again while we waited for check-out.
If you’ve settled everything with Niseko Central already, you can just leave your key cards on the table or kitchenette counter and be off your way.
Our scheduled check-out was 10:30 but at 10:20, a staff from Niseko Central and Ki Niseko were already there to pick-up our luggage. Our next stay would be at Ki Niseko. The NC staff also took our key cards while we had a few more minutes to spare to take photos and do our very final checks.
Our stay at Yama Shizen was amazing. It was cozy and centrally located. And oh YAAAS! I loved that windowsill and balcony view. It was like a channel I wanted to watch all day.
All the things you need for your Niseko stay are conveniently available around Yama Shizen – restaurants, convenience stores, snow rentals, bars, and many more. If you plan on long term stays in Niseko, Yama Shizen is definitely an apartment that you should check out! It’s a home away from home with a dash of luxury and a backdrop of amazing snowfall.
On our first night in Hokkaido, we found a new home in Niseko Central’s Yama Shizen. Although fleeting, it was definitely a worthwhile stay!
Do you want to experience a stay at Niseko Central’s Yama Shizen? Here are the average prices for a studio room at Yama Shizen (as of 2017-2018 season prices):
Off-Peak Season (June to Oct)
|Peak Season (Nov to May)|
I did trial bookings (as of FEB 2018) on discount travel websites like Agoda and Traveloka and found that the cheapest prices for a Studio Room at Yama Shizen during peak season start at ₱8,500+. But it requires a minimum 3 night stay. This holds true for other properties of Niseko Central as well. Some would even require up to a minimum 5 night stay.
If you’re planning to visit Niseko during the off-peak season, I also did trial bookings (as of FEB 2018) on nisekocentral.com and the most affordable prices I’ve seen so far start at ₱6,500+ for some of Niseko Central’s properties (studio rooms at Powder Tracks or Nozomi Views).
BOOK YOUR NISEKO CENTRAL STAY TODAY!
For more information on Yama Shizen or other properties of Niseko Central, visit nisekocentral.com or inquire at email@example.com
Stay updated on all things Niseko Central! by following the brand’s social media accounts:
WHERE TO STAY IN HIRAFU, NISEKO: KI NISEKO HOTEL REVIEW
As indicated above, I already had the opportunity to stay at Ki Niseko back in 2016. READ – SERIES: Travel Gratefully with Ki Niseko
That’s what you’ll feel after experiencing a stay at Ki Niseko.
In my previous article of Ki Niseko, I’ve said that it was the best hotel I’ve ever stayed at. And it still holds true. KI NISEKO IS STILL THE BEST HOTEL I’VE STAYED AT IN MY ENTIRE LIFE SO FAR. Considering that I’ve had the opportunity to stay at El Nido Resort’s Lagen Island, it still doesn’t hold a candle to the experience I’ve had at Ki Niseko.
It’s like every second of our stay was perfect. Let me share with you our experience at Ki Niseko during our recent #Hokkaido2018 trip.
Getting to Ki Niseko
It was our second day in Niseko and we just arrived at the Hirafu intersection bus stop from a busy morning of winter activities – Snowmobiling at White Isle Niseko & Snow Tubing at Hanazono 308.
We were trying to figure out the best Hirafu shuttle to use that would conveniently bring us to Ki Niseko without having to walk a long distance.
At the stop, Hirafu shuttles weren’t arriving. We were there for about 10 minutes, starting to freeze our asses off when a purple van was approaching. It was the Ki Niseko shuttle van! In that moment, I wasn’t sure if we could hop on because we weren’t officially checked-in yet. But when we asked the driver, he just nodded and wrote something on his clipboard.
NOTE: Anyone can hop on/off the Ki Shuttle. But it’s only limited to the fixed stops by Ki Niseko.
We thought, YAY! We no longer had to walk from Hirafu shuttle bus stops because this van was taking us straight to the doorsteps of Ki Niseko. What a relief!
Our Stay at Ki Niseko
When the van stopped, I couldn’t fathom my excitement because I was there again. I was in Ki Niseko again! It was very overwhelming to be in one of the best places I’ve ever been to for the second time around.
Once we entered the lobby, we loved it because UMINIT, SYEMPRE! (It became warm, of course!) We were out all day doing winter activities and waited at the bus stop for a freezing amount of time, so YES! we were ecstatic about the heat.
When I approached the counter, the front receptionists were all smiles already. Just as I remembered them!
While doing the check-in process, the Ki Niseko staff that came to Niseko Central that same morning happily let us know that our bags were in our room already.
While the receptionist (Martina) was checking my hotel information on the computer, I could hear the details of the stay of the guest next to me. He was staying for 6 NIGHTS! OMG! Lucky him, I thought!
But you know, a one night’s stay at Ki Niseko is already a blessing. To experience something so perfect even for just a snap moment is more than enough!
In summary, here are the amenities that were provided to us during our check-in and stay:
- Ki Niseko Cookie – OMG I LOVE THIS! Have you ever stayed at a hotel and find that you’ve been given freebies like chocolates or candies but they were just paraphernalia just to give off the vibe that they provided something extra? Well, at Ki Niseko, they give amazing & quality COOKIES! One of the best cookies I’ve tasted ever! They only give 1 cookie per guest upon check-in but you can purchase a whole box at the Ki Gift shop along with other Ki Niseko merchandise.
- Info sheets, maps, pamphlets, and booklets
- Niseko Passport
- Discount cards for Rhythm Japan
- Samue (Japanese room wear) – This is also used if you’re interested in using the private or public onsens.
- Free telephone calls (local area) and Wi-fi
- Private & Public Onsen (hot spring) – You can reserve a private onsen upon your check-in. Since the hotel was fully booked during that period, we were only able to book an 11:45PM private onsen session by the time we checked-in at around 3:30PM.
- An Dining Breakfast Buffet
- Complimentary water, coffee, & tea
- Restaurant reservations
- Ki Shuttle & Transfers
- Ski Valet
- Ki Gallery
After the check-in process, Martina was happy to help us find the cookies at the Ki Gift Shop and show the way to the private onsen to make our reservation.
After final pleasantries with Martina, we took the elevator up to our room.
I was so excited for my mom to see the room and see her reaction that I didn’t know that I was also in for a treat.
Back in 2016, I stayed in a Ki Niseko hotel room which I thought would be the same case during our recent trip but the HTM Niseko upgraded me to a 1 Bedroom Condo. When it seemed like the room was sizing up a little further than the bedroom, I was surprised to find a dining and living room area! NAKAKAIYAK SA SOBRANG GANDA TALAGA! (I wanted to cry because of how amazing it was!)
I was very surprised!
I was really grateful in that moment because I had my mom there with me to celebrate the accommodation’s greatness!
When you’re grateful, it makes the moment more exciting and worthwhile!
It becomes an unforgettable experience for you to cherish in your hearts forever.
When I was taking photos, I was really tearing up!
It was a VERY, VERY nice room.
Look at this bed?!
Don’t you just want to do a Mary Poppins and jump inside this photo to melt into this bed!
Comfort level x 1,000!
It was funny at some point because my mom didn’t want to lie down on the bed because she knew once she did, she wouldn’t be able to get up and finish our itinerary for the day. HAHAHAHAHA!
Since we stayed in a 1 Bedroom Condo at Ki Niseko, we had:
- Bathroom – complete toiletries, shower & bath
- Washing machine & dryer
- Full Kitchen
- Dining Area
- Living Room Area
- THE BEST WINDOW(SILL) IN THE WORLD – Resort View
- Bedroom separated by glass walls
- 2 single beds
It was definitely a complete set-up & more!
Here are other room types at Ki Niseko:
- Hotel Room
- 1 Bedroom Condo
- 1 Bedroom Deluxe Condo
- 2 Bedroom Condo
Our 1 bedroom condo had modern elegance with a hint of Japanese discipline. That’s what I love about Ki Niseko! It has that world class vibe without compromising the Japanese quality in them.
Everything was clean and pristine-looking. All were organized and placed in the right spot!
Everything was perfect! I can’t stop saying perfect because it’s true!
In 2016, I stayed in a mountain-view hotel room. I already thought great things of that view but the resort view room just takes the cake!
It was like I had a large live screensaver for a window. The snow was continuously falling and accumulating against the window sill and the frost covered trees just complimented it all.
My mom and I just stayed and stared by the window for a bit. What’s with us and windows, right? We like views. As much as possible, we always like to place ourselves where we can see a good view. Whether it’s too relax or eat, we want an amazing view in our midst.
We want a good scenery of the natural, the simple things. Whether it’s a luxury setting or not, an amazing view can make anything out of nothing.
After resting a bit, we decided to quickly check off the last item on our itinerary list for the day – Grand Hirafu gondola ride and snow walk – so that we could immediately return to our amazing room.
Our room was conveniently located near the Ski Valet so this is where we decided to pass to reach the Hirafu Gondola.
I was so surprised to see how packed the valet was! Back in 2016, I think the only snowboards that were lined were only 2 but this time, it was so full! Definitely packed with snow equipment and gear!
The valet looked like it was selling these things! Damn! Crazy packed!
I was actually informed thereafter that the hotel was fully booked. Staying at Ki Niseko is an investment but to see how packed the valet was goes to show that it really is a quality and worthwhile accommodation for travelers.
Once we got back from the Grand Hirafu Mountain Ski Resort & Gondola, we had the time of our lives experiencing each inch of the room? HAHAHAHA!
My mom took an hour bubble bath while I laid down the sofa and just watched the view out the window.
That’s what I was watching instead of the TV next to it! HAHAHAHAHA!
I imagined that at any moment Jon Snow would be running through the snow covered forest being chased by white walkers. HAHAHAHAHA!
The sofa was so comfortable as well that it could be a bed substitute.
My mom was really maximizing her bath as the room also comes with a portable speaker where you can just place your phone and connect to play music. She definitely had a relaxing time after our long winter activity day!
We had a scheduled dinner at The Alpinist, Odin Place Niseko so we made use of Ki Niseko’s free shuttle service.
This is freaking efficient!
The shuttle bus leaves every 15 minutes (ex: 9:00, 9:15, 9:30, 9:45, etc) ON THE DOT! Crazy Japan time!
Why can’t it be like this in the Philippines? HUHUHUHUHUHUHU!
Its designated stops around central Hirafu are conveniently located within short distances to rentals shops, restaurants, bus stops that other shuttles (Niseko United, Hanazono, Hirafu, etc) stop at as well so you can make transfers if needed, etc.
This shuttle just goes in a loop! So you can be dropped off and picked up at the designated stops during your winter stay.
I estimated one loop and I think it lasts for about 5-10 minutes per round: Ki Niseko – Hirafu 188 (Sapporo Drug Store) – Rhythm Japan (Ski Rental) – Hirafu Intersection – Ki Niseko. This route may be subject to change so confirm with the front staff first.
If you’re visiting Odin Place Niseko, a drop-off at Rhythm Japan or Hirafu Intersection is convenient.
We capped off our night at Odin Place Niseko at around 10:15 PM but my mom wanted to buy a few things at Seicomart first. At 10:30, we headed to the Hirafu Intersection stop and after around 5 minutes, the Ki Niseko shuttle arrived! We went our merry way and couldn’t wait to get back to our perfect room!
Maximize the use of the free Ki shuttle during your stay!
Here are also other Ki Niseko guest services that are available for additional charges:
- Welcome Food & Beverage Packs
- Sightseeing & Day Trips
- Car Rental
- In Accommodation Babysitting
- Requests for Special Occasions
- Summer Tours – Cycling, Golf, Rafting, etc
- Winter Tours – Lift Tickets, Powder Guiding, Snowmobiling, etc
- Ki Spa
- Ki Gift Shop
- An Dining Café & Bar
After entering the lobby doors, we were once again met with smiles from the front staff asking us how our night was! I really love the pleasantries!
Back at our room, my mom played music on the speakers again and started to do exercises while looking out the view!
I was just watching the view with her whilst making fun of her! HAHAHAHAHA!
That’s what you call maximizing the window view.
We never turned on the TV!
We were just so mesmerized by the view of the room that we didn’t care to watch anything else.
In the middle of this, we decided to use the washing machine to clean some of our winter accessories like neck warmers and gloves. The instructions on the machine were in Japanese so we decided to call the front desk for help.
After 5 minutes, I was surprised to find one of the Ki Niseko front desk staff at our door. It was great to see that the front staff can also do tasks such as these. In the Philippines, you’d never see the front staff doing room service calls like teaching us how to use the washing machine. It would definitely be a technician that would do this. It’s so refreshing to see that Ki staff can multitask and do numerous functions for the hotel. Kudos to this!
And of course, the staff (Hunter) was genuinely nice in helping us during our predicament with the washing machine.
After taking a perfect shower and fixing my things, I finally retired to the bedroom. COZY to the 1000th level!
It was so soft!
I felt like I was being hugged by marshmallows!
It was so damn comfortable!
I was starting to drift off when my mom started to get ready for her private onsen session.
My mom told me that she liked the onsen because it was private. But she would have preferred if it wasn’t enclosed. She wanted an outside onsen experience that was private.
Ki Niseko does have an outdoor onsen but it’s public.
Mom gave the toiletries and the amenities a thumbs up because they were complete and clean.
I was too tired to join her PLUS I was already lying on the bed.
No one could force me to get up from this bed haven! HAHAHAHAHA!
When my mom left for the onsen, I did a few social media checks in the bedroom before I stood up and closed all the lights. The only light that was on in that moment was from the hotel lights outside.
The view was hypnotic that I sat down by the windowsill again even though I had to get up from the bed. I stand corrected, this view can get me up from the comfortable bed! HAHAHAHAHA!
It was the perfect view to cap off the perfect and long winter day.
As I hopped on my bed I glanced one last time at the view and slowly drifted off to an amazing sleep.
When I woke up the next morning, I was surprised to find that my mom wasn’t beside me and that her pillows and comforter was nowhere in sight.
I found her on the sofa all bunched up in the said pillows and comforter. When I woke her up for breakfast, she told me that she was already drifting off on the bed but she felt that the view outside was calling her to sleep beside it.
She couldn’t resist.
It was calling to her, right, so why not? HAHAHAHA!
She stood up and carried her pillows and blanket and set it up on the couch.
I really loved that my mom had the best time. This was one of the reasons why I wanted to come back to Ki Niseko – so that my mom could experience the luxury of it all.
She deserves it and I’m glad that I was able to make her experience it.
When I told my mom to prepare so we could have the best breakfast ever, she was still over by that couch and window. HAHAHAHA!
She didn’t want to leave her comfortable set-up but I promised her that leaving it was worth it because we were about to have one of the best breakfasts ever!
Breakfast at An Dining Cafe & Bar
I was so excited!
I remember posting a lot about the best breakfast I’ve ever had in Japan in my social media accounts and blog in the past months – the rice, Hokkaido butter & croissant, little hotdogs, salmon roe, OMG! I couldn’t believe I had the chance to have that breakfast again more than a year later! WITH my mom!
READ: SERIES: An Dining at Ki Niseko Review (2016 Experience)
This time around, the set-up was different. An Dining Café & Bar was divided into two during breakfast – for those who just wanted to have coffee & tea and those who wanted to have the breakfast buffet.
Since it was peak season, we couldn’t pick a table by the window view as those needed to have 4 guests in the booking. The tables were set-up and organized by guests with 2,3,4, or more.
The rooms with only 2 guests stayed at the farthest right. I told my mom to sit where she can see the view of the window while I had my back to it.
I remember having the perfect view of Mt. Yotei during my breakfast in 2016.
My mom’s view was a 40% snow-covered window with grayish skies above.
The selection was more or less the same as the one I had in 2016 but of course still very good!
The butter was a little different as it had a different packaging but still the same OH SO GOOOOOOD taste!
I took a video of my mom taking a bite of her bread with THAT whipped butter and she said the most surprising WOW! Ang saya! (So happy!)
My mom was overwhelmed by the buffet as she didn’t know what to eat at first! HAHAHAHA!
She loved the organic rice and wanted to bring some home. She said it was the best rice she has ever eaten.
I loved the salmon roe, poached egg, rice, breads, Hokkaido whipped butter (of course!) and the gluten free cookies!
Since there was smoked salmon, I requested for fresh wasabi. I only had the chance to taste this in 2016 during my fine dining experience and I wanted my mom to taste fresh wasabi also.
The staff happily gave us small bowls of the green goodness. It really heightened the flavor of the salmon and the little spice didn’t bother us at all! (We hate spicy food btw!) It was THAT complimenting!
The breakfast was still as amazing the second time around.
This time it was special because I got to have it with my mom.
It was definitely a grateful moment!
We started breakfast at 7:00AM and stayed until 8:15AM. We didn’t eat all that time, alright?
We eased into it so we could experience every bit of gastronomic goodness slowly. HAHAHAHAHA!
Back at our room, we started to fix all our stuff so we could hang out and maximize our time at the sofa and window.
What’s with these two and windows AGAIN, right?
WELL, we’re like that YO! Deal with it! HAHAHAHAHA!
We’re enamored by the simplest things and we’ll definitely maximize every second we can get.
It was a Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious morning!
We just bonded until our 9:30AM check-out because we had to catch the Hokkaido Resort Liner bus at 10:00AM at the Hirafu Welcome Center.
After the check-out process, a Ki Niseko staff got our luggage and placed it inside the Ki shuttle that would take us to the welcome center. We just waited for another group of guests to finish their check-out process.
Looking around the Ki Niseko lobby, I just started saying Thank you! to the universe in my head.
I was grateful for another wonderful opportunity to experience such an amazing accommodation.
In my 2016 article, I praised the people at Ki Niseko and it’s the same and more this second time around.
The perfect service plus the already perfect amenities makes Ki Niseko a 100-star for me.
Ki Niseko is a luxury WITH HEART. You feel it. You experience it. You feel rewarded for something that you worked so hard for.
They provide you with what you deserve and more.
That’s the kind of service people should earn and save up for!
Ki Niseko’s mantra is “We wish you an unforgettable stay!” and that’s what really happens, you never forget the heartwarming and accommodating people. You never forget the luxurious stay. You never forget the little conveniences.
You give your best and you receive the best.
That’s what makes it memorable.
Do you want to stay at the BEST HOTEL EVER? Here are the average prices for a 1 bedroom condo at Ki Niseko (as of season 2017-2018 prices):
Off-Peak Season (June to Oct)
|Peak Season (Nov to May)|
Just like with Niseko Central, I did trial bookings for Ki Niseko stays on Agoda (the prices are cheaper here than Traveloka).
The most affordable room type is a studio hotel room wherein prices for a 1 night stay start at ₱9,000+ during the off-peak season and ₱18,000+ during peak season.
BOOK YOUR STAY AT KI NISEKO TODAY!
Interested in staying at Ki Niseko? Visit kiniseko.com for more information or inquire at firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow Ki Niseko’s social media accounts so you’re updated on all things Ki Niseko!
FB: Ki Niseko – 木ニセコ
PERKS OF STAYING AT YAMA SHIZEN (NISEKO CENTRAL) OR KI NISEKO?
For me, staying at a Niseko Central property or Ki Niseko is the #BiggestExtra of them all. But the #BiggestExtra comes with a lot of little extras TOO. One of those is the Niseko Passport.
Upon your check-in, each guest will receive a complimentary Niseko Passport card. It allows you to receive amazing deals in and around Niseko. This perk is only available to a handful of luxury hotel brands in Niseko.
Here are a few places where you can make good use out of your Niseko Passport:
❄ If your Hokkaido trip also includes a stay in Sapporo, you can get a 10% discount at Cross Hotel Sapporo.
The vibe and ambience at this hotel is almost the same as Ki Niseko’s rooms but in a city setting. I loved the outdoor public bath at the top so make sure to try it if you’re staying at Cross Hotel Sapporo! READ – Travel Gratefully with Cross Hotel Sapporo
❄ Visiting Hirafu’s trending icon, Odin Place Niseko? Get 10% off with the Niseko Passport at participating outlets.
Grab a quick breakfast take-out of pastries and coffee at KOKO,
Or have a satisfying wine&dine cheese-fest at The Alpinist,
Or an all night-er cap at Musu to celebrate your first, last, or every night in Niseko.
❄ A first time skier & snowboarder or don’t have the gear & equipment during your trip to Niseko?
Quality snow gear and equipment can come in quite hefty rental and retail prices so I’m sure any discount is welcome, right? When you use the Niseko Passport, you can get a 5% discount at Rhythm Japan, North Face Gravity Niseko, or at the Grand Hirafu Mountain Center Shop.
❄ Planning to ski and snowboard all day at Niseko Mt Resort Grand Hirafu? Don’t forget to refuel and re-energize yourself by eating at the mountain café! With the Niseko Passport, you can get 10% off your lunch meals at King Bell, Ace Hill, and Tanta’an.
I know that sometimes at check-ins, when we’re provided with so many pamphlets, cards, or papers, we just throw them out or pack them in a pile in our bags.
#KnowYourExtras and maximize every bit of it!
These are small opportunities that are freely provided. It’s an #ExtraService that we should definitely take advantage of!
For more information on the Niseko Passport, visit experienceniseko.com/passport
I’m very grateful that I had the chance to experience these amazing luxury with heart accommodations with my mom and I’m sure our grandma was there enjoying with us.
I made sure that I felt grateful all throughout, every second of it.
NOTE: Philippine Peso amounts may vary depending on exchange rate. As of FEB 2018, $1 = ₱51.27 and ¥1 = ₱0.47
This is a sponsored write-up. My experiences with products & services may or may not be the same as yours. All opinions are inspired by my experiences & nothing else.