I grew up watching a lot of Hollywood films so it came naturally that most of my wants were heavily influenced by ideas and themes from these films.
Being a kid that watched many movies that involved winter or snow scenes and was enchanted by the look of it had a dream far off, maybe unreachable, because I lived in a tropical country.
I yearned for it. TV series and movies made me feel that I had to experience it, that I had to want it.
I remember when I used to play pretend with my sisters that we were shivering in a cold cabin in a mountain somewhere. But we were just inside our province’s kubo with the scorching heat upon us.
We would also set up blanket forts and imagine that there was a snow storm, one of us creating the sound and physical effects outside of it. At the beach sometimes, we would try to build mini snowmen out of sand.
We made use of what we had.
That yearning would usually be satisfied when our grandmother would take us to Baguio every Christmas when we were little kids to teenagers. The cold feel of the weather + our stays at cottages at The Manor or at Baguio Country Club always made me feel fulfilled, that I was able to reach a materialistic dream that a TV show or movie influenced me to have.
In films, I was always fascinated when the main characters would go to a hidden cabin somewhere or take a trip to a popular Aspen lodge where all the popular kids were.
It made me feel serene when families would gather by the fire and watch the snow fall outside. Or when couples would cozy up to each other and just breathe in the romantic setting of it all.
I’ve always thought that a cabin setting was peaceful, an escape from all the blurs and whirls of city life, and a mere reward to relax.
When I was able to experience my first snow in my mid-20s, a few years back, I was really overwhelmed because something I yearned since I was a kid had me feel so many mixed emotions.
It was fascinating and unbearable at times! The cold needed to be adjusted to. A few times I got really sick because of it. But most times, I felt blessed. The moment of experiencing something you wanted for so long for the first time can’t be beat.
I’ve had lots of winter experiences since then but I’ve yet to experience that movie-cabin-feel of being in the forest or mountains in the midst of snow.
But recently, I had the chance to experience that cozy cabin feel in a winter setting but IN A CITY. It’s not a Cabin in the Woods experience, YET. It was a travel experience I didn’t know I wanted but really loved. It was a kid dream but modified and I couldn’t be more grateful for it.
Check out my experience at this #CabinFeels accommodation in the city of Sapporo, Unwind.
UNWIND HOTEL & BAR SAPPORO REVIEW + NARRATIVE
HOW TO GET TO UNWIND HOTEL & BAR IN SAPPORO
But first, how did we get to Hokkaido? Fly Jetstar to Hokkaido & Experience these Stunning Winter Destinations!
One we arrived at the New Chitose Airport, we didn’t head straight to Sapporo. We directly transferred to Niseko.
How did we get to Niseko from the New Chitose airport? Book your Niseko (Hokkaido) Transfers with KKDay!
From Niseko → Sapporo, we took the Hokkaido Resort Liner (HRL) Ski Bus #502 from Hirafu Welcome Center to one of its stops, Sapporo Excel Hotel Tokyu. Here are the schedules and stops for this route:
Across from this hotel, you’ll immediately find an elegant and inviting sign telling you to Unwind surfaced on a snowy roof exterior. That’s the Unwind Hotel & Bar!
If you’re planning to visit Niseko from Sapporo and staying at Unwind Hotel & Bar, here’s the Hokkaido Resort Liner Ski Bus schedule for that route:
If you’ll be heading straight to Sapporo from the airport, you can take this route to Unwind Hotel & Bar:
- Take a bus or train from New Chitose Airport to JR Sapporo Station
- From the train station, take the Namboku Line subway from Sapporo station to Nakajima-Koen station (Sapporo → Odori → Susukino → Nakajima-koen)
- Take Exit 1 or 2 and walk around 2 to 3 minutes to Unwind!
Check out this satellite map & tips for the walking route:
- Use Exit 1 if you’re carrying heavy luggage as this is the only exit with an elevator.
- Cross the road and find the station’s Exit 2 sign.
- From Exit 2, walk until you find a 7 Eleven.
- Immediately turn right at the corner and walk a bit further.
- Turn left at the next road.
- Walk just a bit and you’ll find a big building (Sapporo Excel Hotel Tokyu) to your left and right across from it is Unwind Hotel & Bar!
You can also choose to take a taxi from JR Sapporo station or the airport. Another alternative is taking an airport bus (Chuo Bus) from the New Chitose Airport and dropping-off at the Nakajima Park bus stop.
From there, just find the Nakajima-koen station Exit 1 or 2 signs and the 7 eleven across the street and continue on with the steps as indicated above.
During winter, the streets can get a bit slippery but just find the right spots to walk and lug your bags on and you’ll be fine.
UNWIND HOTEL & BAR
Opened in February 2017, Unwind Hotel & Bar describes itself as having the charm of a lodge and the comfort of home in one hotel. It is a concept and lifestyle hotel that creates a cozy atmosphere with its warm design and unique features to Unwind! not only in the rooms but in the entire hotel.
From reading reviews online, it is credited as a lodge-like hotel, urban chalet, a ski-lodge in the city, cozy boutique, etc. If you read a lot of reviews on Unwind Hotel & Bar, you’ll find lots of words that are or relating to ‘cozy’, ‘comfortable’, ‘amazing interior’, and ‘comfort’.
Unwind Hotel & Bar is owned by Global Agents, a Japanese property developer specializing in community living and common spaces.
Check out their other concept hotels in Japan:
Location in Japan
Prices start at
|The Millenials||themillenials.jp||Capsule/Pod Hotel||₱2,100*|
|Hotel Graphy Nezu||hotel-graphy.com||Mid-range Hotel||₱3,200*|
|The Millenials Shibuya||the-millennials-shibuya-shibuya-ku-jp.||Capsule/Pod Hotel||
|Tokyo||Mimaru Ueno North||mimaruhotels.com||Apartment Hotel||
|Okinawa||Estinate Hotel||estinate.com||Mid-range Hotel||
Prices are based on trial bookings on Agoda.
OUR STAY AT UNWIND HOTEL
Here is my review and our experience at Unwind Hotel & Bar in Sapporo during our #Hokkaido2018 trip.
Once our HRL ski bus drove away, we immediately saw a snowy rooftop with an inviting sign telling us to Unwind.
During travel planning, I thought that it would be a few minutes walk, but we’d literally just cross the street.
It’s just a hop away from the Niseko → Sapporo bus stop.
Once we entered the sliding doors of the building, I immediately noticed the interiors of the lobby. It was very warm and inviting.
Looking up at the reception staff, a few were smiling at us and some were attending to other hotel guests.
After pleasantries with my hotel contact, Kevin, who is also the assistant manager of Unwind Hotel & Bar, he asked us what drink we would like.
He gave us a choice of Orange Juice, hotel specialty Coffee, or Apple Cider. My mom chose Apple Cider while I went for the OJ.
Once seated, I felt like I was in a lodge, not minding the cityscape outside and just taking in the surrounding a feet within me. I was starting to feel relaxed and comfortable.
When Kevin came back with our drinks, he started to discuss all the things that we needed to know about our stay.
The conversation was fun and helpful. We just exchanged words so that we’d know everything we needed to make our stay a great one.
The check-in was a really good first impression for me on the hotel. Most of the time, when I arrive at a hotel, I usually dread the check-in part because sometimes I have to stand for a long time and wait for the receptionist to type so many things on the computer and dictate all the information that we needed to know.
But at Unwind, we were comfortably seated with a drink in hand and had a great conversationalist in Kevin.
It was the perfect start to our stay. We didn’t feel the need to hurry and be in our room immediately. We were having fun being checked-in and welcomed by Kevin.
Mom and I loved the drinks too! It was freshly made and their unique hotel blend was commendable.
Kevin informed us that their staff was multilingual so any national can be attended to comfortably, not having any language barrier to worry about.
The lobby was well-decorated to really imitate the feel of a lodge without trying too hard.
It had mini logs, an area with a vintage fireplace, and even the interior walls and ceilings were a pretty themed sight.
Our check-in at Unwind was one of the best I’ve ever had from all my years of travel. Sometimes, check-ins can be overlooked but I think the first impression is important in industries like hotels and accommodations.
How you’re welcomed starts the experience of your stay. The Unwind team did a really good job. It wasn’t just about discussing facts and need-to-knows about the hotel but it was also about how they’d make us feel once we stepped into those sliding doors.
I really want to give a Kudos! to that.
Please note that check-in time starts at 3:00 PM and check-out time is at 11:00 AM. The lobby doors automatically close at 1:00 AM so make sure to inform the staff beforehand if you’re arriving after this time.
For guests, the room key has a tag which you can tap to the security system of the doors to open it.
Early check-in or late check-out can be requested depending on availability of rooms. I emailed Kevin before our trip asking if we can check-in early since our bus from Niseko would be arriving at 1:00 PM and that we’d be checking out before 7:00 AM the next day because of a tour. He approved our request.
After finishing our drinks, Kevin handed us our keys. We were surprised that they upgraded us from a Twin room to a Family/Friend Suite. We are very grateful to Kevin and the Unwind Hotel team for making this possible.
Here are all the room types at Unwind Hotel & Bar:
- Double Room
- Twin Room
- Family/Friend Suite
Here are also the average prices for a Family/Friend Suite per night at Unwind Hotel & Bar (based on trial bookings on Agoda):
Off Peak Season (June – Oct)
|Peak Season (Nov – May)|
For the most affordable room type (Twin Room), prices start at ₱5,200+* during off peak season and ₱10,000+* during peak season.
An elevator up and walk to our assigned room, we found that opening the hotel door was old school. So it wouldn’t be a key card that automatically opens it. It’s like your opening your door at home with a normal key.
Although old school, it fits the theme of the hotel. Since the opening and locking of doors isn’t automatic, always make sure to use your key to lock the door when you leave your room.
From the corridor to the inside of the room, the walls and ceiling were closer and lower than normal, but not in a claustrophobic or converging way but to a point that it made us feel very warm and cozy.
Upon entering our room, I didn’t feel like I was in a building! I really felt like I was entering a cabin or a lodge in a forest or mountain somewhere. The wood interiors and heavily carpeted floors made it so.
I felt like I was a woodsman coming back from a day of chopping, well, wood (HAHAHA!) and fishing by the lake somewhere. If you watched Black Mirror’s White Christmas episode, the cabin feel from that show made me feel the same thing when we were exploring our room at Unwind Hotel.
My mom loved it too! She felt like she was in a country club.
From the hotel door, you’ll immediately find 4 distinct areas – toilet room, shower room, coat aisle, and the kitchenette. All these separated by a wooden sliding door that leads to the bedroom.
In summary, here are the amenities that were provided to us during our check-in and stay:
- Welcome drinks
- Unwind Hotel & Bar mini pamphlet
- Toilet room
- Shower room
- Electric Stove
- Dishwashing soap
- Water bottles, Coffees, and Teas
- Mini refrigerator
- Kettle pot
- 2 semi-double beds
- 1 double deck bed
- Mobile Phone
- Free wine service at Bar Ignis
- Breakfast set
Once I entered our bedroom, I walked at once to the window to see our view. As expected, the windows were covered in light steel bars to prevent the winter weather from breaking the glass. We could see a lot of snow falling on the sill outside and the business hotel across.
It wasn’t as busy as Central Sapporo which made the stay more peaceful.
All the beds really looked and felt comfortable. My mom wanted to sleep in both the semi-double bed and double deck.
She had a hard time choosing at first but we decided to just put all our stuff on the double deck and sleep in the semi-double beds.
The mattresses weren’t your “my body melts into the bed” kind of thing. It was a bit firm but still comfortable. I loved the comforter! It was very warm. It really helped with the weather.
Once we got back from the outside and just went beneath those blankets, it just melted all the freezing feelings away.
In the middle of the night, the blankets did get a bit warmer than what I was used to so I had to let my legs out once in a while. My body has different temperature preferences so I did have to move around to get the perfect temp that I wanted. But yeah! That was a magical warming comforter! I wish I had that when I was in Niseko!
I noticed that the position of the TV in our suite was a bit off as it was beside one of the semi-double beds and facing an awkward angle from the sofa. It’s best to watch TV from the other semi-double bed or the double deck.
The sofa was also really comfortable that I wanted to sleep on it as well.
The vibe of the whole bedroom really felt cozy and undeniably cabin-like especially when you close the drapes of the window.
During the night, my mom and I ate white strawberries around the living room area and just bonded. The warm and comfortable feeling of the room eased our moment to bond, laugh, and just have a good mother-daughter conversation.
By the sofa, we also found this Lavender spray that smelled REALLY good! I wanted to take it home and spray it all over OUR living room. HAHAHAHAHAHA!
The lavender just made an already cozy room a more relaxing one! It didn’t smell like a spa, it was luxurious and just right. It just fit the whole atmosphere of the room. I’ve read a few good reviews on the spray too on guests who’ve stayed before us at Unwind. You can actually purchase this at the lobby along with other toiletries and home products in the room.
The toilet and showers were separated by closed rooms. This is nothing new to me as I experienced this in other hotels during my previous Japan trips.
It was really clean and I loved the Provinscia toiletries in the shower room! They smelled so luxurious too just like the Lavender room spray. It’s at par with the Jo Malone brands that I’ve tried.
When I was showering, I did notice that the overhead filter was filled with lint-like dust. Since I’m tall and just a few inches from the ceiling of the bathroom, it wasn’t hard to catch the dust forming in the filter.
Other than that, the shower experience was good.
The toilet room had the typical Japan tech toilet with a small sink on top and a tissue bar at the side. That’s it! It was pretty spacious for a toilet.
At the kitchenette, you’ll find an electric stove, sink with dish washing soap, and complimentary hot drink packets.
Beside it stands a mini refrigerator. Sitting on top, you’ll find a lodge-like kettle pot and toaster, You’ll definitely feel like a hunter! HAHAHAHA!
Back in the bedroom, we found a mobile phone attached to its charger pod on a small table at the far end of the room. You’re free to take this anywhere during your stay at Unwind. Don’t lose it!
Since the room is heavily carpeted, there were a bit of dusty parts in a few spaces near the double deck and sofa. But not bothering at all.
To make the cabin-like room experience more worthwhile, there were a few amenities that fulfilled my kid dreams. There were cute night lamps! There was a rainbow one that kept changing color with every click and a magical one! HAHAHAHA! The magical one I felt was being lit up by metals and gels! NOT SURE! But whenever I would turn it over, it would light up! It had no switch. I don’t know what it’s called! But I really liked turning it over and over. I felt like I was a kid playing with a lava lamp or something! This was a small surprise but a fun one! I loved it!
Overall, we had an amazing stay at Unwind. Our room was really nice and I did feel like we were staying in a cabin, chalet, or lodge. What the hotel’s team wanted to convey, they did so well! It was a great stay in Sapporo. My mom said that she’d definitely want to stay at Unwind Hotel again and bring my sisters too!
The hotel lived up to its name and concept – Unwind. You really will.
“WINE” CAP! AT BAR IGNIS
After checking-in and resting a bit in our room, Kevin showed us around Unwind’s Bar Ignis at the top floor at around 3:00 PM.
Since it was closed, we got to take pictures of it in the daylight. Prior to our trip, I was really fascinated by Unwind Hotel because of the top floor’s hang-out area images.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get to experience the amenities of those images because the roof was filled with snow so there was no camp fire or seating area outside.
Since the roof was covered with snow, the Unwind team added winter lights and illumination.
After that short tour, my mom and I hurried to Central Sapporo to finish our itinerary for the day so we could come back right in time for Unwind’s free wine service.
The complimentary wine service for hotel guests is from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM. Actual business hours for Bar Ignis is from 7:30 PM to 11:30 PM where staying and non-staying guests can experience the bar and its features.
After our quick and tiring afternoon, we went up to Bar Ignis again at around 6:00 PM. The place transformed dramatically into a cozy, warm, and inviting bar.
Outside, all the lights were already lit up and illuminated. Amidst the snow, they looked dazzling. It was a really good view to stare at from inside the bar.
Kevin was already there serving the drinks in an almost full Bar Ignis.
My mom chose white wine. Since I don’t drink wine, Kevin said that there are also free non-alcoholic drinks like coke, juice, cider, etc. SO YAY! I requested if my coke could be placed inside a wine glass and he agreed.
I wasn’t drinking wine but it looked like I was! It added to the feel and atmosphere of the whole bar. It was a perfect night cap for me and my mom.
From a tiring travel day from Niseko and a jam packed afternoon in central Sapporo, it was great to have a place in Unwind Hotel where we could relax and yes, unwind!
I just had a glass of coke and my mom had about 4 glasses of wine. The bar was a pleasant place to stay in for the night.
The view from the bar was quiet too.
No traffic or city lights glaring.
It was a serene scene.
If you’re staying at Unwind Hotel, don’t forget to maximize the free wine service at Bar Ignis and make sure to cap off your afternoons or nights at the rooftop and bar.
BREAKFAST IN BED!
I love breakfast buffets whenever I stay at hotels. But sometimes, isn’t it too grueling to get up, take a shower, put on new clothes, go down to the restaurant, and eat?
I think me and my sisters could attest to this.
I’m sure there were quite a few times when we passed on having a breakfast buffet because we were too tired or just wanted to stay and sleep in our very comfortable beds.
Although Unwind has no breakfast buffets, they do extend their concept hotel to breakfast in bed. Every morning, they leave a breakfast tray by your door.
Just get up, open the door, pick up the tray, and place it on your bed or table. No more showers or changing of clothes or going down to the restaurant! In mere seconds, you can be back in your bed succumbing back to the comfort of it all.
During check-in, Kevin asked us if we had any dietary restrictions. We only requested that the meal should not be spicy. Since we’ll be checking out before 7:30 AM, we also requested if we could get the breakfast at around 6:00 AM instead of the standard 6:30 AM and he agreed.
If you have any special requests, just ask them during check-in and the Unwind Hotel team will definitely try to accommodate them.
I opened our door at around 6:10 AM and sitting by it was our breakfast tray. I really loved the Unwind design on the wood top. It wasn’t that heavy when I carried it to the top of the sofa table.
It was so convenient! It’s actually just like normal room service but no additional payment because it’s already fixed into the booking price of your hotel room.
What does the breakfast tray include?
- 2 canisters of hot Hokkaido Milk Clam Chowder
- 2 mini packs of juice
- 4 pieces of bread
- 2 packs of Ritaru Coffee – OMG I LOVE THIS! We took one packet home and really loved the quality of this coffee! Top notch!
- Dried Basil flakes
My mom boiled water for the coffee and heated the bread using the kettle pot and toaster from the kitchenette.
The chowder was milky and smooth. It wasn’t starchy like you’d expect from a chowder but genuinely tasteful. It complimented the toasted bread very well.
I think it would have also been nice if the bread was provided with butter or jam spread.
Overall, the breakfast was good. But it was light. So if you’re looking to have a heavy breakfast, you can buy from a nearby convenience store (7 eleven) or eat out.
The breakfast tray was a good sustenance to start off our day!
UNWIND TO REMEMBER
If you’re interested in accommodation souvenirs from Unwind Hotel & Bar, here is a list of their merchandise and corresponding prices:
- Tote Bag ¥2,500 (₱1,200+)*
- T-Shirts ¥3,500 (₱1,700+)*
- Post Cards ¥200 (₱97+)*
- Home & Lifestyle Products from Provinscia & Colony 2193 ¥700 (₱340+)* ~
- Ritaru Specialty Coffee ¥690 (₱335+)* ~
- Tumblers ¥2,800 (₱1,300+)*
I really recommend the Lavender Spray from Colony 2193 and Ritaru Specialty Coffee!
A #KIDDREAM COME TRUE!
We had an amazing experience at Unwind! More than the cozy and lodge-like amenities, the accommodating team was one of few best services I’ve ever experienced in a hotel.
If you’re looking for a hotel in Sapporo and want to stay a bit far away from the hustle and bustle of the city central, then this is the perfect place. Main transportation options are just a few minutes walk away so it’s still pretty convenient.
If a cabin-like stay in a snowy city is the perfect accommodation for your winter dreams, you should definitely check out Unwind Hotel & Bar!
BOOK YOUR STAY AT UNWIND HOTEL & BAR IN SAPPORO TODAY!
Visit www.hotel-unwind.com for more details or inquire at firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow Unwind Hotel & Bar’s social media accounts so you’re updated on all things Unwind!
Unwind Hotel & Bar is located at 289-111, Minami 8 Nishi 5, Chuo-Ku, Sapporo, Hokkaido 064-0808
*Prices as of MARCH 2018
NOTE: Philippine Peso amounts may vary depending on exchange rate. As of MARCH 2018, ¥1 = ₱0.49
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.