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“Ski on ski out location, needs a refit” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Niseko Prince Hotel Hirafutei

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Niseko Prince Hotel Hirafutei
204 Yamada, Abuta-gun, Kutchan-cho 044-0081 , Hokkaido   |  
Hotel amenities
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Manchester
Top Contributor
228 reviews 228 reviews
52 hotel reviews
Reviews in 87 cities Reviews in 87 cities
95 helpful votes 95 helpful votes
“Ski on ski out location, needs a refit”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 20, 2013 via mobile

Well located for ski in ski out, hotel (Hotel niseko alpen ) slightly further up is at the bottom of one of the main chairs. It's a c1960's development that has not been updated since - a make over is overdue, but you're here to ski not lounge in the hotel 

Rooms are traditional Japanese - that means hot tub (with views) if you pay for the better rooms or communal bathing. Rooms have shower and reed mat floors - no bed in day, futon laid out in evening  - shower  has a pedal and only stays on 20secs or so each press - hot tub great with view over mountain opposite 

We did b&b - they try and encourage dinner as well, but didn't look great - glad we opted to dine out 

Also, don't rent ski equip from the hotel, their own staff recommend go to the proper ski rental stores 

Check in is strict 3pm, but you can store bags and change in the bathing changing rooms so effectively can go off skiing if your early 

In room safe is well sized - with a key lock 

no wifi

  • Stayed February 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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124 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (8)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • English first
  • Japanese first
  • Any
English first
Sydney, Australia
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 28, 2013

5 night stay in January 2013. the hotel is not spiffy but it is clean and comfortable. the location next to the family slope and chairlift is very convenient, and there are some decent restaurants in a 5-10 minute walking radius. front desk speak basic english, and all the staff are courteous. there are laundry facilities, and a couple of computers in the lobby with free internet. optional wifi in-room internet for 1200 yen daily means it is a little pricey. we stayed in a japanese style room with private onsen - recommended. bathroom was ok, although the shower head is timed to turn itself off every 30 seconds or so which means you have to keep pressing the lever for continuous water. there are open onsen for men and women, which we didn't use as well as free ski lockers downstairs which come in very handy. breakfast was adequate, although leans towards a japanese menu. we will stay here again when we return to niseko.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Singapore
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 23, 2013

The best part of Hirafutei is it's location. Along that stretch of road, besides Alpine Ridge (which is way more expensive) it is the only one with ski in and out location for the family ski lifts. The rest had to either make their way up the mountain via shuttle bus to the other ski lifts at Grand Hirafu, or walk around the buildings to make their way to the family ski lifts. As we were a family of beginner skiers, the family ski lift location and the NBS ski school just down the slope was excellent. They also had free storage lockers for boots and boards, so that was also fantastic.
Having said that, the hotel is a short walk (2-5mins) away from the Welcome Centre, and there is no other way to make your way to the hotel except by walking if your shuttle service to Niseko does not do hotel lobby drop offs (ours didn't, we used the White Liner from Sapporo). In slippery snow conditions, this is a little inconvenient. Luckily we only had suitcases, and no ski gear.
As the hotel is mid way down the mountain, there are a lot of eateries close by. This is great as the hotel does not have any restaurants that do lunch. It is strictly breakfast and dinner only.
We had 2 Japanese style rooms, one with onsen, and one without. The private onsen was great, big enough for 2 adults. Soaking your aching muscles after a day of skiing is priceless. However, the bath is attached to the onsen, and there is no separate shower area anywhere else in the room. There is only a toilet area. The onsen took up space and hence it was much smaller than the room with no onsen. But it had a full bathroom with shower and toilet area. The room without the onsen also faced the family ski slope, so the non skiers could watch the skiers come down the slope. Fun if you want to keep an eye on your kids.
The breakfast and dinner buffet was not too bad. The variety does not change much, but sufficiently enough that we weren't dying to brave the subzero degrees to get a decent dinner after 3 days. There is a huge selection. Huge.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 23, 2013

This is not a normal ski hotel. It's very Japanese and a very nice experience from the usual ski hotels in Europe. The hot spring in the room speaks for itself and even though the rooms are very small and not luxury it's perfect for a ski holiday and the family can really get close. You all sleep on the floor on futons. After a long day skiing the rather big buffet with both western and Japanese food is a positive surprise (make friends with the chef at one of the cooking stations and enjoy interesting Japanese food). The hotel is also a ski-in ski-out hotel which is great with kids. The Japanese hospitality is also very enjoyable at this hotel

Room Tip: Book a room with host spring even though all rooms have access to the big shared hot spring with vie...
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Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mermaid Beach, Australia
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 13, 2013

have stayed here 10 years consecutively in the snow season,every year a little more improvement happens.great power breakfasts to start a days skiing.onsen one of the best around.ski in and out convenient.location on main restaurant strip.has rooms with bed as well as futon for the uninitiated to sleeping japanese style,also rooms with private(small)onsen.pay for wifi though(A$25 per day,a little excessive,but free access to computer and internet in lobby).small laundry helpful also.will be back again next year

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Australia
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 3, 2013

I stayed here in 2006 for a couple of weeks as part of a small group of only three people.

I was the solo traveller so I had my own north facing room...and semi-outside private spa. It was amazing. I'd left the heat of mid-summer Australia, only to be dropped into the depths of the Japanese winter.

Location: Near the ski runs. So ski in- ski out. Easy to access all facilities!!

Food: Pretty good. I'm vego and they looked after me.

Room: Mid size, but totally fine.

Bed: Small-ish...but very comfortable.

Guests: No Westerners then, so felt like a rock star...or elephant man, as I had lots of people staring at me.

Vibe: Interesting. Felt like it was a Russian-esque hotel from 1956.....which, in a weird way, I really liked. It was a weird trip.

Treatment: I was treated very well...even though not too many people understood English at that time. There was lots of respect.

Fellow Australians: I met many wonderful fellow Australian's that held the resort, the people and the experience in high esteem. There were a few bogans...but not too many.

Would I go again: For sure...but these days we head to the more off the beaten tracks....way down south!

Room Tip: Select north facing room with private spa (Onsen) Note...I was there in 2006
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  • Stayed February 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Perth
Top Contributor
58 reviews 58 reviews
36 hotel reviews
Reviews in 42 cities Reviews in 42 cities
89 helpful votes 89 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 29, 2012

Niseko is not the usual Japanese experience (because of the unusually low number of actual Japanese tourists) but we knew this when we booked out holidays at this hotel 6 months ago in June 2012. Of all the hotels here in Niseko, this was the closest we thought would be the Japanese experience, mainly because of the well known onsen baths here at this hotel (hot spring baths).

We are a family of 6, with your children ranging between 6 and 17, and we had to split out family into two tripple rooms (meaning sleeps three, but officially a maximum of 4 people in a triple room). My wife found this place to be the highest recommended place to stay for a family who have never skied before. We are totally happy with this recommendation and we highly recommend other families to stay here. We booked a room with a private onsen bath, but we probably would not do this next time as only two people out of 6 have used this facility over the last three days (out of total 6 days stay). After a long day of skiing it's great just to join the crowd down at the communal onsen which has a section that is an outside bath that looks over the family ski run and the hills. Absolutely SPECTACULAR views from the male onsen of the ski runs, and the female onsen looks over to the large volcano to the east. This hot spring bath experience is so good that many people from outside of this hotel come especially to enjoy the bath here. I personally cannot get enough of it and many Aussie males come in to the bath with a can of cold Sapporo beer and enjoy the relaxing views. Even if you do not stay in this hotel, this experience is a must when you come to Niseko!

(One cultural note that I must make is that don't be shocked that if a female member of the hotel cleaning staff comes in while you are cleaning your 'member' in the onsen! ;-) It shocked the day lights out of my 11 year old son, but that's quite acceptable in Japan. Female cleaning staff will also barge into the male toilets to clean while you may be standing at the urinals as well, but don't be shocked at this. This type of thing happens in Japanese hotels, including this one.)

The breakfast is so so, with the variety not so exciting, but okay. There is a selection of western and Japanes food, but the western choices are somewhat short, but still good. We 've not used the evening meal experience as the restaurants in Niseko are top notch, so we cannot comment.

The staff at the front desk are really helpful and most can speak a bit of English to get by. Wifi is 1200 yen a day, and whilst it did not connect to an iphone/ipad, the staff sorted this out, which we were really happy with.

The only thing that we didn't know about is that the bus that brought us from the airport to the Niseko welcome centre will just let us off at the centre and we did not have a lift to the hotel. We didn't know that the hotel was only about 300m down the road. We had to take two taxi rides which cost us about $12 which we could have avoided.

Alsp it's good to know that you can forgo cleaning and bed making if you want and credit that money towards spending money at the small shop in the lobby. We chose to let the ladies do their thing as we have to get Japanese beds made up.

If you want a real Japanese hotel experience, be sure to get a Japanes room. You get to sleep in the floor, which kids just love, and having a communal onsen bath just makes it that much special! I would skip the private onsen as it is really not needed.

This is a perfect hotel for the family with novice ski and snow boarding experience. The hotel is located just next to the family/beginners' run and ski rental is just down at the ski lift. Ski storage is just a walk up from the ski lifts. The climate is dry in Niseko and snow is powder all the time. The best snow combined with best onsen experience, is a true winner! I'd like to definitely come back again.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Niseko Prince Hotel Hirafutei

Address: 204 Yamada, Abuta-gun, Kutchan-cho 044-0081 , Hokkaido
Location: Japan > Hokkaido > Abuta-gun > Kutchan-cho
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Ski-In / Ski-Out Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 19 Hotels / Ryokan in Kutchan-cho
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Number of rooms: 165
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Prince Hotel Kutchan Cho
Niseko Prince Hotel Hirafutei Japan/Hokkaido - Kutchan-Cho

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