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“OK, not great” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Double Black Hotel

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Double Black Hotel
4977-1 Wadano Hokujo, Hakuba-mura, Kitaazumi-gun, Nagano Prefecture 399-9301, Japan (Hakuba happou Onsen)   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #10 of 61 hotels in Hakuba-mura
Singapore, Singapore
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“OK, not great”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 17, 2013

Maybe because of the reviews on TripAdvisor I was expecting something different. Overall, this place is OK, but it is definitely not a 4.5 out of 5 stars!

The rooms are really, really basic. No closet, no mini bar, not even a bottle of water... just a bed and a tiny bathroom, with the smallest sink i have ever seen (to put it in prospective, the sink in the bathroom on the train I took to Hakuba was bigger). Plus, the first night we were there, the room was freezing--literally. I dont know if they had not used it in a while or if they let it open all day... but even with full heat one, it did not warm up until the day after. The fact that the bed came with two single blankets overlapping in the middle of the bed, instead of one large blanket did not help.

Considering the rate we paid, and the reviews on this site, i was expecting much more :-s

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 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.
Pinky28, Owner at Double Black Hotel, responded to this review, February 19, 2013
We are sorry that you did not enjoy your room. Most people rave about our comfortable beds and opulent doonas. We have tried to combine Japanese simplicity with Western comforts. Hence the tatami mats on the floor, the shoji screens covering the double glazed windows and the kimono jacket on the wall.
Japanese bathrooms tend to be small, if you get an en-suite at all, but what about the heated bidet toilet in our bathrooms and the western style shower.
If you had told us you were cold, we would have readily provided you with an additional heater. Nor do we understand why you did not get one king sized doona, as is the case when people book a double room. Again, had you let us know at the time, we would have attended to this.
As for water, the tap water is about as good as you'll get anywhere, so we don't see the point in providing bottled water.
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47 people have reviewed this hotel

Traveler rating
    28
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (3)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Calgary, Canada
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 15, 2013

I visited Double Black for a week at the end of January with a couple of friends. Three of us shared a room on the main floor with a private bath. While the quarters were close, they were cozy and comfortable...and it's not as though we spent a ton of time in the room anyway. The bathroom was tight, but ingeniously designed (the shower was amazing). The lodge atmosphere of the hotel is warm and inviting, the onsen is pretty good, and the drying room is big and accommodating. It's really the staff, though, that make this place great. Olive and Clarissa were incredibly helpful, knowledgeable, and friendly. Pablo's food was awesome and some of the best we enjoyed in the area (the steak and brussels sprouts...yum!)...not to mention his espresso martini. The daily breakfast (included with our stay) was excellent...although the language barrier (our fault) seemed to get in the way of the number of poached eggs we got on any given day. From their shuttle services to helpful hints about the skiing to arranging for baggage to be shipped (what an incredible service...we need it in North America), they just made the experience so great. The owner, Les, was welcoming, warm, and also full of great tips for the area. Double Black is a comfortable, homey place with great people and service. I will most definitely return and recommend it to anyone traveling to the Hakuba area.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 10, 2013

Having read some recent reviews, I thought it appropriate to write my own to set the record straight. Double Black is "open for business" and back to its best. I am told management issues had led to some difficulties over the New year period. By the time I had arrived however (early to mid Jan 2013), one of the owners was at the venue and several recent appointments had returned Double Black to where it should be (I have been 3 years in a row so can comment): a highly regarded hotel in the heart of Wadano. Not to metion the new chef from Australia with a great tapas type menu utilising fresh produce, great for sharing.

Rooms are excellent, beds are very comfortable, the onsen is excellent and the drying room is large. And the shuttle service is great and convenient. Breakfast includes a good selection of continental style products or cooked breakfast including bacon, eggs and sausages... and the espresso coffee is great.

If you want 6 star service with a 6 star price where people wait on you hand and foot and tell you how to do up your ski boots (or your shoelaces), Double Black is probably not for you. If you want a great East meets West experience in a great skiing location in Japan, with a price that outpunchs its rivals in terms of quality and value, stay at Double Black.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
Melbourne
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 10, 2013

Thank you to the staff at Double Black for your wonderful hospitality. This is the third time I have stayed at DB and I thoroughly enjoyed the stay. The rooms are very comfortable and the excellent bed is great after a hard day's skiing. The locality allows for a choice of restaurants and a variety of different foods, if the Japanese option is desired. The in house food was of a high standard.

The flexibility and friendliness of the staff is great. They collected me at the Hakuba bus terminal without any delay and drove my friends and I to the alternative resorts each morning.

The cleanliness of the place is at the usual Japanese standard. I very much enjoy the family atmosphere of the common areas.

I would thoroughly recommend Double Black as a great place to stay. Thank you again for your hospitality.

Warren Stooke, Melbourne Australia.

Room Tip: First floor near the Onsen
See more room tips
  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 30, 2013

I recently visited double black hotel during my trip to Hakuba for Dinner and it did not disappoint. We were informed that they recently got a new chef who has worked in top restaurants in Melbourne and Hotham.
The menu is a Tapas and Ranciones design, which suited us perfectly as everything on the menu sounds so tasty. The menu changes slightly every day due to the produce availability but if you get a chance to try to pork rib Tapa as well as the Duck and beef Ranciones you will also be in heaven.
The staff where helpful, especially Clarissa with her attention to detail and making sure my drink wasn't empty :)
All in all If you are looking for a fusion of east and west I would definitely recommend double black for dinner.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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.
Pinky28, Owner at Double Black Hotel, responded to this review, February 7, 2013
We understand SnowBudds disappointment and unreservedly apologize.

We engaged a new management company for this season and have been badly let
down by them.

We became aware that we were experiencing difficulties after 28 December and
one of our directors flew to Hakuba on New Year’s Eve.

We then took over the running of the hotel and moved as quickly as possible to
address the many issues that confronted us.

We can confidently report that Double Black Hotel is now operating as
advertised and is living up to all the good reviews previously posted on Trip Advisor. Later reviews following SnowBudds' stay have now also confirmed this.

We undertand the need for full redress over issues like this and as way of recompense offered SnowBudds a refund on their holiday.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brisbane, Australia
1 review
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 21, 2013

My wife and I recently stayed at the Doubleblack hotel for 5 nights and it was one big disappointment after the other. Very lousy transport service that was never scheduled correctly and the food at the hotel is just plain bad. With children running up and down the noisy hallways our stay was not at all restful.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
Pinky28, Owner at Double Black Hotel, responded to this review, January 23, 2013
We apologies for the poor service you received here. These comments have been taken on-board and are being addressed, aiming to bring the levels of service immediately back to the standards our guests expect of us.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Australia
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 18, 2013

After working and saving hard all year, we were very excited about staying at the Double Black Hotel. The website is impressive but is actually totally MISLEADING as is the hotel’s local advertising.

We had to look at the Trip Advisor reviews again to make sure we were at the right hotel. We now understand that management has changed since last season and it is not good.

The good points – The beds and linen are great and each room has a small ensuite. The onsen is wonderful and has views of the snow covered trees outside.

The not so good points - Communication from the hotel is poor and we had to phone several times to arrange a pick up from the station as emails were not acknowledged by management.
After reading the room’s “Information Book” we were left in the cold and had to pay for a taxi as the “scheduled” pickup times from the Gondola were wrong. We later discovered that it was best to ignore the schedule and inform management of our movements.

The advertising for the hotel states ”With one of the best wine cellars in Hakuba, our fine dining experience is a fusion of East meets West and is not to be missed”, well don’t waste your time or money. You actually only have a choice of two fixed price meals and have to pre-book 6 hours before so they have time to reheat meals. The food quality is very poor and overpriced at 3,000 or 6,000 yen.

There is no “best wine cellar” as you only have a choice of 6 wines and the bar is barely stocked at all. They don’t make espresso coffee anymore either, despite the big red Illy sign outside, or the espresso machine sitting unused in the bar. As for included legendary breakfasts – it was suggested to us by other guests that you eat on the mountain instead; after one breakfast we agreed.

We watched 2 people get turned away on NYE as there were told it was busy. There were only 8 people in the bar at the time with 4 staff serving! We also watched a family get turned away for dinner when the restaurant was open but empty.

There is no ongoing maintenance of the hotel, blown light bulbs, nothing cleaned or swept. Filthy outside ashtrays that were never emptied during our whole stay. As for Wi Fi throughout the hotel, misleading again as it only works at the bar.

Rooms are not made up and we had to ask for toilet paper and soap. There are no phones in the rooms and the supposed “International TV” never surfaced during our stay. The clothes dryers are totally inadequate – they over heat and are incapable of drying the smallest amount of clothing. After many frustrating trips up and down stairs to the laundry we gave up with the dryers as it was more time efficient to stack our wet washing in our room to dry. There is minimal storage in the rooms and only your bed to sit on.

There are a number of real safety issues with the hotel, including spurts of scalding hot water when you are having a shower, a leaking bathroom sink. The stairs that lead down to the ski storage are unlit and have a very slippery snow covered mat at the top.

As for the ski storage, no dedicated areas or lockers, honestly a real mess. Double Black is more of a ski lodge than a hotel; all in all, it was an “amateur” experience.

We have been disappointed by a lot of things at this hotel, but the greatest has been the lack of any atmosphere or vibe. The Double Black had been regarded for many years as the soul and energy of Hakuba Village but it’s time has now passed and it is on a downhill run.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 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 Double Black Hotel

Address: 4977-1 Wadano Hokujo, Hakuba-mura, Kitaazumi-gun, Nagano Prefecture 399-9301, Japan
Location: Japan > Chubu > Nagano Prefecture > Kitaazumi-gun > Hakuba-mura > Hakuba happou Onsen
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Spa
Hotel Style:
Ranked #10 of 61 hotels in Hakuba-mura
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Cosy and friendly 22 room boutique hotel, nestling in the picturesque forest of Wadano, within easy walking distance of Happo/Wadano villages, and Happo One mountain ski area.• Each room has western style beds /ensuite, serviced daily• Fully licensed Restaurant/Bar/Lounge• Free mountain pick up & drop off service• Free transfers to and from Hakuba Station• International TV• Free wireless internet• Games room• Onsen bath • Washing/drying facilitiesGuest general notification. Opening of the 2012/2013 season.We understand a number of guests have been disappointed with the service they received in the opening weeks of the 2012/ 2013 season. We engaged a new management company for this season and have been badly let down by them. We became aware that we were experiencing difficulties after 28 December and one of our directors flew to Hakuba on New Year’s Eve. We then took over the running of the hotel and moved as quickly as possible to address the many issues that confronted us. We can confidently report that Double Black Hotel is now operating as advertised and is living up to all the good reviews previously posted on Trip Advisor.If you feel that you were disappointed with the service you received when on holiday with us, please contacts us and we will ensure that you are appropriately recompensed. ... more   less 
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