As we did with most of our journey throughout Japan we had no booking here and just turned up and asked if there was any availability. We were in the middle of our Japan road trip over 9 days from Tokyo to Osaka via numerous places we wanted to see, Mt. Fuji being on top of our list. This particular hotel attracted our interest as it claimed some of the rooms had a private onsen bath on the balcony with views to Mt. Fuji. So we parked in the main car park (for free) and wandered inside and enquired. This is one of those hotels that charges you per person and the rate includes dinner and breakfast also. After being shown rates and types of rooms we asked about having a look at the private onsen balcony room with views of Fuji. No problem we were told, please wait a few minutes. I think we waited at least 20 minutes. There was about 6 staff fluttering around all over the place, they all seemed like it was their first day working there. Eventually we were shown the room and we were quite impressed but not happy with the price so we wandered back down to the front counter and tried to bargain with them. Bear in mind it was around 5pm and it was rather unlikely that anyone was going to walk in and book the same room for 2 nights so we felt trying to bargain a bit shouldn't be a problem. The room is priced higher 'per-person' for 2 people, slightly lower pp for 3, and the cheapest pp with 4 people. We asked if we could have the rate for 4 people, even though there was only 2 of us. The staff had to go check with the manager and came back to then advise us they could do us a better deal, however we were too late for dinner to be prepared for us as it's a set menu, so we had to feed ourselves that night. In the end we were tired from driving all day, loved the room so much and were excited about seeing Fuji so we decided to accept their offer. We checked in and were again asked to take a seat in the lobby while the staff took our luggage to our room, we were also given a small cup of honey citrus tea which was delicious. We had a fair bit of luggage so they needed 2 trolleys. 1 staff member took one load up and placed it in our room while we drank our complimentary tea and then the 2nd staff member escorted us, with the rest of our luggage on another trolley. We arrived at the door to our room but the first staff member had been in and gone, relocked the room and taken off with the key. No big deal, we just had to wait again while the 2nd staff member ran down and grabbed it, or another one.
After settling in and grabbing some dinner from the Chinese restaurant right across the street we wanted to see what was on the TV only to discover there was no English TV channels. Quite disappointing considering we were paying around $480 AUD per night. We always have lots of TV shows and movies on our laptop and with our own HDMI cable just plug in directly into most hotel TVs and away we go. The TV in our room was so old this wasn't possible. Ok, we'll just spend more time in our private onsen which helped pass the time and we had an early night anyway so it didn't really matter.
The first morning we got up at the crack of dawn hoping to see Mt Fuji from our balcony and voila, there she was in full view .. amazing. I failed to mention earlier that on our arrival the day before it was cloudy so it couldn't be seen. Plus it gets completely dark here just after 5pm at this time of year anyway. The forecast for the next day was mostly sunny so we had our fingers crossed and fortunately we were rewarded when we got up early.
We then went off to breakfast to the restaurant on level 7 which had incredible views of Lake Kawaguchi out one side and Mt. Fuji out the other. Breakfast is nothing special but still ok and filled our tummys ready for another day of local adventure. As others have mentioned it did feel a bit like a hospital cafeteria though. Most of the tables were just covered in a cloth without any crockery or cutlery and were all setup for 6-8 people, there were no tables for just 2 people at all. A bit strange, and just felt like were almost on school camp again. We were given a table overlooking the lake and placed a few small personal items on it to show it was 'ours' but by the time we came back with food other guests were sitting at our table, not quite sure how that happened but I think the staff messed that up as well. We just moved to another table, again, no big deal, but certainly worth mentioning as this is what we're all here for right?
After a day of adventure we returned around 4:30pm and enquired about dinner times. We were told 6-7:30pm so we asked does that mean we have be seated no later than 7pm or could we be seated at 7:30pm. The answer was 7pm so we wandered up to our room without worrying too much about it, and planning to go up at 7pm. Our room had been cleaned and towels replaced while we were out during the day. Shortly afterwards the front desk called asking what time we would like to be seated for dinner. We asked if 7:30pm was ok and the answer was a very friendly yes. Again, strange, do the staff here know what they're doing?
Dinner itself was amazing. I'm not a huge fan of Japanese food myself, because I generally never feel completely satisfied or full afterwards, so it's more of a snack type cuisine for me (sushi, dumplings etc) but this particular meal was terrific, and I wasn't hungry at all afterwards. Our table had been reserved specially for us so there were no issues like we'd had at breakfast, and the waiter who attended to us was excellent and spoke terrific English. Perhaps this guy should be running the place!
If we ever returned to this region I think we would look elsewhere.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- ★FREE WIFI★ ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Fuji Lake Onsen Hotel
- Fuji Lake Hotel Japan/Fujikawaguchiko-Machi