Have not thought that Sounkyo would be listed in TA until someone mentioned to me recently. So this is a long overdue review.
I went to Sounkyo for the winter festival and for that, this hotel is very well positioned. A leisurely short stroll would bring you to the site, which is very important as the temperature in Sounkyo can plunge to -30 easily. I think some hotels provide shuttles to the festival site but that means you have to keep to the schedule. I'm not sure if this hotel also had shuttle to the site but that would mean just a minute's ride.
Besides choosing the hotel for its location, another factor was it provided us free transport from Asahikawa and later to Kitami. In fact, I remember it also provided transfers from Sapporo for the summer months.
We booked a normal 'plan' with a basic room but upon arrival found that our room was much larger (with sofas in living area) compared to other rooms (some tour group guests from rooms opposite us were leaving much earlier than us and were packing with their doors wide open so we got a peek). However, it was not in any terms 'grand' or luxurious, just simply a traditional Japanese room but with an additional living room area.
The buffet provided in the plan was just passable. The place was overrun with some very loud tourists (there were at least 2 tour groups) and the food was just acceptable. It's a good thing though that the staff placed us at a seperate area of the restaurant or I might find myself sitting across a lady who was sitting with her legs wide open in a yukata (as you know the yukata will open when one sits less than lady-like and the view would than be great or horrendous depending on who was looking). Alas, the lady happened to be sitting near the food station so there was no avoiding when one passed by. Not the hotel's fault though but be aware that this place had lots of tourists on package tours so these tend to be louder as a group. Yukatas were provided for guests so most wore it to the restaurant, which is a common practice.
The restaurant furnishings looked quite oldish without much charm. This applies much to the hotel. You can imagine it should be grand a couple decades ago. Some of its rivals seems to have underwent refurbishments recently and if Sounkaku does not follow soon it will have to consider dropping the name 'grand' very soon.
One thing I like about this hotel (besides the free transfers) is its outdoor onsen. It is relaxing and nice - after the tour groups left.
The winter festival in Sounkyo, though small, was one of my favourite as it was more charming and 'real'. We were welcomed warmly and given free red wine upon arrival to keep warm. An extremely large snowman figure, though not as well-crafted as those in Sapporo, had a small town yet whimsical feel to it. Ice caves (small kamakuras and a huge tunnel-like cave) were made to form and its great going into the huge one. The whole place was bathed in very nice lights that were soothing and not gaudy. Standing by the river watching the fireworks going off at this small place was well worth the trip into Sounkyo.