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Hokuten no Oka Lake Abashiri Tsuruga Resort
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Reviewed October 17, 2012

The room was great – luxuriously spacious on a high floor, very clean, view of the sunset over Lake Abashiri, big comfy mattresses on a raised dais. We booked the lakeside Western beds with Japanese room option. Well-appointed and good design – modern with local accents. The hotel itself also manages to capture rustic charm despite the feel of a large hotel – wood used abundantly in carvings, tables, with a conical black cast iron fireplace taking pride of place at the check-in area.

Service was impeccable – as we drove in, staff came running out to help with our luggage, and guided us in through the winding lobby. Check-in and check out were a breeze, upon check-in a lovely lady called Miura-san spoke excellent English with us, and showed us to our room and the hotel facilities on the way.

The onsen felt a little basic for a hotel this well-appointed – there was a lounge area overlooking an internal garden, and the male and female onsens each had 2 areas, indoor and outdoors. The outdoors onsen was a rocky pool about the size of 4m x 4m, the indoors one was larger at about twice this size. There was also a foot onsen in a separate part of the hotel, that we didn't have time to try. The main onsen shuts from 930am – 2pm, and the foot onsen is open only from around 930am onwards.

The food was where we were a little disappointed – Abashiri is near Lake Saroma, known for its seafood, yet the buffet dinner served items like pizza, chinese style food, with not a lot of Japanese fare, and minimal sashimi. A nice touch was the kani crab legs that each table was served with. Wasabi was not freshly grated, unlike a previous Tsuruga resort that we'd stayed in. Breakfast was similar in nature. This may have been due to the hotel catering to the taste of the large tour group that had whirled in in the evening and left the next morning, but it was disappointing given the fact that this was a region known for its seafood.

Overall we were impressed by the room and how well the hotel fit in with its surroundings, as well as the service by all staff. However, the food and the onsen detracted from the overall experience. Nice touch to have musicians performing at certain times in the day. This hotel featured a harpist, although we did not get to hear her play.

Room Tip: Tip: Avoid the dinner buffet – Abashiri is a good sized town and if you have a car, it may be worth going to restaurants instead. Get restaurant recommendations before you go – hotel staff were hard-pressed to provide this.
  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank XavierZen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 24, 2012

After driving several hours as one does on a self drive trip in Hokkaido, getting into this resort hotel was truly wonderful. It is near the lake and is gorgeously done up in rich masculine hues of wood and cast iron.

The onsen experience is amazing.

The dinner is simply the best selection during my 2 week self drive trip. Please arrange for buffet dinner here. It Ian a wonderful delight after the relaxing onsen. You will feel recharged.
There are beautiful photos on facebook so I don't have to use mere words to elaborate. You will not be disappointed.

  • Stayed: September 2012
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1  Thank Juggie888
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 5, 2012

My family of 6 stayed here for one night at the japanese-western style room with private open air bath and it was amazing! The room was extremely large and comfortable. Not to mention the service was fab!! Especially after a long car ride, it was great to see friendly faces at the door. We were greeted, and brought to the lobby with a warm fire-place to check-in. Everything went really smoothly and we were welcomed by a nice drink. The decoration in the hotel was incredible and the buffet dinner that was served at night was really good too. The buffet had a large selection and everything was fresh. Dinner was accompanied by a lady who was playing the harp, which was nice! Worth every penny - or yen.

  • Stayed: June 2012, traveled with family
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2  Thank fluffc11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 9, 2011

Our family of 5 stayed here for one night in a Japanese room. It was a lovely room with a nice view of the sunset in the evening. The service was first rate. As we spoke no Japanese, they assigned an English speaking staff member to attend to us. We were treated to king crab during check-in. When another staff member at the gift shop learnt that we were driving off to Shiretoko and then to Asahikawa, he grabbed some snacks from the shop and gave them to us! They were preserved fruits with a tangy taste and that helped keep me (the driver) fully awake during the long drive.

The hotel is very well-designed and gives you a feeling that this is truely a 5-star establishment. The facilities are good and I noticed that in the lounge, even the music system is high end (Macintosh). We enjoyed the onsen (which includes a rotemburo) and the ashiyu where we dipped our feet in after dinner. Dinner, however, was a disappointment. We chose the Japanese kaiseiki dinner but the cooking and the food quality was not good. No wonder we were the only ones at the Japanese restaurant because all the Japanese guests chose Western dinner! Breakfast, on the other hand, was good.

The one thing that we didn't like about Hokuten no Oka is that there is no free internet in the room. You have to go to the lounge where there is a PC available. In Japanese hotels, we are so used to having free high speed internet connection in the room that this seems to be a glaring omission in a 5-star hotel. Except for this, I would still highly recommend a stay.

  • Stayed: June 2011, traveled with family
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4  Thank linnman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 30, 2009

We stayed one night in this hotel and thoroughly enjoyed it. The service was outstanding and the front desk attendants spoke english well. The decor was beautiful, modern with Japanese touches here and there, both throughout the hotel and in the room. The indoor and outdoor onsen (separate male and female) was fabulous. The breakfast buffet was top notch with Western and Asian choices. We stayed in a Japanese style room since the price was cheaper and really enjoyed it. My husband was excited about the room's coffee maker having the ability to grind provided coffee beans for a fresh cup. The view of the lake was beautiful... we found it interesting that such a high quality hotel was in the countryside with tractors harvesting produce in the nearby fields.
If you have small children:
We have 3 small children all under 5 yrs and found the hotel to be very family friendly. One of the reservation desk attendants went out of his way to offer our children cookies... it looked like he raided half the souvenir shop to give our children treats and wanted no money in return. When we arrived for the buffet the next morning, the waiter showed us to a table that had three children place settings... it appeared they had set a table just for us. The food selection was great, with choices even picky eaters could enjoy. We brought our pack n' play for our 2 yr old and had our infant and 4 yr old sleep on the floor (Japanese style meant the floors were immaculately clean), so I cannot say if they have cribs available. They provided children sized slippers and onsen robes. Cost for each child over 1 yr was about $25 per child. I do not know if they offer babysitting. Our Japanese style room was spacious and had a separate hallway, which we put our 2 and 4 yr old in to separate us for sleep purposes... We all slept well.

  • Stayed: October 2009, traveled with family
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2  Thank LivingforJesus
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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