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“What a pleasant surprise”
Review of Hotel La Neige

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Hotel La Neige
Ranked #24 of 101 Hotels / Ryokan in Hakuba-mura
Houston, Texas
Level 6 Contributor
72 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 70 helpful votes
“What a pleasant surprise”
Reviewed 7 January 2013

I grew up in Tokyo until 1965 and used to hike in this area as a teenager to get away from the noise and dirt of the big city. On the way back from Osaka (where I had a business) to Tokyo (where my brother and sisters live), we decided to spend one night in Hakuba for a sentimental reason (my wife, an American, had never been there). The train rides from Nagoya to Hakuba and Hakuba to Shinjuku (Tokyo) were breath taking partly because the weather was fantastic. We had sunny late fall weather. If anybody is thinking about traveling between Osaka/Kyoto/Nagoya and Tokyo on bullet trains and have sometime to spare, you should take an extra day and do what we did. About the hotel, we found this place through Booking.com and did not expect too much, because many western style hotels in Japan are not really up to what typical internet sites suggest. The hotel was located in a quiet forest and trees were changing colors. The place was extremely quiet, and the building is well built and has a lot of space. Living room and dining room are also very large and comfortable, which is unusual in Japan. We were up graded to a very nice junior suit from a basic hotel room. As other reviewers described, the hosts are just great, kind and very helpful in everything. We decided to have a dinner here (was not included in our reservation), and found that it was by far one of the best western food (French) we had in Japan. Breakfast was also outstanding. Before dinner, we walked around the hotel enjoying the changing colors of trees and the next morning before we got on a train to go back to Tokyo, we took a taxi cab to see Mt. Hakuba (arranged by the host) where I used to climb. The driver took us to other several beautiful spots where we walked around. While we were walking around and our taxi cab waiting, I saw the host (man) with a taxi cab driver. Apparently I left a pair of my pants at the hotel and the host drove down to find us to give them back to me. I really felt then that I am back in Japan. Well all other good things about this hotel have been well described by other travelers, so I will not repeat. Apparently this place is popular with skiers, but if anybody wants to relax at a quiet place in a forest during spring, summer and fall, this is a place for you. All I can say is that we should have stayed at least 3 or 4 more nights and explore the area.

  • Stayed October 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank sensei62
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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54 reviews from our community

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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (11)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Japanese first
  • Any
English first
London, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
85 reviews
68 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 85 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 January 2013

I couldn't help myself giving the full the point to this beautiful and well kept facility. The Hakuba Resort Hotel La Neige consists of two sister hotels; Honkan (main building) and Higashikan (east building). They are managed and listed as two independent properties althoughthey are owned and run within the same family. The current review specifically refers to Honkan. Honkan is an English style hotel kept extremely clean by the love of its owner lady in the past 30 years. Everything is maintained and looked after so well that you may almost not believe that it was built three decades ago. The most impressive feature is the decorations in the lobby and basement. The rooms are average in size and simple in furniture, but very clean. The bathroom is rather small, but above average in Japan. Our room did not have a refrigerator but we didn't need one. During our new year stay, it was busy in Hakuba but the owner kindly accepted our early check-in/late check-out requests for a small extra charge. Ski out is a challenge (I lost the way almost every time and had two walk a long way) and it is probably better that you just walk for 5 min to Sakka from the first. Unlike higashikan, you can ski directly back to the hotel from the Sakka parking area. The breakfast was of good quality and the rooms were adequately warm, with adjustable heating. We were given one towel per night, and perhaps could have asked for extra ones if we needed. Some amenities that are standard in Japan such as tooth brush were not among basic amenities in the room, but I suppose you could ask for them. The optional dinner course was good, although it was a bit overpriced. The dishes and cutlery were clean and beautiful, so that extra could be easily forgiven. The hotel is a three story building and therefore does not have an elevator/lift. The hotel has the potential to become the number one hotel in the area, but I feel that the owner prefers to have a smaller number of guests to be able to serve them in a special way given the small number of hotel staff. Overall, I can recommend this hotel anyone after an exclusively relaxing and quiet accommodation in Hakuba.

  • Stayed January 2013, travelled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank Glen D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 3 Contributor
15 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 December 2012 via mobile

This hotel is friendly and elegant without being stuffy. The breakfast they serve not only tastes delicious but looks like a work of art. We are here to ski over Christmas and the hotel has captured the festive spirit with twinkling lights and candle decoration. The rooms are very comfortable and the staff welcoming and helpful. Their English is passable, and much better than my Japanese, and they generally work out what you want or how to help you. I love staying here.

Stayed December 2012
Helpful?
Thank Ronda T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Esperance, Australia
Level 4 Contributor
29 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 February 2012

Our family of four, (Mum and Dad, children 13 and 11) stayed 8 nights at La Neige Honkan in second week of January 2012. For the first 4 of those nights we had the hotel to ourselves, it was fantastic, the service was great and our hosts could not do enough for us!
As part of our holiday package we had breakfasts and dinner included. Breakfast included cereal, fruit/yoghurt, croissants, Japanese toast and different cooked breakfast each day. Dinner was an amazing 4-course Silver Service French cuisine meal including appertiser, soup, main and dessert. You had to purchase your dinner beverages. I believe if it had not been for the fact I had our evening meals included in the package we would not have been able to afford to eat there each night. Presentation was magnificent and not at all pretentious, we never felt uncomfortable eating there as a family and our children enjoyed every meal time, practising a new Japanese phrase on our welcoming host every night which was always appreciated. It was a relief after a big day of skiing at Sakka not to have to worry about where to eat each night.
We also found our meals were substantial enough that we didn't require a big lunch during the day, just having a small snack or hot choc at the ski fields, no-one ever complained about being hungry!
Hotel location was excellent, just a short 5 min walk up/ski back to the ski lifts at Sakka and shuttle bus stop right out front. Our hosts also picked us up from visitor centre on our arrival and departure at Happo (approx 5 min drive), we arranged this with a phone call from the Nagano bus terminal.
We had an interconnecting room which gave us all extra space and the decor was very European and cosy. Each room had its own television. Bathroom included a bath tub, which was well used at the end of each day. The kids enjoyed the recreation room for movies and games and regularly used the computer in the lobby. I also used the laundry facilities a couple of times.
We used the ski rental facilities next door at Spicy where the service was efficient but unenthusiastic (this is no reflection at all on the hotel).
Our skiing experience at Happo was excellent...great snow, plenty of runs, excellent facilities, no crowds or queuing for lifts. We were very pleasantly surprised at the lack of crowds as we fully expected to deal with a lot of people based on past ski trips. We had English speaking ski lessons with the Evergreen instructors, who were fantastic.
I would highly recommend this hotel to anyone wanting to ski in Japan. The service, food and location were superb and everthing was done to an exceptional standard, we could not fault anything and departed feeling like we were saying goodbye to great friends, we look forward to returning.

  • Stayed January 2012, travelled with family
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank em-a-lee1756
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Warsaw, Poland
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 January 2011

We stayed 5 nights in standard rooms at La Neige Honkan.
Pros
- Great breakfast to start off your day - loved the cooked breakfast that changed daily (e.g. scrambled eggs, omelet, frittata), cereals, fresh fruit, plus the giant Japanese toast and lovely croissant. Everything was thoughtfully presented.
- Great hosts - lovely older Japanese couple who looked after us. Picked us up at the station, arrange to send our bags onto Narita, and when he couldn't take us to the station on our departure - he arranged a cab to take us (paid for by hotel)
- Clean and functional rooms - bath stocked with shampoo et al, deep so good for soak
- Washer/dryer facilities
- Wifi internet in room plus PC in the lobby if you don't have your own PC
- Good location - Close to sakka ski lifts - walkable in 5 minutes. Also walkable to some good restaurants nearby but away from throng. Shuttle stops just outside hotel. Ski rental in front of hotel.
Cons
- Small-ish rooms with limited storage and twee floral curtains - just need to be very tidy about putting ski stuff away and altho' twee curtains were not our taste we were here to ski.
- Ski-in/out - you can definitely ski-in from Sakka lifts but ski-out was more challenging - it's still do-able, we just wished we found the trail earlier - Just ask the Spicy ski rental guys on how to catch the ski-out trail. It sure beats lugging skis to the lifts with 2 young kids in tow.

  • Stayed January 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Pena007
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Singapore, Singapore
Level 3 Contributor
14 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 January 2011

We stayed at La Neige Honkan for four nights last week while skiing at Happoone. The hotel had been recommended to us by an acquaintance, and it turned out to be a warm, wonderful place.
The inn was very cozy and was a nice base for our family (two boys ages 5 and 7). We booked an interconnecting room -- a double-bedded room connected to a twin-bedded room by a short hallway, with a split bath -- which was perfect for our family. The private bath had a huge, Western soaking tub, which was excellent at the end of a long day.
The inn has a warm, comfy living room/lobby with books, magazines and newspapers, and the basement had another lounge with board games. Vending machines and do-it-yourself laundry were also available. The rental shop was across the courtyard, and it was a short walk up the trail from the inn to Happoone (and a short ski back).
We booked the breakfast/dinner package which, with two young boys, was convenient. The inn is a short taxi ride from downtown, but since the food was truly excellent (although all Western) and the service so gracious and friendly, and we lost our earlier motivation of dinner in town and never ventured down.
The couple who manage the hotel were lovely, and we were sad to leave at the end of our stay. We would definitely recommend this inn to our friends, and look forward to returning next year.

  • Stayed January 2011, travelled with family
    • Location
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Helpful?
Thank pickymom46
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Melbourne, Australia
Level 3 Contributor
9 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 September 2010

We stayed here over Christmas for a skiing trip and I can't tell you how magical this place was. We arrived a bit distressed as my luggage had been lost on the bus ride to the station from Tokyo. We had to leave the station and catch a taxi to the hotel with the bus company promising they would try and find it. As with everywhere in Japan when something goes wrong they are extremely apologetic and very helpful.
As soon as we walked into La Neige we were instantly calmed and felt right at home. We were upgraded to a huge suite which was just Amazing. I can't use any other words to describe it Just so beautiful and over the top.
The staff were fabulous. We loved coming down for meals that were beautiful. So many courses and much needed after a day skiing. Staff at breakfast would also tell us which areas were the best to ski each day depending on the weather which was very helpful. It is also one of the few places which you can basically ski in and ski out of to get to a nearby mountain. Opposite, the ski shop is handy and very helpful. Back to the meals though I should point out that we had a package including Breakfast and Dinner which not everyone did. If you ate in the restaurant without the package it appeared to be quite expensive. Due to the location of the hotel being a little out of the main strip of town and weather being temperamental in the area I would recommend eating at the hotel each night. It would be quite easy to get lost or stuck in town and no where to eat very close by.
We noticed that a lot of families and couples staying at the hotel seem to stay year after year and it wasn't hard to see why. Staff even gave us a little present on our last day and it was sad to say goodbye. We will definitely come and stay again in the future and were sad we didn't make it back there on our last trip.
For those people tossing up which areas to ski in Japan I really recommend Hakuba as somewhere to stay that is not full of Aussies such as Niseko. It is quite a genuine Japanese skiing experience. I have to say though if you do a bus trip to the Snow Monkeys which I highly recommend be prepared for all the Aussies to suddenly appear. A bus full of them but all in all an amazing experience.

  • Stayed December 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
3 Thank smartfry
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hotel La Neige

Property: Hotel La Neige
Address: 4748 Hokujo | Wadanonomori, Kitaazumi-gun, Hakuba-mura 399-9301, Nagano Prefecture
Region: Japan > Chubu > Nagano Prefecture > Kitaazumi-gun > Hakuba-mura
Amenities:
Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #24 of 101 Hotels / Ryokan in Hakuba-mura
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £££
Hotel Class:5 star — Hotel La Neige 5*
Number of rooms: 36
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