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“Rude staff, No hot water.”
Review of The Lab Hakuba

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The Lab Hakuba
Reviewed 23 February 2014

To start our stay at The Lab we were told that there was no hot water. The showers were segregated by moldy shower curtains, and the times there was hot water, it didn't last long.
The beds are not as pictured, they are metal framed beds that are broken and make loud squeaks when you move even the slightest. The walls in the room had holes in it. The lights were dim, some didn't work so you couldn't see much. The carpet we're dirty made the rooms stink. The staff came across as nice and seemed like they had a genuine "want to help" attitude, but when we asked them to do something like call a taxi, we were told "The phone over there, and the number is next to it". There were two different taxi numbers for two different areas and we had no idea which one to call, and when we called no one spoke much English. The lab say they have multilingual staff which are there to help, obviously not.

Breakfast was "Free" but you obviously pay for it in your booking. The breakfast was toast, fruit, tea and coffee, and what they called a "Hot Breakfast" which was 2 strips of cold bacon and runny scrambled eggs. You were only aloud to have one plate and you couldn't even ask for 2 for a friend who wasn't yet in the dining area to save them from waiting. They provided 2 toasters between all the guests so it was sometimes a long wait, especially when they are broken and you have to hold down the button on one of them to keep it going.

The doors in your room do not lock, which if something went missing you cant claim it on your insurance because they don't lock. A few nights into our stay we got back from snowboarding and there was a guy in our room looking for the free bed which the staff had told him was in our room. There was no free bed. Turns out they over booked and he had to find another place to stay.
On the last night they offered free beer as an amends for having no hot water. Which just so happened to be on the same night they closed the kitchen for a "Private Meal Function" which was a bunch of the staffs friends who came around to drink. So it was close to impossible to even get to the bar anyway. They were up late drinking and it was very loud and impossible to sleep through. There was people in the toilets throwing up and people yelling.

In the morning breakfast didn't start until 7:30 because no staff were awake. The staff were meant to take us from The Lab to the Info center to go back to the airport. But no one seemed to know anything about that. I was told "We don't work for you tour company you have to call them". When we called them they told us the staff were to take us. So they had to be woken up. We were meant to leave at 10:00am but didn't leave until 10:45am. The staff also make you strip your bed so they don't have too which goes to show their laziness.

All in all, I would not recommend this place, and most certainly will not be staying here again.

Room Tip: There are private rooms down stairs with a double bed and single bed. Very quiet area but the rooms...
See more room tips
  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled with friends
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6  Thank AlishaJ1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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25 - 31 of 88 reviews

Reviewed 15 February 2014

For anyone who has read all the positive feedback for The Lab, you need to read this before you book

Don’t stay at the Lab unless
- You enjoy the same very basic eggs and bacon for breakfast every day
- You don’t mind putting in your breakfast order then standing and waiting while it is being cooked, because if you don’t then it goes to someone else
- You love to wait patiently for your turn to use one of the two toasters which are there to cater for 60 guests
- Mould on the ceiling and dodgy shower curtains are something you enjoy
- Putting on cold wet ski clothes and boots is something you love doing because the drying room heater usually not on
- You just love random people entering your room in the middle of the night looking for a place to sleep
- The manager bursting in to your bedroom without even knocking to recover two beer glasses which you brought to your room because the bar area was too crowded and noisy is ok with you
- The fact that most of the urinals and many of the hand basins were out of order doesn’t bother you
- You are sufficiently hearing impaired such that metal bunk beds which squeak with any night time movement won’t wake you up
- You are ok that the common room has only lounge seating for 7 when there are 60 guests

So if all the stuff above won’t bother you then definitely book in to The Lab, but for us, we won’t be going there again

  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled with friends
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9  Thank Neil M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 January 2014 via mobile

The lab is the best place in town. Friendly staff who will book anything, take you out riding, give awesome recommendations and tell you their secret spots. We had to move places but we kept coming back to the lab to eat, drink, ride and party and they welcomed us back with open arms. Couldn't ask for anything more than that.

The rooms are tidy and spacious and the bar and living room are awesome.

Save me a bed because I'm coming back!! See ya soon

Stayed: January 2014, travelled with friends
1  Thank Stephen A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 January 2014

The lab staff are super friendly and helpful. It's in an excellent location, only a short walk to happo one chair lift and close to restaurants onsens and bars. We stayed for a week and would love to come back next season. The rooms are comfortable and clean. There is a fun vibe in the bar downstairs, a great way to meet other travellers.

Stayed: January 2014, travelled with friends
Thank Gemfresh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 January 2014

We stayed at the Lab for a week over New Years and I couldn't have been happier. Its location is great, with a short walk to the Happo One chair, Lawsons for fried chicken (so good!), the liquor store, the main village and Echo Land. The rooms are clean and surprisingly roomy (we had a double room), the shared bathrooms were always clean (I loved that shampoo, conditioner and body wash were provided) and the drying room was big enough that everyone's gear fit and got dried over night (super key for a snowy holiday!).

The Lab is up there with the best hostel I've stayed at, but the staff are what really make this place stand out - Andy, Eleanor, Dave and Lemons will seemingly stop at nothing to make your stay memorable, from organising dinner reservations to driving us to the bar/atm/train station/rental shop and answering any and all questions. Andy does a brilliant job keeping the place running smoothly, and with Dave, Eleanor and Lemons running the bar, you are always assured a hot breakfast and/or dinner, and a cold beer.

Sure, the place is full of Aussies, but I don't see that as a downside - we're all there to chase the powder and it is to be expected in a place with great snow that you aren't the only ones to have heard about it! My only criticism of the place is this - you never want to leave The Lab because once you come back from a day on the hill and head to the bar downstairs with all the comfy couches and blankets for great happy hour prices to exchange stories with the other people who seem more like a group of your mates than simply other hostel inhabitants, your resolve to get out and explore disappears!!! My boyfriend and I met some wonderful people here, and if you are a solo traveller, this place is perfect for locating some riding mates.

This place is a stand out, and my only hesitation in recommending it so highly is that desire to keep it as secret as possible to make sure I can get a booking for next time!

  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled with friends
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2  Thank CDenzo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 January 2014

We stayed at the Lab for a week and it definitely wasn't long enough! It was an awesome place to stay - all the staff (Andy, Eleanor, Dave) were friendly and helpful at all times, made sure everyone was having a good experience and offered great advice on the slopes, bars, restaurants and any other questions we had. The bar area was great, with cheap drinks and a good spot to go after a day on the slopes and having breakfast every day and dinner options at the Lab was an added bonus. The rooms were good, secure and we had no issues. Overall it was a fantastic trip and I would definitely recommend the lab to anyone travelling to Hakuba and would love to stay there again!

  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled with friends
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1  Thank MAtravelling
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 October 2013

Stayed in Feb '13 had an awesome time with great powder! The Lab was a great location and really good value for dorm style accommodation!

Great bar and dining room downstairs to have a beer after a long day on the slopes. To top it off the staff were awesome and really made the place!

  • Stayed: February 2013
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Thank Kelvin R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The Lab Hakuba

Address: 3372-1 Hokujo, Hakuba-mura, Kitaazumi-gun 399-9301, Nagano Prefecture
Region: Japan > Chubu > Nagano Prefecture > Kitaazumi-gun > Hakuba-mura > Hakuba happou Onsen
Hotel Style:
Ranked #13 of 109 Speciality lodging in Hakuba-mura
Price Range: £64 - £80 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 23
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Also Known As:
The Lab Hakuba Hotel Hakuba-Mura

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