We spent six nights at the Phoenix in January. We had a great time and I'd love to rate the hotel "excellent", but I don't think it quite earns that.
Location is great . . . lots of restaurants within walking distance once you get to know the area. Shuttle bus is 5 minutes to the slopes or town. You can walk to the hotel next door for free shuttle buses to other mountains. Mimis restaurant in the hotel is excellent, perhaps the best Western food in Hakuba, though expect a long slow dinner. Also useful that Hakuba Physio has a room at the Phoenix, so you can have a massage to go with your onsen.
I guess if we had stayed in one of the chalets then we would have had slightly different (more self-service) expectations. But we were disappointed by a few things, mostly minor, at the hotel:
-- Old worn out towels that look like something you'd use to wash the car (sorry to be harsh)
-- Very mediocre breakfast buffet that staff seemed incapable of keeping stocked (ie, milk would constantly run out, etc)
-- A bit of inconsistency with staff. I think they struggle to recruit and retain great staff in a place like Hakuba and turnover is high. There was one girl who was always polite but clearly just didn't want to be there!
-- Nothing in the mini-bar, no room service, only a couple of English TV channels (though they have a good DVD selection)
--Also, we ended up carrying our bags up and down from our room because there are no "bell boys". I'm sure the hotel would have got one of the guys to do it if we had asked, but it seemed like too much effort.
So, overall we liked the place and enjoyed our stay. I'd rate it very good, but not quite excellent.
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