My partner and I stayed at La Vista for two nights, and very much enjoyed it. The location is convenient, just next to Nusamai Bridge and at one corner of the Entertainment District, which meant that there was a whole range of restaurants within 5 mins walk, as well as a Tully’s café that opened till late. The view we had was facing the waterfront and the Fisherman’s Wharf building, which was a lovely sight from our high floor room window when lit up at night.
We had booked a semi-Western room online, but upon check-in realised that this was tatami-mat style and with little space for our luggage – the front desk was very helpful in changing us upon request to a Western style room with beds, which was much better for my partner and I. This was despite very limited English spoken. We had a car with us, and the hotel provides a secure parking area for 500 yen for a full day and night.
The best thing about this hotel was the small but lovely onsen hot baths on the top floor. Similar to other onsens, this was segregated into male/female onsens, complete with changing rooms and shower areas, where they provided Shiseido shower products, hairdryer, hair brush, etc. The female section I was in had a sauna, an indoor onsen with a lovely view, and a gorgeous small outdoor onsen. I loved the outdoor onsen, it was small but perfectly shielded with bamboo reeds on the two sides where it was open to the wind – as we were on the top floor, the wind was a little gusty, which made it quite dramatic as it swept up the steam. As I had soaked in the indoor onsen, it was no problem with the cold air when walking out and going straight into the hot outdoor onsen.
Together with the onsens on the top floor, there was also a guest lounge with great views overlooking the bridge and river, where they served ramen for two hours each night – I think you had to get some coupon from the front desk for the noodles. There was also complimentary Yakult (a yoghurt drink with live cultures to aid digestion) given.
The only comment I would make is that it’s definitely worthwhile to use the onsen for all your showering needs here – the room bathrooms are shower-only and small, with basic shower products that were not as good as the "Shiseido" ones provided on the top floor. We used the onsens on the both nights we stayed, and both times I had no problems as it was not busy at all. I think from other reviews this seems to be a business hotel primarily (which might explain why the front desk had limited English, although we could communicate), so the male onsens might be busier. If you don't intend to onsen, then perhaps this hotel isn't for you since the shower facilities in the rooms are quite basic.
Do note though that while the hotel has a great view facing the river, and walking along the river at night was lovely with the lights, there wasn't much to shop for in the wharf (only foodstuffs) at all. The hotel is at the corner of the Entertainment district, so unsurprisingly we walked past a number of karaoke lounges (they were also advertised in the in-room hotel book!). Kushiro is great as a travelling base for the lakes and to see the endangered Japanese cranes, as well as the fresh food at Washo market, but we did not find much else to do there.
Breakfast was a reasonable Japanese spread, with ikura and rice, Japanese poached eggs, azuki red bean soup, grilled and fried fish, meats, carrot juice, etc. There was some Western food but I think this was rather limited. For the second day we saved out appetites for breakfast at Washo market near the train station, which was a fantastic experience.
In general, the hotel seemed more catered for locals / business, which perhaps explained the lack of English. However, we found the hotel to be excellent for us as informed tourists - we had a car so it didn't matter it wasn't so near to the train station, and we knew where we wanted to go and eat, so didn't have to ask the concierge. All in all I would definitely stay here again the next time I am in Kushiro! The location can’t be faulted and I loved the views and the onsen.
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- Also Known As:
- La Vista Kushirogawa Kushiro, Japan - Hokkaido