To get to Kiroro Snow World resort where the Sheraton was located at, I took the JR train from Sapporo Chitose Airport to Otaru Chikko Station, one stop before Otaru main station. There was a complimentary shuttle bus which I had to wait more than an hour for but thankfully there was a heated waiting lounge in the station. There is also some luggage lockers and a shopping mall beside the station.
Eventually I boarded the 1pm shuttle bus from Otaru Chikko Station and arrived at the hotel at about 1:45pm. Being dropped off in the hotel directly, the service was convenient. Though I have to make a note that the shuttle bus they used was pretty old without any luggage compartment making it inconvenient for guests as they need to carry their luggage up to the bus with them.
The check-in area of the hotel was in a nice contemporary design with dark wood accents. Another thing I noted was how the staff was wearing Kiroro branded sweaters. Since I checked in on New Year’s Day itself, my SPG Platinum status has not been refreshed yet from my stays in Shanghai. Though when I showed them the app, they accorded me the right status. However with the hotel being quite full, there was no possibility to upgrade to a suite as the property has less suites. There was however a club lounge that I got access to for breakfast and evening snacks.
Room No: 216 Category: Double Room
I was provided a room on the second floor and it was quite a long walk from the elevator. The housekeeping team was still conducting their work when I arrived, since I expect the hotel to be really crowded over New Years’ eve, and I was already grateful to get a room earlier than usual.
Like other ski hotels I have been to the foyer of the room has racks to hang your ski jackets and pants. The one in this room also remains flushed when not in used, making the design sleek! This was a nice feature that I have found to be essential to distinguish a mediocre ski hotel from a good one. Then there was the bathroom on the right of the foyer which was very interesting.
The bathroom is actually made up of 3 distinct spaces. The bathtub and shower area was in one enclosed room with its own door. The amenities inside is akin to those found in the Japanese hot springs bath, and they are in a wall mounted dispenser. There is another room with a door that houses the toilet beside it.
A common area that holds the vanity counter and the wardrobe transitions out into the foyer. What makes this layout nice was that multiple people could use the various functions of the bathroom at any one time since the doors could maintain privacy. However it does make each individual area feel darker. Furthermore the bathroom looked like it was built in the 1980s though it might not be a big issue as I will explain later. One thing I appreciated was the provision of slippers for guests.
When I booked this room, I chose to redeem my Starpoints as it only required 7,000 Starpoints for 1 night, compared to paying a rate of more than ¥39,000 (~$380). I thought that was a very good value, though they only had double rooms available. The double rooms in the bed was actually very comfortable and met my needs perfectly.
The bedroom felt very fresh and new compared to the bathroom. It felt modern with light wood furnitures. In addition the lighting made the room very bright and comfortable, increasing the contrast between the bedroom and the bathroom.
The view from the bedroom was also spectacular with a mountain view so it makes it a nice spot to see falling snow from. And guests could be comfortable doing just that from the sofa by the window. This long sofa could easily be converted for another bed in case you have more friends to share the room with, or for families travelling with kids.
Luggage can be placed on the bench at the end of the beds. While there was a console that has a small desk at the end with some drawers in case guests need the storage space.
In the evening, because of my SPG Platinum status, I had access to the Club Lounge which is actually located on the second floor of the Mountain Center that is located beside the hotel and linked by a walkway. The club lounge was not large by any means but it was not crowded either. There are a total of 8 tables, each able to seat groups of 4 people located in a medium sized room.
There is a bar area at the corner where the staff are working from. Typically the hotel adds a sticker to the keycard for access to the Club Lounge and guests just show this card to the staff who will acknowledge your access. The lounge serves a variety of canapes which are mainly sliced meats on toast along with nuts, some snacks on toothpicks and cheese. Beverages include wines, Japanese beers, soft drinks and juices.
While the appetizers served in the club lounge was what I consider a bare minimum and no replacement for a meal, the view from the lounge was really nice as it overlooks the main ski area and there is night skiing in Kiroro!
Breakfast was also served in the Club Lounge and there was a nice range of food served here. There are the usual pastries, toast, cereal, yogurt, fruit and salad for a continental breakfast.
There was also a counter dedicated to a Japanese breakfast with miso soup, freshly cooked rice from the rice cooker, a selection of side dishes and casseroles containing bacon and sausages.
As a bonus, guests could also order eggs from the staff in the lounge and I requested for a sunny side up, which is also my favourite type for breakfast.
For guests doing an extended stay in the hotel, there are 3 main restaurants on site. One of them is the Cafeteria Lumiere which is a huge dining spot for skiers as well. This place serves mainly lunch and some after ski snacks but it closes before dinner time.
There is a buffet restaurant called Rivierouge that opens for dinner at the main lobby and a Japanese restaurant on the second floor. Though early reservations are recommended for the Japanese restaurant as it was fully booked on the day I was there. Otherwise the buffet restaurant does seem to have a nice spread of food when I went to check out the food. Though I ended up dining at the Tribute Portfolio hotel which can be reached via a shuttle bus service.
Opposite the reception desk there is a gift shop that also functions as a convenience store as they sell beer, beverages and snacks. Guests could also access the public hot bath located in the Mountain Center, and it is located on the same floor as the Club Lounge. And because I took advantage of this facility which is a nice place to unwind after skiing, I did not need to use the bathroom for the shower.
With the hotel being a ski-in/ski-out property that has all the ski facilities on-site including lockers, ski rentals, tuning, and the ticket counters beside, it was the perfect property to be in while skiing at Kiroro. The fact I was on a free night redemption made it a whole lot sweeter, and this is but one reason I stick with SPG for my hotel stays. While I checked out of the hotel the next morning, they were even able to transfer my luggage to The Kiroro Hotel which is also located in the same area just 5 minutes away from the shuttle bus.