I have stayed in many japanese style hotels, ryokan and minshuku during my regular trips to Japan, and in all of those times I have never stayed in such terrible accommodation such as this hotel. The first thing we noticed when we checked in was that the hotel had a musty smell throughout, and our room had an 'old ashtray' smell that was even intolerable to us people who smoke! The cupboard and entrance sliding doors both had disgusting brown water stains on them and the taped-up cracked window let in moisture to accumulate along the window sill. However, we initially overlooked the state of our room as we had only planned on staying for 3 nights.
Furthermore, the reason that we booked this hotel was due to its natural hot spring (onsen). We took a bath in the evening and it was really old and dirty. One smelly sink was leaking from the pipes all over the place and was stained completely dark brown. gross!! The shower area had a faint dirty smell about it as well. We did not enjoy this experience at all. This is definitely one of the most dirty and unkept onsen I have ever used.
We were also under the impression the restaurant provided traditional Japanese cuisine (washoku), but when we inquired about dinner that night, they showed us a menu for very basic fried-type foods that we were required to pre-order during the day, which is strange in itself. We stated that we wanted to have a traditional washoku meal (as advertised on their website) and after enquiring with the restaurant staff, the reception girl confirmed that they could organise it for us.
When we came down for dinner that night, all the food had already been set out at designated tables for guests (which is customary at such hotels), but our table and our food had been given to other guests that had not ordered any food!! We were then told by staff that it was a mistake and we would have to go back to our room and wait for 20 minutes while they prepared our food again. We then came back down only to find that this so-called 'washoku' consisted of 6 small plates of assorted pickles, a disgusting piece of stone cold slimy fish straight from the fridge, and a pre-fried stone cold spring roll!! I have grown up on true Japanese food, and I honestly could not bring myself to eat any of the food, even though I was so hungry after a day of skiing. We looked at all the other empty tables of other guests who had already left and none of them had really touched much of their food either!! It was after this that we started to reconsider our options and when we complained to the manager and said that we wanted to leave, she gave a very insincere apology, but did not try to make up for it in any way or offer to change our room or organise another meal for us.
They did not pull out our futons or make up the sheets either, so we had to do this ourselves. I have never had to do this in any japanese style hotel in Japan in my life. As we did not have any doona cover, we were forced to use the old pilled doonas bare.
The following day when we checked out, the manager tried to charge us for the dinner from the following night and argued that because we had tried everything (which we had not) we should have to at least pay for half. We refused to pay and finally she asked the restaurant (apparently a separate company) and accepted.
There were so many other problems that I cannot keep rambling about, such as a sign up on the wall prohibiting guests from wearing the traditional yukata (provided by the hotel) in the dining area (except for the type you can buy for 500 yen). A strange rule I have never encountered in my life.
This manager, as we suspected, was not the owner because if she was, she may have cared enough to reconcile the situation properly. This hotel is totally run down, dirty and extremely poorly run. The restaurant food is disgusting, but the hotel's excuse for this is that it is a separate company. This ski resort is one of the best in the world, and this hotel totally ruined our experience. We checked out after one day and returned to Tokyo.
Do yourself a favour!! Do not stay here under any circumstances!!
- Also Known As:
- Hotel Heights Shigakogen Japan/Yamanouchi-Machi, Nagano Prefecture