Rooms are spacious, relatively new and kept very clean. We slept well – beds are comfortable and room had good sound proofing. Shampoo, conditioner, hair brush, shaver, toothbrush and paste, are all provided, including a kettle for hot green tea, hair dryer, etc. The room we had was on the 9th floor and offered a beautiful view of Furano town blanketed in snow. TV offered mostly Japanese channels and one Chinese channel, with pay tv available for movies, etc. There was free (LAN) internet in rooms, though one could pay to use the internet at the lobby for Y100/10 minutes.
There is a ‘hot spring’ (not a real, natural hot spring but an area to have a bath Japanese style) – it was slightly too crowded for my taste, though the outdoor ‘hot spring’ was lovely in the cold. There are several restaurants offering either lunch or dinner, and while the selection and food are good, they are slightly pricey, as obviously prices are marked up (e.g. lowest set dinner at the Japanese restaurant is Y3700). This thread became obvious – the hotel is obviously attempting to keep their guests within the hotel such that they spend all the money within the compound. Buses from the hotel to Furano town are limited and do not run as often as we’d thought, and it was rather confusing – there is a Furano town bus (Lavender Express) that costs Y250 to get to the Furano Train station (and vice versa), and there is another that is apparently run by the hotel, costing Y200. There are also other shuttles that cost Y160. Most confusing. Do note that timings are also sporadic - but the hotel shuttle (Y200) runs almost hourly from 5.30pm I believe, such that we could hop onto bus to Furano town, grab dinner and shop in the supermarkets, and back by 9+pm.
That said, the hotel has done a commendable job keeping guests entertained. There is also a bakery at the basement, and further on a cluster of charming wooden cabins (called Ningle Terrace)– two cafes, and the rest shops, offering knick knacks for sale (wooden carvings, handmade postcards, snow flake silver jewellery). They were especially pretty when lit up in the snow. There is also a charming alpine style bar further in the woods called Soh’s Bar. All in all, the après ski scene is very good at New Prince Hotel. It also seems livelier and larger than the older Prince Hotel.
There are two ski schools within the hotel, with a large locker area (free lockers for hotel guests), and immediately stepping out was the first ski chair lift. The gondola (apparently the fastest in Japan) was also just beyond the hotel. It was very convenient, but also clear that New Prince Hotel owned the ski area and ski lifts! Hence, the monopoly. There are no other hotels in the area (though there are several clustered in Kitanome, the other ski lift area, including the older Prince Hotel).
The point of staying at New Furano Prince Hotel was the skiing – and admittedly the snow was beautiful: soft, powder, and in abundance. The ski area was not as large as, e.g. Shiga Kogen, but it was good for beginners and intermediate skiiers and boarders. The best bit was how relatively uncrowded it was! We once tried night skiing (from 5 – 8pm) and very often had the entire slope to ourselves! In the day, the slopes never got crowded. Even when the gondola was packed, once the skiiers fanned out, there was ample space. There were times when I too had the slope to myself at 12 noon. The crowds only began on Christmas Eve (also a Saturday). But even that could be avoided - there were queues only around 11am and post lunch at 1pm.
All in all, a good hotel, and if I could find as good a deal as I had, which includes buffet breakfast (very good spread - especially loved the local Furano milk and yoghurt in bottles, the grated yam - sticky - with raw salmon) and two adult ski pass all for Y15,000 a night, I would stay here again. Prices vary markedly depending on the weekend or holidays (e.g. Christmas), so for the last two days we moved to another hotel, which cannot compare to New Prince in terms of the convenience and après ski scene. However, do note that Kitanomine has a faster ski chair lift than at the Prince Romance area (New Prince Hotel).
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Furano is a spectacular all-season resort surrounded by the magnificent nature of Hokkaido.New Furano Prince Hotel is an outstanding new travel destination for outdoor sports activities and base of sightseeing. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Prince Hotel Furano
- Furano Prince Hotel
- New Furano Prince Hotel Hokkaido