Hotel Zen Hakodate, a boutique hotel will definitely worth staying.
Frankly speaking, Hotel Zen Hakodate is quite a distance away from the city, but its geographical location is also the reason why you get magnificent views of the surrounding landscape from the guest rooms. You will also enjoy the hotel’s abundant variety of facilities and amenities.
Hotel Zen’s state of advanced automation caught me by surprise. As it is situated in the suburbs of Hakodate, the locals usually drive their own vehicles when they come here for vacation. As such, I would recommend that you take a taxi or rent a car to get here. When you arrive at the ground level of the hotel, you will see the parking lot that corresponds to your room number. After parking, you may enter through the adjacent door to see a mini reception counter. To check in, simply provide the booking order number from LoveinnJapan to the staff and you will be leaded to the room you booked.
Upon entering the room, you will immediately notice that there are two doors inside the room. (One is for the guests to use while the other is a backdoor for the housekeeping staff to bring in the food of room service or extra amenities.) After leading you to your room, the hotel staff will ask you about serving time that you prefer tomorrow and meal type for the following morning’s breakfast. After the hotel staff leaves the room, I began to explore the room. The exquisiteness of the room was beyond my imagination, and it appears so new that I mistakenly thought that I was the very first guests to stay in this hotel. The guestroom is decorated and furnished just like in your own home, and the hotel has thoughtfully provided amenities that you may not have thought you would need, such as a microwave for you to heat up food just in case.
You may be able to guess the theme of this hotel from its name. Hotel Zen was designed and built based on the concept of “Zen” in Buddhism. Undoubtedly, I could see hints of “Zen-ness” all around my room. The most obvious would be a side table, carrying a Japanese tea set, to the right of the television. The tea set would make you want to try preparing Japanese Matcha. The unique ambient music playing in the room as you enter also works in tandem with the “Zen” concept to welcome you to a relaxing stay. Due to the hotel's location on a small mountain, you can see the scenery of the entire Hakodate city through the huge windows in your room. As I visited during the winter, the white view sights in front me were truly breath-taking.
The hotel’s amenities did not disappoint either. I am particular about the specifics detail in a hotel, and if an establishment or delicacy details that are attentive to its customers, it definitely earns bonus points. When I found the small essential items such as eye masks and earplugs on top of my beds. Being a person who has light sleep like me, this small touch by the hotel was deeply touching me.
The private bathtub is extremely luxurious compared to regular hotels. Just run the bath, add in some scented bubble bath salt, and enjoy a bubbly soak! The incredible thing about this bathtub is the rainbow lights change automatically to a different color, though you can also control them by the panel on the side. The bathtub is with jet blower function. Press the on/off jet button and you get a better bath experience and more relaxing. There's also no need to worry if you are having a longer bath because the bath has a temperature-regulating feature that maintains the water temperature. After stepping out from the bath and you can change into the yukata provided in your room. This yukata is specially-designed and is especially photo-worthy. Another noteworthy thing is that you can find separate toiletries and skincare products for men and women on the dresser, and ladies can also use the beauty electronic products provided by the hotel.
I am demanding when it comes to the food and beverages at hotels, and I would usually order room service to try. Without exception, I did so at Hotel Zen too. I ordered a Thai Green Curry set meal by using their room service menu function on the TV. The room service arrived speedily, probably within ten minutes from the time of order. The hotel staff placed our meals on a designated tray at the food delivery window from the back door and notified us by the doorbell. I have to say that the food did not disappoint at all. The green curry tasted as authentic as I was in Thailand. Breakfast the following morning is a high-quality Japanese set meal comprising Japanese egg rolls, seaweed, grilled salted salmon, Japanese pickles, and miso soup. Having a hot meal for breakfast is super gratifying.
The hotel check-out process is simple and straightforward. There is an automated checkout machine at the entrance of your room, most of the Japanese really concerning about their own privacy, therefore, they prefer to settle the bill in the room without meeting the staff. You may also check out from the automated machine if you are paying cash, f you like to pay with credit card you may call to front desk and inform the staff about this and they will assist you on that. Once you settle the payment indicated, the checkout process is completed. The hotel service is equally impressive. After checking out, I called the front desk to book a taxi for me. The staff resumed the electricity in our room (power is cut off automatically after guests have checked out), and asked me to wait in my room until the taxi has arrived.
Hotel Zen Hakodate can be touted as the highest standard of Japanese boutique hotels, and I will definitely choose to stay here if I revisit Hokkaido. If you ever have a chance to spend some time in Hakodate, don’t forget to check out this hotel!
Ryan has been live in Japan since he came as a student to Japan five years ago. His greatest interest is to eat, drink, and play, so he will travel himself to an interesting spot, fun place, as soon as he discovers something new.