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Friday, February 3, 2017

Hokkaido Autumn Road Trip 2016 - Hotels We Stayed

For this trip we stayed in a few hotels, mostly business hotels. In Japan, business hotels are fuss free hotels that offers a clean room at an affordable price.

We stayed in a few cities, Sapporo, Asahikawa, Abashiri, Kushiro and Obihiro. All the hotels we chose are right in the city center, within walking distance to dinner and breakfast locations. Our budget was around USD100/night for 2 persons. Generally, hotel rooms in Hokkaido are small, around 15m2. Older hotels could have bigger rooms. Twin rooms cost more than double rooms because twin rooms are bigger.

We didn't stay in ryokans or minsus, due to comfort, price (not cheap!) and convenience. We prefer beds over sleeping on the floor.

Basic bed information:
Semi Double bed : around 140cm wide, slightly smaller than a queen size bed in Malaysia 
Large double bed : 6ft, King size bed in Malaysia
Twin beds: 110cm each, Super Single size in Malaysia.

Hotels we stayed in Hokkaido accepted Malaysian credit card for payment. 
During check in, hotel staff will request for all staying guests' passports to photocopy.
Toiletries (some provide facial wash too), toothbrushes and pyjamas as provided.
Self service laundromats (coin laundry) are available at most business hotels.
If there are onsens in the hotels, even business hotels might have it, but guests with Tattoos could be prohibited from use.

Here are the booking records of the hotels we stayed on this trip, and the price we paid.



1. Frame Hotel Sapporo

We chose this hotel based on a few reasons.
1. Price. The weekend we were there was very expensive everywhere. Prices were soaring high due a lot events happening in Sapporo during those few days.
2. Location: Susukino, near to food we wanted to eat, near to shopping areas and across the street from car rental office (very important to us).

Type of room: Twin room 2X110mm (Upgraded during first night) and Double room, 140mm (last two nights)
Breakfast: No but it's available, Sapporo has morning markets for breakfasts
Parking: A few lots under the hotel at ground level. We didn't use it
Verdict: I slept very well in this hotel. The bed was just right for me. Sleep quality was the best in this hotel during my trip

Shiseido toiletries were provided in the bathroom.
Toothbrushes, razors and combs are available at the lobby. FOC and self service

2. JR Inn Asahikawa

We chose this hotel because
1. It's new! During our stay, it was only 1 year old.
2. Buffet breakfast with a good spread as we needed it for a long day. 
3. Convenience: It's just above Aeon Asahikawa.
4. Can choose pillow, so we each had two pillows that night.

Type of Room: Economy Twin Room, two 110mm bed
Breakfast: Yes with additional cost during booking, We add on Buffet Breakfast as breakfast outlets in Asahikawa are difficult to locate, unless we go for Starbucks.
Parking: Ample. Covered open air parking space. Pay upon check in. The receptionist told us, "can in out in out hotel"
Verdict: Very convenient hotel and my favourite toilet throughout the trip.

Air purifier :)

Nice morning view

The best toilet during our trip

Aromad'or Toiletries

Desserts: Not much fresh fruit, jellies and canned fruit

Bread and hot food

Appetizers. On the right are onsen eggs
Dishes for rice

Round 1. There was round 2, but I didn't take pics.
I'm glad I got to try Rawan Buki here at this hotel. Rawan buki is the 3 green stalks at top left on my combi platter. It's a special wild vegetable found on Hokkaido. It could grow up to 6-8ft tall in Ashoro, Tokachi. During my trip, I saw plenty of shorter rawan buki growing along the roads, but the gigantic ones were off season. Maybe, hopefully, I will be able to see the gigantic ones on my next trip to Hokkaido.

Nice sorbet and yucky coffee.
I really don't understand why hotel coffee in Hokkaido mostly taste this way, rather artificial.

Jr Inn is that building behind Aeon. Direct access to Aeon, just take a lift down.
Super convenient location. And major ramen restaurants are all around here. Besides Aeon, there are other shopping centers around here. Anyway, any hotel near the train station is always convenient for everything.
View of Asahikawa Station from my breakfast table

3. Dormy Inn Abashiri

We chose this hotel because
1. It's very new. It was only 4 months old during our stay.
2. Location: It's very near the restaurants we planned to visit in Abashiri.
3. All you can eat scallops buffet breakfast. 

Type of room: Standard Double Room, 140mm bed
Breakfast: Yes, we add on buffet breakfast during booking because of the nice spread. Our itinerary for the day involved a lot of sightseeing, with not much eating.And this heavy meal was really important to us.
Parking: Multilevel Automated parking. Pay upon check in
Verdict: Love the amenities and free washing machines. Hot Chocolate machine at the lobby makes nice hot chocolate.

new building

double bed , smaller than a queen size
Safety deposit box (not every hotel has it) and in room mobile phone cables
Toiletries provided are from Shiseido.
A whole big bottle of Shiseido foaming facial wash. Don't be tempted to bring the bottle home with you
We woke up and went to breakfast at 7.15am. We got a bit shocked seeing people coming to breakfast in hotel pyjamas. We didn't know that it's acceptable.
Fresh melon and lychees, Brownies and rice cakes

Bread and pastries... mehhh

Round 1.... I ate 3 rounds :)
Eat, must eat more, as we won't be eating much for the whole day after this... eat eat eat!

Cultured drink, I didn't like it, Taste like bubble gum.
Power sockets and USB ports at breakfast tables. Woaaah!! Use gadgets and device without worries about power.

Washing Machine: Free.
Dryer: 100yen 20 minutes
Didn't try the onsen

4. Kushiro Castle Hotel

We chose this hotel because
1. Value: nearby hotels in this area are much more expensive, room size is big. Prices of hotels in Kushiro are generally a bit higher than the other cities we went to.
2. Amenities: Slumberland bed, coffee machine in room and free parking.
3. Location: Near to wharf and restaurants. Beautiful river view.

Type of room: Standard King Room, 180mm bed
Breakfast: No, we didn't add on, Kushiro city has very good breakfast options. Eat out!
Parking: Free, open air
Verdict: The blanket was very heavy, but bed was comfortable. Bigger bathtub by Japanese standards and very impressive range of bath salts, and bathroom toiletries. The riverfront is a nice place for a morning walk. This hotel has an old hotel smell, the lobby, lift all have that particular old smell, but it's clean.

Kushiro Castle Hotel, right beside Kushiro River. 

Esspresso machine and a nice work table
This room is big by Hokkaido's standards compared to hotels in the same price range.
The sitting area of my room

A slightly larger bathtub for a hotel within this price range

A lot of amenities! Scrubber, bath sponge are provided.

Toiletries by Kracie. 

Because this hotel doesn't have onsen, so they provide bath salts for a private soak in the room.
Types of salt: , Himalayan Rock Salt, Australia Mermaid Salt, Brittany Algae Salt, Inner Mongolia natural baking soda, Indian Ruby Salt  and Luxe Dead Sea bath salts. Sad to say, I only saw these when I checked out. So I didn't try any. 

Kushiro Castle hotel provides free supper. But........

5. APA Hotel Obihiro Ekimae

We chose this hotel because
1. Price: It's very affordable at 6715yen per night and it comes with a King size bed. JR Inn's price can beat this, and comes with free breakfast, but smaller bed, smaller room. We didn't need the breakfast, so we took the bigger bed option.
2. Location: It's walking distance to all the restaurants we planned to visit during the night and morning.

Type of room: Double room with large double bed, 180mm bed
Breakfast: No, but it's only for 1300yen. But we ate at Obihiro's bakeries, lot's of them
Parking: Multilevel automated parking, Pay upon check out
Verdict: Toilet bidet not working, pyjamas was not comfortable at all.

King sized Bed

Good enough for a shower

Large bottles of Shiseido toiletries

This is a video of parking at automated multilevel parking at Hotels in Hokkaido

So, that's all. 5 hotels for 7 nights stay.

For our next trip to Hokkaido with kids, it will be a bit tricky because their room rules for sharing with kids are strict. Needs more planning and consideration.

Hokkaido Early Autumn Road Trip 2016

1. Planning the trip - 9 things to think of
2. Driving in Hokkaido - 9 points to consider
3. Part 1 - Sapporo
4. Part 2 - Furano and Biei 
5. Part 3 - Asahikawa and Sounkyo
6. Part 4 - Abashiri
7. Part 5 - Teshikaga (Kussharo, Mashu, Mount Iou)
8. Part 6 - Kushiro
9. Part 7 - Obihiro and Tokachi Subprefecture
10. Part 8 - Yoichi and Otaru
11. Part 9 - Sapporo again and going home.
12. Hotels we stayed in Hokkaido
13. Shopping in Hokkaido
14. Things to Eat and Drink in Hokkaido


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