For all those who follow me on social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram), you will know that a short while ago, I had proposed the idea of doing featured blogs wherein I get other writers/travel enthusiasts to write a blog for my website, whilst to return the favour I could do the same or an alternative that they proposed. Whilst I’m still seeking and fine-tuning how this set up would work, I came across a post by a friend describing her recent stay at Grandeco Snow Resort in Japan. This immediately spoke to me, and it really is things like this that I’d like to share via my blog. Your unique experiences provided you’re happy for me to share so. Therefore, in today’s blog, this paragraph is my only contribution. From here on forth, it is my friend, Louise’s words. Just to give you an insight into Louise before the review, Louise is currently travelling through and living in Japan to learn about the culture, the language and much more. She moved in January 2016 and will be spending a year in this beautiful country.
For my birthday I wanted to go somewhere in Northern Japan, where the cherry blossoms were still blooming. I remembered hearing about Grandeco Snow Resort and thought that while seeing cherry blossoms, I could go skiing too. I wanted to treat myself BUT I was on a budget. I remember seeing a YouTube video about Grandeco and looked them up. I spotted a deal on their website which included a room, meals and a ski pass. I contacted the hotel staff who kindly extended the special deal just for me because I couldn’t make it up before the expiry date!
Grandeco Snow Resort has been the best hotel stay I’ve ever experienced! The hospitality and customer service was out of this world, spectacular and truly heartwarming! The hotel staff organised everything for me and honestly really made me feel like I was staying with family!! Furthermore I was also having trouble organising transport so the hotel staff booked the bus from Tokyo to the closest station for me! As the website was in Japanese, it was difficult for me to navigate. Knowing that someone booked me onto the correct bus and stops, all I had to do was print the ticket and jump on and jump off. What’s more, the staff member who made this booking for me, used his personal credit card for the booking. Once I got to the said stop, the hotel organised for someone to pick me up from the bus stop to take me straight to the hotel.
The hotel is beautiful, pristine and classy. The scenery was absolutely lovely and the atmosphere was so peaceful. The staff were always helpful, patient and so kind to me. They were perfect in knowing when to provide some friendly company and when to give me space to do my own thing. Most importantly, the food was amazing! I was treated to a degustation menu on both nights I was there. It was so good that I was genuinely upset at myself for only knowing one word for delicious in Japanese to tell the chef. Then at dinner on my last night the staff surprised me with an extra dessert for my birthday. It had a candle and ‘Happy Birthday’ written in chocolate on the plate. I honestly thought I would cry, I was so touched.
On the first day, I was driven and personally showed around the ski centre where they let me rent ski equipment for free! The second day, they organised someone to be my guide and take me to see the cherry blossoms. Finally, on the last day, after relaxing on the onsite onsen, someone drove me back to the bus stop and waited with me until I was safely on the bus back to Tokyo.
This experience has been truly humbling for me. Away from my family on my birthday, yet I was treated like family by strangers. I feel I just stayed with my close relatives the way the hotel staff catered to my needs. In my opinion this hotel scored 10/10 for all categories for me – facilities, food, staff and acitivies. I had an incredible experience and I stayed right at the end of the ski season. I cannot imagine how amazing this hotel would be during peak ski season. I highly recommend staying at the Grandeco. It’s good for individuals, couples, groups of friends or family. Although it would be great to stay during ski season,there are still plenty activities all year round! When it’s not snowing the activities to choose from are hiking and lake activities and if you don't have a car the hotel have a tour guide service also.