On 14th Jan 2016, we actually bought the air tickets to Hokkaido for the end of 2016 holidays. What followed thereafter was an amazing flurry of hotel reservations and being on standby for some hotels/resorts.
Edited 14 Feb:
We found ourselves in good company with friends and neighbours which was a totally cool combination.
I joked to Mr H that we could celebrate Z’s birthday with so many friends around us!
The general plan was to spend the first 3 days in Tokyo, 2 days at Disney Resort, 5 days at Ski resort and driving around Hokkaido till school holidays ended. We had wanted to book a stay at MiraCoasta Disney but the price tag was 2.5 times higher than the 29000yen per night at Sheraton Grande Tokyo Bay Hotel. Since we were going to spend a bomb at the ski resort, we decided to go with a more prudent option which looked really good too. For nearly 38000yen savings a night, we had to forgo the doorstep access.
Nonetheless, still a pretty option to look forward to!
Edited: 28th Feb
Another friend would be joining us. That would make it 5 families! 😁
On a happy note, we managed to book Hotel Niseko Alpen today. I had not been able to book it online for the longest time and had written in on 14 Jan. They replied to say their rooms were fully booked. I changed the check-in and out dates and they had a room for us. It was 56K yen and 70k yen for the first and second night. Comparing that to Tomamu, Niseko was really expensive.
The 48sqm room we booked
The peak season warranted a minimum 5N stay at the apartments. Besides The Vale and Alpen Ridge apartments, the others did not offer ski in/ski out access. These two seemed really hard to get. In any case, the hotel offered free cancellation up to 3 days before arrival. It was easier to head out to the village for dinner than to head to the slopes on a bus.
Edited: 1st April
I could not fathom why but it was very challenging to book 3 hotel rooms at Tomamu Resort. How it sold out so fast or was it a technical glitch, I didn’t know. Thankfully, we managed to secure 2 Standard Fourth rooms and a Family Twin room. In the end, it turned out that it was a technical glitch, so we managed to swap the 2 Standard Fourth rooms (50sqm) for 2 Family Fourth rooms (58sqm).
I thought this was better than the Standard Fourth and prices were the same.
The room booking was so expensive that I took a double take. Previously, they did not charge for children but now I had to pay 50% for Z. In 2015 Dec, we paid 53,200yen for 2 nights’ stay in a Family Twin room. For 2016 Dec, had we decided to keep to a Family Twin room, it would be 54,000yen for 2 nights’ stay for 2 adults PLUS an additional 27,000yen for Z.
As we decided to go for the bigger room, we had to pay 92,500yen for 2 nights’ stay in a Family Fourth room. It sure felt like double penalty that we already had to pay more for a bigger room and still had to pay for a child’s fee. For the next 2 nights, there was a price hike and we had to pay 122,500yen.
Our total price was 235,000yen for a 4nights’ stay. It was pretty hefty if you asked me, hence, this would probably be our last Hokkaido Ski trip during peak season in a long while.🙄
Edited: 1st June
We secured the reservations for our ski/snowboarding lessons. There were many fields to fill up because we booked for 4 families.
I also booked a few rooms at Mount Fuji and Lake Toya. I was surprised by the hefty price tag of some properties. Some went as high as S$1400 a night.
I finally could book Air Terminal Hotel but there was no more triple room. I wondered if we could add an extra bed to our double room.
Edited: 4th June
I discovered that my double room booking was cancelled by Air Terminal hotel. We called them and there was a bout of miscommunication which led to us feeling quite upset. It turned out that one of their helpful staff found us a non-smoking triple room and cancelled our existing reservations, without informing us. As long as it ended well, it was fine for us. We were keeping our fingers crossed on this!
Edited: 1st Jul
We had booked our car rentals.
Edited: 1st Aug
Another family friend was joining us for the trip.
With 6 families and kids, this looked to be a massively fun and crazy trip!