Narelle and Greg Tuchin
Mid January 2015
We had a great trip thanks. The St. Moritz was great thx. Everything we expected from a hotel in Ichinose. They served the eggs cold in the morning breakfast but a gentle word about how westerners like their eggs led to a change. All in all good value, great snow. Ill check in with you soon for next year! Cheers
Mid February 2014.
Left Madarao in a snow storm and went back to Nagano. it was dumping down. Caught bus to Shiga Kogen. It took 4 hours to get there because of the storm. Couldnt see anything travelling up. It was a white out. Wasnt sure if I got off at the right place. No one had heard of the hotel. Ended up getting someone to ring hotel & the owner came and picked me up. No english people staying there. Was a nice place for the money and good location to lifts. One thing that I did find annoying is that they allow people to smoke on the entry level and all you can smell is cigarette smoke which travels into reception and lounge area. Same thing applies here with the arrival meal. Shiga Kogen is a good resort with plenty of run and a huge area to ski. I found the the new snow get skied out quickly compared to Madarao. This is more apparent where the three prince hotels are in Yamibiko. Your service was very good and you answered all of my questions in all of my emails. Thanks for your help. If you have any good specials for next season please let me know.
Mid January 2014
Your service was excellent and much appreciated. The accommodation and price you secured for us was exactly what we were after. And now, being aware of the holiday weekend in Japan in the middle of our stay on the snow, I appreciate how lucky we were that you were able to secure accommodation for us, with no holiday loadings. Thank you again. The snow and skiing/boarding at Shigakogen was, as ever, excellent. I continue to be amazed at how few people you have to share the slopes with. Even with a long weekend in Japan, there were times on Saturday and Sunday when we had runs to ourselves. There was never any waiting at lifts. And, whilst it cannot ever be guaranteed, the weather was next to perfect – four nights of fresh snow, but basically clear, windless days! We liked Hotel St Moritz. The rooms were comfortable and suited us. The onsen was adequate. Staff spoke (limited, but) enough English and were very helpful. The hotel wifi worked. Breakfast was good. But dinner was very limited. We only ate in house for dinner once, but this is not a problem as there are 3 or 4 other options for eating out which are quite good. Also on-snow eating options for lunch are very good, so, with a decent breakfast and good lunch, dinner is less crucial. As with most (all?) hotels in Ichinose, there is not much in the way of after-snow facilities, but there is a comfortable lounge so, with a few drinks and your own and the company of other guests, evenings can be quite pleasant. And the big plus with the hotel is its location – just a 50 metre (albeit somewhat uphill – but it’s downhill going home!) walk to the nearest lift which effectively gives you ski/board access to the entire Shiga field. There’s about a 100 metre walk to the bus stop, shops, restaurants. We are planning on returning to the snow in Japan and would, most likely, go back to Shiga and Hotel St Moritz.
My finance and I stayed at Hotel St Moritz Shiga, Feb 20-24. Despite it being peak season the hotel was quiet, low key, and accordingly, relaxing. There were a couple of other Western types in the place, one a Kiwi who had been travelling around a number of resorts on his one month Japan trip; He'd been to Hakuba and Nozawa Onsen where he'd met a many Australians. In addition to the great snow conditions, its 'magical powder', he rated Shiga Kogen for its low count of Antipodean neighbors. We drove there in my old Mitsubishi Pajero Junior which struggled mightily to make it up the last 10k climb in heavy snow. We might not have made if it my better half didn't have the good fortune to be born a Canadian. There is an onsen bath in the basement beside the lockers and the changing rooms. It's a basic hotel type Japanese bath that doesn't pretend to be more than functional - there are no windows for example - but it feels more than just adequate after a day exploring the many areas and trails of the resort. Breakfast was included in the room price and was decent with a fairly wide selection of Japanese and Western breakfast staples. We didn't sample the evening fare opting for the what we were told were limited options down the village. One night we ate at an Okinawan place that we good...nice sake and Okinawan dishes. Two nights we ate at a Nepalese place where we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves scoffing down curries and nan a-plenty. Hotel St Moritz with its location a couple of minutes walk from the lifts and its reasonable prices was a good choice for us, an evaluation that is primarily driven by the wonderful, wonderful conditions we had on the slopes. It's all about the resort.
We stayed for 5 nights at Hotel St Moritz in mid January, a family of 4 with 2 older kids. Staff were welcoming, friendly enough and efficient despite the language difficulty at times but thats our issue really, as we are the visitors to Japan and its all part of the experience. We had booked dinner for our first night and whilst relatively expensive, it was very nice (order the Japanese dinner not Western as other guest commented they were disappointed with it) the multi course japanese dinner however we found excellent, and we certainly didn't leave hungry. You can eat elsewhere at Ichinose for cheaper ( the nepalese Curry house for eg) but beyond that you have to search for other dinner options. Breakfast at St Moritz were buffet style, and mix of japanese and western available and you could go back for as much as you liked so we thought it was very good value compared to other japanese hotel experiences we had where you paid for each portion. Found the Kitchen and dining room staff to be very nice and always tried to please. As others have said hotel is little dated in decor but everything is still clean and presentable. We had a 4 share room with small ensuite capsule bathroom which suited our needs, but the onsen in the basement is the best option for washing/showering in any comfort. Beds were comfortable and room was warm enough but no control over the temp. Not much to do in the evenings except watch the sumo on the TV in your room. Access to ski lifts was OK once you found the short cut, with small kids or if you were not that fit you would struggle with the little climb up the access way. If your a confident skier you can ski back to the front door in the afternoons when snow was good if you risked a bob sled run down the access path. Ski storage locker room in basement with lockers just big enough for 1 set of skis and your boots. No equipment drying facility for jackets, gloves etc, and limited hanging space for this in your rooms which can be a pain as the room becomes a bit of a chinese laundry. Overall we found St Mortitz clean, comfortable and convenient. Would we go back to St Moritz? Probably, but we would probably also look around at other alternatives at Ichinose as well. Snow was brilliant!
Hotel St Moritz Shiga is situated at one end of Ichinose Village, the end you approach from Nagano Station. It is clean, comfortable and caters well for a place to relax and recover from a hard day's skiing or snowboarding. Beds were comfortable though the loose bedspread/blanket tended to get kicked off during the night. The bathrooms are 'capsule' style and very small. The hot water cut in and out, but wasn't overly annoying. However, after my first shower in the room I used the onsen to shower/bathe/rinse. The onsen was quite spartan in the sense that there were no towels provided in the adjoining room - guests needed to bring a modesty towel (provided) from the room, as well as the bathroom towel to dry off. Supplying towels in the change room next to the onsen would improve the experience. The onsen itself was good - only an indoors onsen, but good, and helped relieve tired muscles at the end of the day. The lobby bar was never open while we were there, and we were there across a weekend. Further, when guests wanted a little apres drink/chat in the lobby after dinner, the lights were turned down, then off, giving us the hint we weren't really welcome to stay in that area. Still, better that than have rowdy guests disturb the sleep of guests in the rooms above. On a positive note, there was no issue with guests taking their own alcohol into the lobby/lounge area and alcohol is readily available in both the hotel vending machines and hotel shop. Staff were accommodating enough. Yamamoto san booked restaurants in the village for us a couple of times when requested to do so. There are very few dining options in the village that are open to the public. There are plenty of hotels, but some allow only their guests to dine in their hotel. Access to the snow is not ski in ski out, but there's a cut out path adjacent to the hotel/building a couple of doors down and you have a short, easy climb to Lift 28. From there you can access the whole mountain lift by lift. Back to the hotel - it is a bit dated in terms of its decor, but that is the same as another hotel we stayed at in Shiga Kogen a couple of years ago. Hotel St Moritz was better than the other hotel. Although it is a bit dated, it is clean and 'did the job' adequately for us. Breakfast was good, I thought, but some of my companions (we were there as a group of 8) weren't happy about the food not being as hot as it could be. All in all, an enjoyable experience from a hotel that could make some simple improvements to lift it to a new level.
This was a last minute booking for Christmas and we were lucky to find anywhere with availabilty. The property itself is well located in ichinose but very dated. It seems that the management are winding down the property as several of the common areas were closed. Staff were friendly enough. Bedrooms were similarly dated with very small bathrooms. Dinner at the hotel was very disappointing - a bizarre mix of japanese and western style fast food. Although Ichinose does not have a huge number of dining options there are definately better places to eat.