Have you ever found yourself wishing you had your own summer home? Purchasing and maintaining one can be really expensive and troublesome.
If you’ve ever thought you’d like to own one, but cringe at the thought of having to clean it, then Shiretoko Villa Hotel Freeze in Hokkaido is here to make all your dreams come true!
Located in the midst of clean air and grand natural beauty, your own hand crafted cabin, complete with high quality bedding, is waiting for you. Delicious food with a distinct focus on using only local ingredients serves to complement the experience.
It’s a fully featured summer home themed hotel.
A Paradise Built by the Owner and His Family Over the Course of Four Years!The Shiretoko Villa Hotel Freeze and the Shiretoko site are located about 1.5 hours from Memanbetsu Airport by car (one hour from Nakashibetsu Airport).
About 35 years ago, this entire area was abandoned as people left their farming jobs to seek work elsewhere. The owner and his family moved there in 1999. Their goal was to live in a beautiful, utopian environment. They spent the next four years building their own house and the cottages, and the hotel opened in July 2003.
Take a deep breath of fresh air as you step out of the car! It’s a different level of freshness, even compared to the area around the airport.
Upon arriving you’ll see a scene that looks like something out of a picture book – six triangle-shaped roof cottages sit quietly behind the signpost. Everything about the area is breathtaking, and you’ll feel a sense of luxury knowing that you have your very own cottage to use.
The Cottage of Your Childhood DreamsAfter checking in at the cozy reception building, it’s finally time to make your way to your cabin. This is the cottage that kids dream about living in about when they’re little, from the triangle shaped roof over the bedroom loft to the homey living room!
There are three “type A” cottages, which are for groups, and three “type B” cottages, which are suited for couples. I recommend the type A cottages for bringing the family, as they have a mini kitchen and bigger living rooms.
They go so far as to prepare diaper bins for families with babies, even without asking, and put baby-friendly soap in the bathrooms. They really go the extra mile in making families feel welcome. But, even though it looks like a summer home, at the end of the day it’s still a hotel. It’s also written on their website, but they discourage guests from doing a lot of cooking. They do, however, allow simple preparation of food for infants and toddlers.
Relax on Your Two Outdoor Decks and in a Private, Scented Outdoor Bath!Each of the cottages comes equipped with two outdoor decks. The front deck is for barbecuing and faces out towards Mt. Sharidake, and the back deck faces the forest. You can hear the water from a nearby river flowing; it’s the perfect place to relax.
Pour up a cup of coffee, take a seat, and enjoy the beautiful nature around you.
The outdoor bath is on the side facing the forest. The scented oils are all free to use. As the sun sets, you can enjoy a luxurious bath surrounded by a woodland paradise. If you’re lucky, some cute squirrels might come play around close to the bath.
Even though you don’t have much time from when you check in, the bath is good enough to warrant getting in more than once.
Because the cabins are located so far out in the wilderness, some people worry about the plumbing, but it’s not an issue. The cabins have indoor baths, and the toilets even have washlets. There’s no need to compromise on amenities just because you’re far from civilization.
Shabu-shabu or Barbecue? Get Your Fill of Hokkaido's Freshest FoodIn the warmer seasons, guests can eat on the cabin decks. If you’re just staying one night, it means you have to make the choice between shabu-shabu and barbecue – not an easy decision by any means. However, both come with famous local “Sachiku-akabuta” pork and Okhotsk (Russia) seafood.
Guests can order an appetizer with the barbecue and a crab risotto with the shabu-shabu, making it easy to tailor the dinner to budget and appetite. If you want to drink, there’s locally brewed Shiretoko beer already in the fridge (available at a surcharge).
If you choose to barbecue, you don’t even need to worry about setting up and putting out the coals; it’s all done for you! You can go to inside to enjoy dessert while the staff tidy up the deck.
Could this be heaven?
Let Breakfast Come to You! Room Service Brings you Breakfast to Warm the Heart and SoulYou slowly awaken in your comfortable bed, refreshed by a night’s worth of deep slumber. If you wake up early enough, there’s time for a relaxing morning bath. Once you’re up and at ‘em, the hotel staff will bring some amazing breakfast straight to your cottage.
They serve a BLT sandwich made with homemade bread using Hokkaido wheat, served with a glass of Hokkaido’s famous milk. You also get a hearty bowl of slow-cooked minestrone. Each dish is made with care and sure to satisfy.
After breakfast is finished, it’s almost time to leave. Guests can spend the last few moments relaxing at the cottage or taking a stroll in the woods. The whole experience is so great that you’ll definitely want to stay more than one night the next time you come.
Worthy of Three Stars?
Any hotel given three Michelin stars is said to have “Exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey” . This can certainly be said for Shiretoko Villa Hotel Freeze!
It’s the only place you can find such exceptional, welcoming service so close to the Shiretoko World Heritage Site. If you’re worried about the price or not being able to get a reservation, don’t be. Compared to other onsen hotels, the price is very reasonable, and reservations are easy to get due to its somewhat remote location. Of course, the Japanese Golden Week holiday season at the end of April and beginning of early May gets busy. During the rest of the year, though, reservations can usually be made even a few days beforehand.
Including the money it will take to travel, maybe it’s a bit expensive, but compared to buying your own vacation home? Definitely worth the money for the flight and stay at the almost too comfortable Hotel Freeze.