Club Med unveils winter snow deals
If you’re looking to ski in Japan this season, searching for the right accommodation can be a daunting affair.
Club Med specialises in family-friendly, all-inclusive holidays, which takes a lot of the headache out of crafting a ski holiday with all the relevant add-ons organised – gear hire, lift passes, ski lessons, food and beverage and even kids club are included in the Club Med deal. However, the brand currently operates two resorts in Hokkaido, Sahoro and Tomamu. So which should you pick?
According to Club Med general manager Sebastien Portes, Sahoro is adapted for more experienced skiers and snowboarders as the snow domain is bigger and the slopes are steeper. “The hotel is also smaller, so it’s a slightly quieter and more relaxing atmosphere,” he adds.
“Tomamu is our newest resort and is more about living an holistic snow experience, going beyond skiing and boarding. As part of the all-inclusive package, families can enjoy the Mina Mina pool, ice skating in the ice village or head up the mountain for fabulous views and our Yakiniku speciality restaurant.” Tomamu was awarded Best Japan Resort for international travellers by TripAdvisor this year.
So why would families select a Club Med experience over the myriad alternative ski resorts in Hokkaido? “Club Med is the only true all-inclusive resort in Hokkaido,” says Portes. “Everything is taken care of, from the ski pass, to the ski lessons, to the gear rental. There’s day and night entertainment, swimming pools and hot baths, all-day bars and snacking, plus, depending on the resort, additional activities such as rock climbing in Sahoro.”
If you’re travelling with small children, one of the biggest bonuses of a Club Med experience is the childcare facilities. “Club Med is particularly valuable for families,” says Portes. “We offer kids clubs from two years-and-up, taking care of the little ones while parents enjoy the slopes. And children from four years-and-up can have all-inclusive ski lessons.”
Portes admits he never feels better than when he’s up in the mountains and says both his own sons learnt to ski with Club Med. “My sons are four and six years old and are now completely ski-addicted. My advice to other parents would be to trust the professionals. Learning to ski is more complicated than it might seem; Club Med ski schools gather ski instructors from around the world, all with international certification and all English speakers. It was astonishing to see my sons go from barely being able to stand up on their skis on day one to tackling red runs five days later.”
Following a full refurbishment Club Med Sahoro re-opens this year. It has been touted as one of the best ski destinations in Asia, particularly if you’re new to skiing. Think idyllic views over the snow-capped peaks of the Hidaka Mountains and plenty of Japanese culture.
In addition to sprucing up the guest rooms, Club Med has also introduced a heap of new activities to entertain kids away from the slopes, including soba making classes, temari sushi cooking classes and plenty of indoor activities.
When the time comes to hit the slopes, the resort’s Skiing School and Snowboarding School will have you swooshing down the mountain in no time. The resort has been built on a privately-owned mountain, which means it can exercise ultimate crowd control on the piste. And paired, of course, with some of the driest powder in the world.
For beginners, or those looking to improve on their technique, there’s a ski simulator with a variety of slopes for a virtual ski experience. The resort also offers a Magic Carpet on the adult beginner training slope.
If you’ve got littlies, there’s a Petit Club Med for two-to-three year olds with heaps of fun activities, perfect if you want to head off to enjoy the mountain.
Four-to-ten year olds can enjoy the Mini Club Med and a Junior Club Med caters to teenage guests, aged 11-17 years, where kids can spend time with friends on the slopes.
Club Med Tomamu Hokkaido is heading for its third ski season after its grand opening in January 2018.
The resort is just one hour from New Chitose International Airport in Sapporo, with Gentil Organisateurs (GOs) on hand on the slopes to help both beginners and more experienced skiiers.
After a day of skiing or boarding, guests can unwind in the resort’s open-air onsen, or take advantage of Japan’s largest indoor wave pool, Mina Mina Beach. The Ice Village is a short walk from the resort. This frozen forest is lit-up at night and offers ice slides, ice skating and an ice restaurant serving cocktails in ice glasses – just don’t forget your mittens.
And of course kids are well-catered for. The Children’s Club has heaps of activities and equipment for children aged two years-and-up and is managed by the experienced children’s club GOs.