For my Hokkaido Trip this time, I will be traveling with my parents (both in their mid-70s). The tour group they signed up with is Organised by Parlo Tours (of Malaysia), which I will try my best to review as well. Instead of following the tour group from Kuala Lumpur itself, I chose to fly in from Singapore via Haneda instead.
I had to arrive one day earlier before the group do on October 9. After some research, I chose Terminal Hotel for its convenience as it is located inside the Domestic Terminal of New Chitose Airport. I made my booking via Expedia using my Citibank Premier Miles Card (for the 6 miles per dollar promotion). I paid about SGD $110 (inclusive of tax) and the rate comes with free buffet breakfast and entry into the airport Onsen (located at 4th floor in the Oasis Park). The entry fee for the Onsen cost about 1500 JPY (about SGD $20). The price I paid is for a single room.
The room itself is quite clean and adequate for 1 person. It is not spacious but it is adequate for me to open my luggage without any obstruction. The room has a comfortable super single bed. It has a TV that shows flight information, free TV and also paid TV channels. The room I had was facing the airside, hence it gave me an excellent view of the tarmac (and planes of course!). Amenities provided include:
- Room slippers
- Simple (thin-type) bathrobe
- Comb and dental kit
- Soap, conditioner and shampoo (in a big dispenser bottle)
The toilet is small, with a bathtub and a handheld shower. The toilet bowl is equipped with a bidet (which seems to be a standard feature for all hotels in Japan).
Although my room was facing the tarmac, runway noise is almost absent and there are no flights throughout the night into the mornings. One’s sleep will definitely not be affected by the airport noise.
The hotel restaurant is located at level 3 and is open only for breakfast. Breakfast is buffet style comprising western and Japanese items. Selection is small but adequate. Coffee is available via a coffee machine. For those wanting food during after opening hours, a snack machine is available at the hotel lobby. A better option would be to venture into the airport as the airport itself is a food haven (which I will elaborate later) and there is a Lawson’s (convenient store, similar to 7 Eleven).
The airport Onsen is about 10 minutes’ walk from the hotel. It is connected internally so there is no need to go outdoor at any time (no sweater is necessary). Before going to the Onsen, you will need to collect the free pass from the hotel counter. At the Onsen, present your free pass and you will be given a bag which contain 2 towel (1 big and 1 small), a Yukata (Japanese pyjamas) and a locker key. The Onsen is gender segregated as one needs to be fully naked to use the pool. For guys, do expect lady cleaners to pop into the changing room at times.
The Onsen is pretty big, with a common shower area, 3 indoor hot pool (1 of which is a Jacuzzi pool), 1 indoor cold pool, 2 outdoor pools (with Jacuzzi function), 1 steam room and 1 sauna room. Do remember to have a quick shower before going into the pools. No swimwear or towel is allowed into the pool. You keep your valuables in the locker and you can wear the locker key on your wrist (which is the only item that you can bring into the pool). New towels are provided in the changing room. There is a rest area for those who wants to take a break from the hot spring. Free drinks are served (coffee, green tea and water). Food is available but extra charges apply. There is also a massage service available (again extra charges apply). I paid 6,100 JPY for a one hour body massage. The massage was not hard but firm enough to ease the pressure in the muscle. Though pricier than most massage in Singapore, I would rate the massage highly (this is highly subjective though). I fell asleep most of the time (combination of good massage, travel fatigue and Onsen).
One level below the Onsen, is the Gourmet Town. Here, you will find a variety of restaurants (and a food court). One will not go hungry in Chitose Airport as there are many different types of food available (Japanese, Chinese, Western, Café etc.). There is also a special lane serving only ramen. Prices are quite reasonable with big serving. My dinner cost me about 1700 JPY (about SGD $23). It comprises items such as sashimi, sushi, Chawan Mushi, Tempura etc. On my last night here, my parents and I tried the ramen lane and we spent about 3000 JPY for 3 bowls of big sized ramen and 1 fried chicken cutlet.
Level 2 of the airport is mainly retail – selling many of Japan’s (especially Hokkaido) products such as Royce chocolate, LeTao Cheesecakes, White lover chocolate, Calbee Potato and fries etc. There are also shops selling food item such as Alaskan crab, musk melon and potatoes! Items such as Royce and White lover chocolates have fixed price. One should try the Calbee fries in New Chitose (a well-known potato chip brand from Japan).
In Smile Land (the area between domestic and international terminal), one will find Hello Kitty Shop, Doraemon land and Royce Shop (more choices of Royce Chocolates). New Chitose airport is indeed a mini city by itself!
Most of the shops close at 830pm. By 8pm, the international terminal is deserted (as Chitose Airport does not serve many international flights). Domestic terminal will still be open until much later.
For plane spotters, there is an outdoor viewing gallery available too. Compared to Haneda, the types of plane one will see here is more limited as Chitose serves mainly regional and domestic flights.
For $110, I would rate Terminal Hotel as an excellent option for one arriving on a red eye flight (D7 and TG being two examples) or a domestic connection from either HND, NRT or KIX (like myself). One can rest and refresh himself/herself first before continuing onto Hokkaido itself with the airport Onsen and multiple gourmets under one roof.
- Value for money
- Convenient location (for those having an early flight out the following day, or arriving after a late flight).
- Onsen access included
- Free breakfast
- Free Wi-Fi
- Chitose Airport, which is a small city by itself!
- Minimal noise from the runway
- Rather small and cramped toilet
- Limited TV channels (no English channels)
- Rather far from International Terminal (but one can reach it without needing to go outdoor)
- Rather far from Sapporo city