there is a place where a city fronts a panoramic and expansive bay, where victorian-era mansions and churches grace steep, tree-lined avenues, and where cable cars dissect through the congruous city grids. if this description seems even vaguely reminiscent of san francisco, you could easily be forgiven for making that assumption. although familiarly western in its initial portrayal, this is counter-intuitively, the very japanese city of hakodate, japan, and one of the newest and premier hotels this geographically blessed city offers is the la vista hakodate bay.
if you’re a luxury traveler and need a port of call in this city, few other other hotels in the area come close to the higher standards of lodging the la vista hakodate bay offers. the hotel is relatively new, clean and rooms are simple yet tasteful with an obvious japanese flavor. the ultimate highlight of this hotel however are it’s rooftop baths that have both indoor and open air options with the latter allowing you to fully appreciate the stunning panoramic view of the city and its surrounds. the hotel is also very conveniently and centrally located to most of the city’s attractions, with numerous shopping and dining areas encircling the property, and hakodate’s famed asaichi markets (morning markets) only a 10-15 walk away. the most famous attraction however, is the summit of mt. hakodate and this too is within close proximity to the hotel.
although the hotel’s spa/hot spring baths are indisputably restful and relaxing, they were often on the side of overcrowded in our experience, and like us, this may be a fly in your ointment if your primary aim is peace and solitude. the hotel’s english language website was also a little difficult and confusing to navigate and i lacked confidence in securing a booking via this avenue. instead, i used japanican.com and this website will easily help you communicate with the hotel to answer any questions you may have, especially because there is an incredibly wide array of room types available.
if you happen to be driving into hakodate from sapporo, in our experience the journey, including stops along the way, was approximately 6-7 hours. despite appearing relatively close to each other on the map, roads in hokkaido have notoriously slow speed limits that are enforced with numerous speed cameras, and the alternative tolled roads add only slight reprieve for a much greater, almost non-economical cost. if you are driving in however, the la vista hakodate bay has reasonable daily parking rates for hotel guests that grants you unlimited entry and exit access for a 24 hour period. finally, if you decide to make the much recommended trip up to the summit of mt. hakodate, renown for its incredible views of the city and beyond, do let the hotel concierge know as they will happily issue you discount vouchers for the gondola ride to the top.
been to or stayed at the la vista hakodate bay hotel recently? i’d love to hear your thoughts, agreements or disagreements with my review. feel free to rate the la vista hakodate bay in the poll below.