Any place that allows dogs to stay sits at the top of my ‘places to stay’ list.
Home of the 1998 Winter Olympics, Nagano, Japan, is where the 17 semi-detached Phoenix Wing Chalets are located, providing the perfect mix of Japanese and Western style living. Each chalet is two storey, with open plan kitchen and dining on the lower level, with the top level providing you with a choice of an incredibly comfortable western bed or traditional Japanese tatami mat and futon. Spacious yet cosy, particularly with our log fire, the chalets are perfect for families, groups of friends and couples alike. You can self-cater or as we did, opt for in room dining, which consisted of a portable bbq and delicious western and Japanese style cuisine. Nom, nom, nom!
You also have the option to dine with the company of humans and dogs in the Canadian style log cabin restaurant, which simply requires a brave stroll through the snow from your chalet. We missed our dog so of course we chose this option on two occasions and had the privilege of dining with some very cute mutts. I appreciate that some people may consider travel accommodation which allows dogs to be a dirty, uncomfortable and neglected place to stay but I can honestly say this was definitely not the case. Call me a lover of dogs but a stickler for cleanliness and hygiene. I too was worried about this when booking but upon staying those concerns never once entered my mind.
We stayed at the Phoenix Wing Chalet for 4 nights in January, Japanese ski season, but I understand this accommodation is popular all year round. We caught the amazingly punctual and efficient shinkansan from Tokyo to Nagano and had a friendly driver from Phoenix Wing pick us up and transport us to our chalet…with a pit stop to a supermarket to grab some groceries and oh, US$10 snow boots of course!
In typical Japanese style, check in was seamless and we were given a walk through of the accommodation and our chalet, in particular a step by step guide on how to use the toilet. Pardon? Let me explain in case you haven’t visited Japan. Many toilets are Japanese bidets, basically meaning western toilets with a control panel which allows you to heat the seat, adjust water jets, auto flush etc. One needs to learn how to use these features first!
Upon getting settled we were quick to hit the slopes and Phoenix Wing Chalet provides a free shuttle transport to and from the local ski areas as well as direct walking paths from your chalet doorstep to the base of Hakuba’s ski resort 47/Goryu. For non-skiers we were incredibly happy. Compared to Australia, skiing in Japan was cheap and the choice of ski runs and snow was second to none (again, remembering this is a comment from a skiing amateur!) Our skiing days ended with a relaxing dip in the private outdoor onsen.
We couldn’t have asked for a better first time experience in the Japanese ski fields. Our accommodation was perfect, providing space, comfort and great accessibility to the slopes and local township. While the Hakuba ski resorts in Nagano provided us with incredible ski experiences and scenery.
There is so much accommodation to choose from in Nagano so certainly consider your options but add the Phoenix Wing Chalets to your list. It’s worth a look!