The ski town of Hakuba in the Japanese Alps should be a mandatory box to tick on every self-respecting powder hound’s bucket list. Just three hours from the buzz of downtown Tokyo lies a powder haven which offers some of the best skiing on the planet – minus the crowds. Though Hakuba is fast gaining world-wide recognition, the queues here remain minuscule compared to those in North American and European ski resorts. This alone makes Hakuba a must-visit destination – and then there are the chalets. Gone are the days when you had to settle for a rustic ryokan or a no-frills powder pad. Let’s take a look at the most epic ski chalets in Hakuba.
If you’re looking for high end luxury, One Happo Chalet is the way to go. First, there’s the location. One Happo Chalet takes its name from its famous neighbour, the Olympic Happo One mountain which sits directly opposite the chalet. Thanks huge windows used throughout, the chalet offers one-of-a-kind views of the ski hill, including those you get from your bathtub and through the unique transparent fireplace.
Happo One has five bedrooms, making it ideal for larger groups – the chalet also comes with all the trimmings needed for entertaining an entourage. Be it the private state-of-the-art gym, the complimentary four-wheel drive van or the glass-encased wine room, everything about Happo One Chalet is sleek, stylish and executed to perfection. Happo One is not only one of the best chalets in Hakuba – this is easily one of the most luxurious ski chalets in Asia.
Full ski in / ski out access for you and your entourage – life really doesn’t get much better than that. Ideally positioned above the Tsugaike ski gondola, Hakuba Slopeside Chalet sure lives up to its name. Besides being able to hit the slopes right from your doorstep, guests staying here get to put together the guest list of their dreams as the chalet can sleep up to 14 guests in seven bedrooms.
Though the slope side access alone would be enough to make this one of the most coveted chalets in Hakuba, this high-achieving powder house offers more than a few bells and whistles to sweeten the deal. The chalet comes with a cool media room, a foosball table and of course, a huge ski room for storing everyone’s gear. The cherry on top? The walk-in wine cellar hidden downstairs. Our team stayed here and loved it – read more about our powder stay in Hakuba Slopeside Chalet.
Phoenix One offers a fabulous powder stay for families with four bedrooms sleeping up to 10 guests with ease – one of the rooms includes two sets of bunk beds for the kids. But don’t let the family-friendly flair fool you – this three-storey mega chalet crafted from fine Japanese cedar is all about living large in five-star luxury. Phoenix One is built among the scenic Wadano Forest and offers enthralling views of the snow-covered landscape throughout thanks to the extensive use of full-wall windows. The infrared heated deck makes taking in the views all the cosier.
The chalet will keep kids and grownups entertained with its foosball table, LCD TVs and PlayStation 3 console. For some après-ski pampering (or to help you recuperate after hitting the chalet’s fully-equipped gym), Phoenix One offers an infrared sauna and an infinity edge granite bath. With this much going on within the chalet itself, we’d forgive you for forgoing the slopes all together.
A private home cinema – need we say more? Easily one of the most envy-inducing ski chalets in Hakuba Valley, Powderhouse boasts a state-of-the-art cinema room exclusive to you and your group along with seven bedrooms which can sleep a whopping 16 guests in total. In keeping with the times, Powderhouse is built to be environmentally friendly and the whole chalet is heated using geothermal heating.
Besides the epic cinema room (which is fitted with 4th generation Apple TV and Netflix), Powderhouse comes with huge living and entertaining areas complete with a billiard table, fireplace and bar. There’s also an onsen style bath tucked downstairs, with huge windows looking over the valley.