Ski and other snow and ice activities abound at both Club Med Sahoro Hokkaido and Club Med Tomamu Hokkaido. // © 2017 Club Med
Feature image (above): Club Med Tomamu boasts its very own indoor wave pool, which is the largest of its kind in Japan. // © 2017 Club Med
For several years now, waves of international travelers have been taking to the snowcapped slopes of Japan. And, unsurprisingly, the largest ski resort operator in the world, Club Med, is capitalizing on the demand.
Club Med Tomamu Hokkaido, the company’s second ski resort in Japan and third property in the Land of the Rising Sun, is set to open in December.
Although Tomamu has several similarities to its sister property, Club Med Sahoro Hokkaido, make no mistake: The all-inclusive, 341-room Tomamu has an entirely different appeal. Though both resorts are located in northern Japan’s Hokkaido province, their menus of activities and amenities caters to two different types of vacationers.
“Club Med Sahoro Hokkaido’s success has kept the property at almost full capacity every season, so it was a natural next step for us to look at new opportunities within the region to provide our members with additional vacation experiences,” said Sabrina Cendral, vice president of marketing and digital for Club Med North America.
Sahoro, the smaller of the two properties at 177 guestrooms, provides a more intimate experience than Tomamu. And although it offers skiing and snowboarding opportunities, it emphasizes apres-ski relaxation and enjoyment thanks to its rustic setting, health and wellness activities and serene, traditional Japanese aesthetic.
Tomamu, on the other hand, will serve a more energetic and thrill-seeking set of clients. It will not only boast a colorful, Japanese-meets-midcentury-modern design and a fun, lively vibe, but it will also offer a wealth of active snow endeavors.
“The differing factor is that the new Club Med Tomamu will cater more toward the trendsetters who are seeking new experiences within the lively Japanese culture and a new perspective on the cuisine and lifestyle of the destination,” Cendral said.
Each resort features Club, Deluxe, and Suite room categories that are designed to accommodate individuals, couples, families and groups.
The main difference between the two properties lie in the rooms themselves. Some Sahoro guestrooms feature Japanese-style furniture, including futon beds on tatami and “shoji” screens, while Tomamu’s guestrooms will flaunt a contemporary look with midcentury-modern furnishings paired with lots of color and textures.
Another piece of information that should be passed to clients? Sahoro uses U.S. electrical plugs (110 volts), while Tomamu uses Japanese electrical sockets (100 volts).
Sahoro’s on-site activities include squash, horse trekking and airboarding (a form of extreme sledding), in addition to having access to outdoor baths and the relaxing Zen Area.
Tomamu’s menu, on the other hand, will be larger and more diverse. The property will be home to Mina Mina Beach, the largest indoor wave pool in Japan, as well as its own outdoor Japanese public bath. Some of its other promising items include snow sledding, snowmobiling, snow trekking, snow banana boating and ice fishing. The property also has its very own Ice Village where guests can play on ice slides, go ice-skating and participate in ice dining.
Naturally, the two resorts appeal to two different sets of clientele.
Although Sahoro “sees a higher interest from international families who tend to appreciate Japanese culture and its take on wellness, relaxation and fuel for the mind,” Cendral says, Tomamu is expected to target and draw trendsetting travelers.
However, guests at both properties are sure to find Club Med’s world-famous trademark service and hospitality. Cendral promises that Tomamu, like its sister property, will stick to the trademarks of the brand.
“Both of the Hokkaido resorts embody the spirit of Club Med through their culture and premium all-inclusive offerings,” she said. “Although they are both unique in their features, they are sure to provide amazing lifetime vacation memories for years to come.”
The resorts’ design, decor and overall aesthetic reflect their individual concepts.
“Each resort’s color palette is an extension of its identity and the type of distinct experience it offers to guests,” according to Merlin Chelliah, chief of village for Club Med Tomamu.
Sahoro champions traditional Japanese interior design and flaunts a more neutral color palette in an effort to provide a truly tranquil space to its guests, Chelliah notes. Meanwhile, at Tomamu, a combination of vibrant colors, an urban feel and a plethora of state-of-the-art facilities masterfully amalgamated by award-winning French designer Jean Phillippe Nuel will reflect Japan’s beautiful landscapes and seasons. Resort materials at Tomamu have also been sourced locally.
“Club Med Sahoro is an authentically Japanese snow escape with ease of access to the slopes, high-quality powder snow, a relaxing and recharging ambiance and serene nature,” Chelliah explains. “It has a more peaceful, calm vibe than Club Med Tomamu. On the other hand, Club Med Tomamu is more dynamic and active. This active energy lends itself to the modern, chic design that is more contemporary in nature.”
The dining experiences at the two resorts differ as well. Tomamu will offer more offbeat dining experiences than Sahoro, whose specialty restaurant, Mina Mina, offers a traditional “nabe” (Japanese hot pot) experience, along an international buffet at The Daichi.
Dining options at Tomamu will include an ice bar, an ice dining experience and an ice tea party at the Ice Village; The Nest Zen Bar, which will offer Japanese tea lessons, whiskey tastings and sake tastings; Haku, a Yakiniku (Japanese barbecue) specialty restaurant; and Itara, its main international buffet restaurant, which will boast four different dining areas that represent Japan’s four seasons.