[Hotel Review] – Kohan Tei (Japanese Style Room), Lake Toya, Hokkaido, Japan (22 – 24 Feb 17)

Kohan Tei in Toyako Onsen

Location

Kohan Tei is located in the East part of Tokyoka Onsen, which is about 25 mins bus ride from Toya JR Station. There is a bus stop, Moto-machi where buses run from Toya JR Station, right in front of the hotel. Kohan Tei is situated right in front of Lake Toya, and has a 24-hour convenient shop within 2 mins walk from the hotel. However there are not many restaurants around the hotel. Most of the restaurants are located near Toyako Bus Terminal, about 15 mins walk from the hotel.
Reception at Kohan Tei

The Room

Porch

A common feature with Japanese style rooms in most hotels, the porch is the first thing I came across inside the 15㎡ Japanese Style Room in Kohan Tei. This is an area where shoes are to be removed before entering the room through another Japanese style door. The futons are kept in the cabinet on the left of the porch, while the bathroom is located on the right side from of the porch. There are no shoe ranks for us to put our shoes.
Porch area of the room in Kohan Tei

Sleeping Area

Passing through the Japanese style door, a small knee height table with 2 chairs are placed in the middle of the sleeping area. The wardrobe is built into the wall on the left after passing through the Japanese style door. The cabinet is rather small which can only hold up to 4 winter jackets. The yukatas are found in the wardrobe. To the right of the inner Japanese style door, the in-room safe sits  in an open space in one corner of the room. The TV console is placed along the wall on the right side of the room with a old school dial in-room phone. There are only 4 power sockets in the entire room, 2 are located in the sleeping area, where one of which is used for the TV. There is another door separating the lounge area from the sleeping area.
The sleeping area
Futons set up for sleeping at night. The futons were left there throughout our stay. The staffs did not keep it away
A small wardrobe where one can find yukatas
TV console and safe in one corner
Tea set for guests to enjoy

Lounge Area

The lounge area overlooks Lake Toya with the floor to ceiling glass door that opens into the small balcony. There are 2 arm chairs and a coffee table placed here. The in-room fridge is placed in the lounge area, behind one of the armchairs, along the wall on the right side of the room. The lounge area is a great place to relax in as it looks out into the beautiful Lake Toya. There are 2 more power outlets here, one of which is used for the fridge.
Lounge area over looking Lake Toya. The fridge is placed behind 1 of the 2 armchairs
View of Lake Toya from the lounge area

Bathroom

The bathroom in Kohan Tei very small and looks like it needed an updating. There are no washlet toilet bowl, just regular toilet bowl which is very cold to sit on in the cold winter. The sink is located next to the toilet bowl and the panel on the sink looks as if it is going to fall off any moment. The bathtub is next to the sink, where showering is to be done with the only shower head in the bathroom.
Small bathroom in the room

Dinning

The rate that I booked included breakfast and dinner is served at either the buffet hall on level 2 or the restaurant at level B1. We were initially assigned the buffet hall at level 2, where the hotel caters mainly to tour groups or non-Japanese independent travellers. There is a large variety of Japanese and Chinese food served in the restaurant at level 2. Tempuras are freshly fried in the buffet hall, which makes it rather smokey and clothing will rake of fried smell. The food is good but due to the hordes of Chinese tourists assigned to this hall, dinning here feels like a race. Forget about obeying the queue as the tourists tend to cut queue and shove themselves to get the food they want.

Buffet hall has a great selection of food for dinner. However our visit was marred by the staff from China at the front of the dinning area and the hordes of tourists from China whom cut queues and shove their way to grab food

We were subsequently assigned to the restaurant in B1 due to service we received at the buffet hall (read about it below), which serves mainly Japanese guests. The restaurant is smaller in size but the variety of food is generally similar to that served in the buffet hall. Food are fresh and delicious.

Restaurant at B1 that mainly serves Japanese guests. The food offering is the same as that in the buffet hall, but tastes better due to the more “cultured” patrons in this restaurant
Restaurant at B1

Facilities

Onsen

The gender separated onsen in the hotel is located on 9th floor. The onsen water come from the nearby hot spring around Lake Toya and has a mixture of Chloride Spring, Sulfate Spring and Hydrogen Carbonate Spring, effective for skin conditioning and cuts and burns. There are a total of 5 onsen pools, 2 of which are outdoor. All the onsen pools faces Lake Toya. The largest onsen pool is indoors. The outdoor onsen pools are placed in a balcony of some sort, which don’t really feel outdoor to me.

Onsen in Kohan Tei is located on the 9th floor
Waiting area outside the onsen
Male onsen
Corridor that leads to the onsen in Kohan Tei

Souvenir Shop

There is a souvenir shop in Kohan Tei on 1st floor, next to the reception. There is a good selection of souvenirs from the local area, but mainly from all around Hokkaido, which can be gotten from elsewhere.

Souvenir shop that is closed at the time we arrived at Kohan Tei

Service

Service was more negative than positive. As I arrived earlier than the check-in timing, the staff at the reception appeared irritated when seeing me at the reception trying to check if I can check-in. Without a smile and without checking, she stuck to the policy of checking-in at 2pm. When I checked with her regarding the nearby sights, she merely said she don’t know. When asked if we can leave our luggage at the reception until we come back later, the staff at the reception told us to bring our luggage to the end of the counter and just leave it there. No one attempted to bring our luggage and store it securely. When returning some hours later, our luggage is still outside the reception counter. There is no attempt to help guests secure their luggage by the hotel.

There are staffs knocking on our door at around 6pm asking to set up the futons for us. As we were preparing to head out for dinner, we told the staff to give us 5 mins. Before we leave the room, we approached the staff to get him to help us set up the futons in our room. We got the signal from the staff that he will set it up later. However when we returned to our room later at night, our room was not ready for sleeping. Futons were not set up and everything was in its “day time mode”. We called the reception, somehow the staff at the other end of the line did not seem to understand us. My friend and I headed to the reception and told the staff our situation. The staff left the reception and set up the futons for us, which was supposed to be set up some 3 hours ago. The next day after returning from our travels in Toyako Onsen, we were shocked that our futons were not put away, as though no one has came to make up our room. The futon was left at the room for the rest of our stay, signalling that no one bother to clean up our room.

The worst service I have gotten in Kohan Tei is the staff from China at the buffet hall. We were not made known that the meal coupons will be replaced the next day (the staff at the reception did not brief us about it), we surrendered one meal coupon. The staff from China shouted at us and told us there should be 2. When showed her both coupon and explained our assumptions, she shouted at us again and told us the coupons will be replaced the next day and told me to check my facts with the reception. Before we were granted entry into the buffet hall, she shouted at us again and told us to take off our shoes before entering. I raised this issue with the reception and wanted to speak to the duty manager of the hotel, but was told that there are no duty managers in the hotel. Instead she got the restaurant manager to speak to me, with another staff from China acting as translator. Before the manager came, the staff from China questioned me in a hostile manner why do I want to complain, but her attitude changed when the duty manager came.

The only good service I have gotten in the hotel are from the restaurant manager. When made known what had happened, she apologised profusely and instructed the reception to change the place we would dine for the rest of our stay immediately. The staff at the restaurant in B1 was amazing and welcoming. They were very friendly and greeted us as well as bid us farewell whenever we enter or leave the restaurant. The service in this restaurant is heaven and earth from that in the buffet hall.

Overall

The rooms in Kohan Tei are aging and the toilet is very dated and small. The sleep quality on the futon laden tatami floor is good, and the views from the room is excellent. Other than that the hotel is the worst I have been in Hokkaido. The service is horrid except for a handful of staffs, the futon were not set up at night and not kept away in the day. The onsen is rather small, despite boasting to have a roof top outdoor onsen, the outdoor onsens for males are merely placed in a balcony. I would avoid this hotel at all cost.

 

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