As with a lot of foreign-run lodge accommodation in and around Hakuba, when purchased, Hakuba House was a Japanese run “pension” that had falling on hard times and was put up for sale. This often means that the buildings themselves had had a number of years of neglect where the owners just didn’t have the cash-flow to keep the buildings properly maintained. This is where the recent influx of overseas visitors has contributed to a revitalization of these buildings.
At Hakuba House we strive year on year to reinvest a fair share of our revenue back into the building to improve the overall guest experience. We’ve found that identifying and working on a few things each year gets the improvements done while keeping us in business.
Improvements for the 2014/15 season
New lodge common area – We identified that the lodge needed a bit more common area space for people to hang out in and relax, and for kids to play in. The solution has been to remove a guest room and office that was next to the bar area and turn it into a common area with TV, tables and chairs, sofas etc. This will add 20sqm of extra space as an alternative hangout away from the bar. The construction work is almost finished and we will be filling it with furniture soon. A couple of old mochi rice mortars will be turned into seats as the first piece of furniture for the space (the thing my wife Ai is sitting in). We look forward to all our guests using and enjoying this new common space.
New Kitchen for the chalet – We decided to install a new kitchen in the chalet as the old kitchen had very low benches that were pretty hard on the back and it generally not a nice place to cook in. We went for an Ikea kitchen as it was the only way to customize the space to fit everything we wanted in. Work is 75% complete now, with tiling and installing of the range hood and high cabinets remaining to be done. We are very happy with the result and hope our winter guests enjoy cooking up a storm in it.
Will put up pictures of the final results when everything is 100% done! Not long until snow starts to cover the mountains.