My companions and I (a group of 6) initially booked the Ikigai apartment through Airbnb not knowing it was managed by Holiday Niseko. Leading up to the stay, we also booked snowsport equipment through Holiday Niseko as they offered discounted rentals and everything seemed fine. During our 8 night stay, the house was comfortable. We genuinely had a positive experience as the host/Holiday Niseko responded quickly to our queries and requests both in person and via email. At no point during the trip did I receive any impression that Holiday Niseko had any issues with our correspondence.
However, at the end of the trip, Holiday Niseko wrote a negative review on my Airbnb profile with the following comments:
"Dylan and his group were very nice and left the house tidy. However, we would recommend that they stay in hotels with full service front desk and concierge services. We are always happy to help our guests with requests but the amount of daily correspondence Dylan and his group required we feel was excessive."
Given the feedback by Holiday Niseko, I would like to set out the circumstances behind their perception of “excessive correspondence” and caution any future travellers not to stay with any properties managed by Holiday Niseko should you feel any of the below may plausibly happen to you:
• Passenger pick ups/drop offs. We requested for Holiday Niseko drivers to pick up/drop off two of our guests at locations near Ikigai (about 5 mins’ drive away) as they were leaving Niseko earlier. This request was made as Holiday Niseko “warmly” told us that they could of course do so and had hired drivers for this purpose.
• Wrong bedding configuration. Holiday Niseko asked us for our bedding preference in advance (a queen bed in the largest room), but we realised on arrival that they had provided the wrong configuration with two single beds. Upon being notified, Holiday Niseko answered that there was a mistake by their cleaner and offered to change it back. Given that we wanted to settle down after a long day of travel, we informed them that it was unnecessary.
• Provision of basic housing tools. We asked for housing tools including a toilet plunger and a snow shovel as these basic amenities were not provided in the house. Given that we stayed 8 nights at Ikigai, such amenities were necessary for our stay.
• Stuck van sliding door. Ikigai came with a 4-wheel drive van. On the second day, the sliding door could not be opened. After searching for numerous solutions online and attempting them to no avail, we finally asked Holiday Niseko for advice on how to open the sliding door having not faced such an issue before. Despite their advice, the sliding door could not be opened. In the end, Holiday Niseko sent a driver to fix the door.
• Provision of wrong equipment rental information. When one of our guests rented snowboarding equipment through Holiday Niseko (who offered this service through a partnership with equipment store Larry Adler Rent-a-Ski), he was informed that Larry Adler did not provide wrist guards and thus rented them from another equipment provider through Holiday Niseko. When he went to collect his snowboard equipment, he was told by the staff at Larry Adler that the wrist guards were included for free with the rental package. The Larry Adler staff was surprised at this miscommunication and that Holiday Niseko was not aware of this especially given their partnership. Larry Adler’s staff kindly offered to write an email to Holiday Niseko for the refund on behalf of my guest. Despite that, my guest had to email Holiday Niseko again, before they eventually refunded him.
• Waxing services. Upon our initial arrival at the Holiday Niseko reception, we were advised that there were drivers who could apply performance wax on our snowboards for a fee, to which we accepted. When we had concluded our stay in Niseko, we enquired if any of these drivers could similarly help to apply storage wax on our boards for a fee, to which Ashley the host advised us to seek these services from nearby shops instead.
• Incorrect location information. Holiday Niseko requires guests to return the van (if used) with a full tank of diesel. This is a reasonable request and so we naturally enquired for details on the nearest petrol stations. We also found out later that Ikigai’s address was incorrectly stated on Airbnb (Kutchan-chō, Hokkaidō 044-0078, Japan) and requested for the correct address (59-106 Aza-Kabayama Kutchan-chō, Hokkaidō 044-0078, Japan) for our hired driver to send us to the airport on time.
• Help requested due to power outage and the van being stuck in the driveway. During the last 2 days of our stay, there was a blizzard, which prevented us from driving the van out due to the heavy snowfall the night before. We tried to dig the snow around the van for an hour before asking for help from Holiday Niseko. To make things worse, the power tripped and we needed help to find the circuit box (this information was not provided in the welcome booklet). Eventually, Holiday Niseko sent a driver who helped resolve the power outage and got our van out of the drive way.
If these scenarios seem unlikely to happen to you and your guests and that you are unlikely to make a combination of the requests above, it is clear that Holiday Niseko will welcome you with open arms.
If not, please avoid Ikigai/Holiday Niseko as our experience shows that Holiday Niseko will not mention that correspondence around these requests is excessive during your stay. Instead, they will wait for your stay to be over and before leaving a negative review on your profile, especially if you book it through Airbnb.
Despite the above negative experiences and hiccups mentioned above, we were happy to recommend Ikigai given Holiday Niseko’s prompt and helpful responses. However, after receiving such feedback – with no opportunity to respond and clarify – we would like to revise our opinion and urge travellers not to stay at any Holiday Niseko properties lest you receive similarly back-handed treatment that leave us questioning if Holiday Niseko’s hospitality was at best misleading or at worst a deceptive facade.
My 6th visit at Niseko during New Year. I used to stay in a condo and a house. This place is nice and new, a bit off the town centre but it’s a short drive away.
The car provided is a 9 seater car, a little hard to handle compare to smaller van especially in a snowy weather. We have a problem getting the car into the garage sometimes.
The house is big compare to other 3 bedroom house, the bedroom are small/same size as smaller house but the living area is big. There’s no dry room, the ski rack are at the entrance. The laundry room aren’t warm and dry. I had to open the door to get heat from outside laundry room.
We had a nice stay except the water problem. The water stop “mid shower” 3 times for me, and to others as well. Contacted the company and they said it’s water pressure problem and the water company would fix it. It took 2-3 days, they informed me that it’s fixed. But the problem persist. It’s very bad when the water stopped when you take a shower, and it’s very cold too. It usually take 3-5 mins until the water is back. I am not sure what’s the problem, we did inform the company again but didn’t hear back from them. We stayed for 10 nights and this happened everyday, a few times a day, we stayed home at night time only.