A slice of European comfort in a welcoming, international city
City | History & culture
Hakodate – Hokkaido’s third largest city – is located on the island’s southernmost reach making it many traveller’s first impression of Japan’s second largest landmass. And, it’s quite an introduction with stunning mountain views, a pentagonal fortress and a unique culture, informed by its once-anomalous position as an international trade city. Among Buddhist temples, you’ll find churches that represent all schools of Christianity while a walk through Motomachi will bring you to grand 19th century merchant houses that bear architectural influences from as far afield as Britain, China and Russia. And Villa Concordia is well located in the thick of it, just a few minutes' walk from the ropeway that summits Mt. Hakodate for sweeping city panoramas.
The concept behind the hotel is, somewhat unsurprisingly, to foster the sense of staying in an intimate, European villa. As such, you’ll find self-catering facilities – a real rarity in Japan – complete with hobs, utensils and tableware along with comfortable living areas. There’s also a touch of Scandinavian design to be found in the angular sofas and inviting, oversized beds. Floor-to-ceiling windows look out over the city or back to the green slopes of Mt. Hakodate while Executive Rooms offer views on all but one side. Upgrade to a suite for larger space, balconies and full dining areas.
While the interiors might be Nordic, the food is resolutely French, making use of Hokkaido’s seasonal ingredients. Each morning, kitchen staff source produce from Hakodate’s seafood markets and organic vegetables from local farmers. Perhaps start the day with French toast soaked in cinnamon and vanilla bean juice before enjoying a three-course lunch of soup, veal or lobster, and something from the dessert buffet. Dinners are equally lavish as chefs mix in Japanese flavours to French classics; think salads with wasabi sauce.
While this modern hotel doesn’t feature an onsen – head further into Hokkaido for this hot spring luxury – you will be well looked after in its intimate spa. Treatments incorporate European, Chinese and Thai techniques in an excellent range of massages. And, after making use of the high speed WiFi and well-stocked wine cellar, consult the lobby for recommendations on Hakodate’s sights. Perhaps head past the suburbs on a local train for a river walk in Onuma Park where majestic forests are the foreground to gently rising peaks.
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