Even as the snowflakes start to fall, adding powder to the slopes outside, Kimamaya Boutique Hotel remains toasty-warm; a cocoon upon the mountainside. Kimamaya is the Japanese word for ‘be yourself’ and here, you can do just that. Jazz music floats through the homely Living Lounge as your bare feet press against the timber flooring, and all that’s left to worry about is which wine you’ll sip as you laze by the fireplace. The vintages served here come from a vineyard owned by the family of Nicolas Gontard, who renovated this nine-room retreat to help guests get closer to the beauty of Niseko, one of Japan’s most popular ski resorts. But Kimamaya Boutique Hotel’s mountain location isn’t only appealing in winter. In the summer and fall, pristine trails and mountain biking tracks snake through the surrounding pine forests.
Hokkaido star architect Koichi Ishiguro placed special attention on using sustainable, renewable and recyclable materials, as well as the original wooden framework to retain the history of the building. The Swiss chalet style roof belies the Zen purity that awaits inside, with clean lines and a warm palette of chocolate wood, rich elm floors and black granite created by interior designer Andrew Bell. Throughout the hotel, Japanese design holds hands with Scandinavian influences, creating spaces that are soothing and simple, particularly in The Barn restaurant. In this lofty, glowing space, inspired by traditional Hokkaido farm architecture, fresh produce is served with French flare and warm hospitality.
Kimamaya Boutique Hotel proudly bears the Odin brand. Created by Nicolas Gontard and his Norwegian partners Bjorn and Chris Fjelddahl, the brand is dedicated to developing real estate and creating hospitality experiences that encompass “intelligent luxury”. But more than anything, Odin endeavors to create more of one of the most elusive currencies on earth: time.
Snowboard, ski or go hiking in one of Japan’s most popular resorts, then retreat to a homely mountain lodge where the Zen surroundings encourage you to ‘be yourself’.
Kimamaya Boutique Hotel is set in the middle of Niseko-Hirafu, Japan’s renowned ski haven on the northern island of Hokkaido. The hotel is located approx. 100 km from Chitose Airport.
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