Skye Niseko is a ski-in ski-out luxury condo-apartment hotel situated at the top of the main street, Hirafu-zaka, in Niseko Grand Hirafu.
What is Skye Niseko?
Completed in 2018, Skye Niseko contains 105 units over six storeys ranging from studios through to 4 Bedroom Penthouses, shared and private onsen for the use of hotel guests, a 24-hour gym, in-lobby restaurant (Kumo Restaurant), ground floor café deli, a ski valet and rental store on site (operated by YamaSport) and, Ryko Spa, a spa and beauty treatment salon which includes Hokkaido’s only float tank.
The Team Behind The Hotel
Skye Niseko was designed by Luke Johnson of Australian architecture firm, Architectus, with local assistance from ISA Architects. Interior design was done in consultation with Pike Withers for standard residential units and Wilson Associates for common spaces and penthouses. In a 2019 interview, Johnson described Skye Niseko as “a contemporary hotel design with a distinct Japanese flavour, a global hotel with an ‘umami’ to it”.
Summit Developments were the developer behind the original project. Niseko Realty were the lead sales agent for initial sales with many other agencies representing on the buyer side. These two businesses are again in partnership in Niseko, with the Drift Niseko onsen estate development nearing completion in Kabayama, just west of Hirafu.
The property is managed by Hokkaido Tourism Management (HTM). HTM also operate GoSnow, YamaSport, Sky Express and other hospitality businesses, making for a seamless experience when booking multiple guest services within your holiday.
Successes So Far
Skye Niseko swiftly sold all units, its ski-in ski-out location and eye-catching design capturing the imaginations of many on and off-shore investors who bought off-the-plan.
The hotel opened successfully in 2018/19, achieving success at the World Ski Awards with a Top 3 Finish in the ‘World’s Best New Ski Hotel’ category. Occupancy was strong during that season and began strongly again in 2019/20 before the COVID impact took hold.
Given its location and size, Skye Niseko has had the ability to heavily dictate the holiday accommodation price point across the Hirafu market during this time of lower demand in the resort. Thus, the hotel has seemingly weathered the COVID storm quite well with a fairly aggressive pricing strategy leading to reasonable domestic occupancy levels throughout 2020/21. Obviously significantly down on previous seasons, but solid by comparison to many other hotels and lodges.
What People Love
As far as access to Niseko’s famous snow goes, Skye Niseko is as good as it gets. The ski out exit from the ski valet takes you directly to the bottom of the King Pair chair with a short ski required to the Gondola base or a walk across the road to the Ace Quad.
The views of Mt Yotei from the higher floors on the Yotei facing side of the building are unmatched in Hirafu. Floor to ceiling windows reveal a completely unobstructed view which is protected in future too.
The interior design of the hotel is very impressive. Units are spacious, furniture is stylish and appointments are very high quality.
Shared hotel amenities are good and integration of services is generally well managed owing to the restaurant, ski school, rental store and airport transfer service being operated by the same management company who runs the hotel.
What People Don't LIke
Some reviews have suggested that the location is a little inconvenient for access to restaurants and bars in other parts of Hirafu. The hotel is at the top of the main road so is a few minutes away from the Hirafu intersection, however a complementary shuttle bus for hotel guests and restaurant patrons does run, so getting around is still quite easy.
The ski-in ski-out entry/exit is not perfect for first time skiers who prefer to take advantage of the shuttle bus to take them to the beginner area.
While most units have spectacular views either toward Mt Yotei or toward the ski hill, some units on the lower floors on the ski resort side of the building face directly into a snow bank with limited views out.
Needless to say, capital value in the land and property will almost certainly continue to rise, particularly when the international tourist market returns. And holiday-maker rental yields, while never certain, can be fairly confidently expected given the hotel's proven popularity.
Niseko Real Estate and Niseko Realty are listing available Skye Niseko units right now.
Other units have already exchanged hands with original owners swiftly making a profit on their pre-opening investments.
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