BREAK THE ICE
Looking for a winter vacation? LYNN WEE checks out this family-friendly resort in Sahoro, Japan.
Looking for a winter vacation? Check out this familyfriendly resort in Sahoro, Japan.
The last time I tried to ski was nine years ago, so imagine my trepidation as I started my beginners’ ski class at Club Med Sahoro Hokkaido.
But, there’s something about the holiday chain’s supportive GOs (Gentle Organisers) which made learning this challenging sport a breeze. Being able to glide down the intermediate-level slopes at the end of my twoday class is testament to that.
Perhaps it’s their patience, or the familial warmth they exude, which makes you feel at ease. They gave the warmest welcomes when we arrived, and the most sincere smiles whenever we bumped into them. After all, they are ambassadors of the club.
So, don’t be surprised if you end up having lunch with them, like we did with our ski instructor – this spirit of camaraderie epitomises the essence of the Club Med.
If you’re a more advanced skier, you’ll be pleased to know that the ski piste runs for 25km, covering 21 slopes that range from beginner to expert levels.
Best of all? It has ski-in, ski-out access, which means you can hit the slopes right from your doorstep. There’s also a gondola lift that ferries you to various courses, so you don’t have to hike up the hills with your bulky equipment and little ones in tow.
JUST FOR KIDS
What sets the resort apart is its kids’ club, which offers a myriad of child-friendly activities to keep your little ones entertained for hours.
The kids’ club is divided into four categories:
• Club Med Baby is for newborns to 23 months old (reservations required)
• Petit Club Med is for ages two to three (available at an additional cost)
• Mini Club Med is for ages four to 10
• Junior Club Med is for 11 to 17 years old
Most child guests take
skiing and snowboarding classes during the day, but if yours prefer to stay indoors, the resort also offers arts and crafts activities and ball games, Davin Edwards, manager of Club Med Sahoro’s Mini Club, shares.
Likewise, families who want to take a break from skiing can opt for outdoor activities such as horse trekking and ice shing (available at an additional cost), as well as indoor ones like squash, yoga, badminton and table tennis.
Don’t forget to pack your swimsuits, as well. There’s an indoor pool that starts from 0.6m deep, and an ofuro (Japanese public bath with sauna) where parents can bond with their brood.
And if you’re feeling adventurous, opt for a dip in the Canadian bath – an outdoor heated Jacuzzi set in a snowy eld.
We had our doubts about lounging outdoors in swimsuits at -2 deg C.
But it was worth it – the heat not only melted the cold the moment we stepped in, but our fatigue away as well. And, going by what we saw, parents might also want to let the kids have a go (pictured, top right).
FEASTING & PARTIES
Once playtime is over, head over to Daichi, the main restaurant offering an international buffet spread. There, you can expect a wide selection of delectable dishes from local dishes such as sashimi, sushi and soya-based ramen, to premium ones such as pan-seared scallops, lamb chops and beef Wellington. Plus, there are food options such as chicken karaage, fries and pasta to satiate the younger ones’ palates.
A must-try is the Hokkaido milk soft-serve ice cream, which offered a rich and creamy texture with every mouthful.
Parents with young infants will be pleased with its baby corner, as well. It has Miffy-themed plates and bowls and instant baby foods such as the Loco Moco-style stewed soya-bean hamburger steak and simmered codfish and vegetables, from Japanese brand Wakodo. They’re suitable for babies aged seven months and older.
After dinner, don’t retreat to your room just yet. Complete the night with evening shows featuring acrobatic acts and dance performances put up by the GOs, and parties at the kidfriendly Wakka bar, which serves mocktails, too. The theme varies every evening.
Families considering a ski vacation at the northernmost island of this archipelago can also look forward to the chain’s newest addition – Club Med Tomamu Hokkaido, which opens in December.
In addition to its kids’ club and family-friendly activities, it also boasts nearby attractions such as MinaMina Beach – Japan’s largest indoor wave pool – a snow marshmallow factory and an ice bar at the Ice Village (pictured above).
HOW MUCH Entertainment, meals, and activities including ski lessons and kids’ club access are covered in its all-inclusive holiday package. Rates start from $3,448 for a four-day three-night stay at Club Med Sahoro Hokkaido, for two adults and one child aged four to 12 years old. FIND OUT MORE www.clubmed.com.sg