Having traveled to Sapporo quite a few times in the past – especially for plane spotting – I had the chance to stay at several hotels around Sapporo New Chitose airport including the ANA Crowne Plaza.
In September, I visited Sapporo for a couple of days with my girlfriend and I had a chance to try another one of them. While the first night we stayed at Nest Hotel Sapporo Ekimae in the city which offers excellent breakfast (and which I stayed at in the past as well), the second night we stayed at Hotel Route-Inn Chitose Eki-Mae since we had to catch a morning flight back to Tokyo.
Below, I’ll take a closer look at the latter.
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Getting to the Hotel
Like many other airport hotels around Sapporo New Chitose airport, Hotel Route-Inn is located in the town of Chitose, about a three-minute walk away from Chitose train station. As such, it can be easily accessed both from the airport (about 10 minutes) as well as from Sapporo city (about 40 minutes) by train.
Even though it’s an airport hotel, there is no shuttle bus operating from the airport to the hotel. However, the hotel offers a free shuttle bus to the airport in the morning with departure times at: 6:20AM, 7:10AM, 7:50AM, 8:40AM, 9:20AM, and 10:00AM. (Check the hotel’s website for the latest schedule.)
Check-in, Lobby, Dining, and Other Facilities
To the left of the entrance was the hotel’s reception desk with about a dozen sofa chairs arranged in rows of two right across from it. When we arrived at the hotel, there was a group of people sitting on the sofas waiting for the last person or two in their group to check in, and so we got our card keys in no time.
Besides the reception, the first floor was also home to a smoking room, a male public bath (the female one was on one of the higher floors), and a restaurant where the hotel’s free breakfast was served between 6:30AM and 9:00AM.
The breakfast was in the form of a buffet containing – for a Japanese business hotel – a decent selection of drinks as well as both Japanese and Western meal options.
As for the drinks, there was a selection of juices, milk, coffee, and tea. Separately, there was also a soup dispenser which included corn soup, beef consommé, and cream chowder.
As for the food, there were some salads and cold cuts, a selection of bread, as well as sausages, omelettes, etc. Then, there were fried items including chicken and squid. Finally, there were some more traditional Japanese options like grilled sanma.
While the hotel restaurant did not seem to serve dinner, that was not an issue since there was plenty of places where one could grab a bite within walking distance. The one that we went to – and that I can only recommend, especially if you are an aviation enthusiast – was Yokaro.
Going to the room, it laid out like most other business hotels in Japan such as Toyoko Inn are. Right past the entrance (in the case of our room, on the right side), there was a small “unit” bathroom with a small bathtub, a sink, and a toilet. It was equipped with Shiseido toiletries.
Then, further down the “hallway” was the main part of the room.
Vast majority of the remaining space of the room was taken up by the fairly comfortable bed. Other than that, there was a counter equipped with a TV which also served as a work desk along one of the walls. And, by the window, there were a luggage rack, a single sofa chair, and a small coffee table.
Hotel Route-Inn Chitose Eki-mae (Sapporo) Summary
Overall, the hotel met my expectations. In fact, I found it to be nicer than many other Japanese “business hotels” I stayed at in the past. The room, while small, was comfortable, and the breakfast options were fairly good. (Once again, in comparison to other business hotels.)
That said, if I was staying for more than one night and the rates were decent, I would still go for the ANA Crowne Plaza which remains my favorite hotel near Sapporo New Chitose airport.
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No, I am not going to tell you how to fly in first class and sip Dom Perignon for free…But, I am going to introduce you to a couple of ways you can experiment with to try a business class flight without having to spend thousands of dollars.