Club Med Tomamu is currently the best family resort in Hokkaido. It has many winter activities including skiing, snowboarding and snow trekking. Hokkaido reportedly has the best powder snow in Japan.
WINTER ACTIVITIES IN HOKKAIDO
Last winter, we decided to officially join the Club Med family by signing up for a week of fun winter activities. I was pensive during the 90-minute ride on the Club Med shuttle from Shin Chitose International airport to Club Med Tomamu.
This was our very first Club Med experience. I don’t sing songs around a campfire or enjoy group lessons. And I prefer room service to big breakfast buffets. Of course I wondered if Club Med would be a good fit for me. But my daughter wanted to learn how to snowboard so we went on our way. You can also learn more about snow bindings.
Loud pop music was playing when our bus entered the driveway. Happy people stood in the cold to greet us, clapping their hands enthusiastically as they sang. Each of them singled out a group of guests. Our “welcoming committee” was a young man who gave us the low-down on the 145-hectare Club Med Tomamu resort complex.
THE CLUB MED EXPERIENCE
There’s a system for everything at Club Med, you see. There’s even one for signing up for ski lessons. You must register for each lesson during a two-hour window the night before.
There’s also a system for borrowing equipment; and still another for eating at Hakku, the specialty yakiniku restaurant of Club Med. Booking a table at Hakku is on a first-come, first-served basis via a sign-up paper in the lobby.
When I first arrived, I honestly thought I would never get all the times and procedures right. But by the second day, I was a pro at booking the whole family’s ski lessons and ski equipment. Eventually I even managed to get us a table at Hakku for our last evening.
DINING OPTIONS AT CLUB MED
Then, of course, there’s Itara, the main restaurant of Club Med Tomamu with three buffet spreads everyday. Itara is a large venue with four dining areas, and this is the daily source of nourishment at Club Med Tomamu.
Itara certainly turned out to be a happy surprise for a picky eater like me. The menu varied for each meal. And chefs who prepared the food a la minute to ensure freshness staffed most of the stations. The food was so good we often went back for seconds.
DELICIOUS JAPANESE FOOD IN HOKKAIDO
The biggest surprise was the their Japanese food station. I didn’t expect a resort run by an international hospitality chain to serve delicious Japanese food. But their local dishes all passed our tests. The tonkatsu was crispy on the outside and moist inside. Meanwhile the tendon had perfectly fried tempura and excellent dashi. There was even a special rice cooker for Japanese rice.
Wine and other drinks are part of the package, too, with an option for guided whisky and sake tastings.
COLORFUL AND VIBRANT DESIGNS AT A LUXURY FAMILY RESORT
Meanwhile, the accommodations at this family resort were designed by French architect and designer Jean Philippe Nuel reminded me of a luxury camp. The contemporary interiors are bright and tasteful, with comfortable furniture that can withstand rough and tumble.
But it also had nice accents like photos of nature in Hokkaido on its brightly colored walls. The spacious deluxe family rooms, with a master bedroom and an adjoining twin bedroom, are among the best accommodations in these parts. The big bathrooms (by Japanese standards) are a plus for families.
The highlight of a stay at Club Med Tomamu is the outdoor winter activities. These are considered the best winter activities in Hokkaido. Tomamu boasts of some of the best powder snow in Asia, so guests come here for group lessons and snow activities. These are already part of the stay package so you can check out the daily schedule and join as many as you wish. The list of lessons is as long as a menu, and there’s a smiling instructor for every level.
My husband tried his hand at snowboarding, while, my daughter signed up for snowboarding for children at the beginner’s level. She was lucky to be the only student in the scheduled class for three days running, making it more like private lessons.
Meanwhile, I joined a small group to hike around the surrounding forests with snow shoes. It took a while to adjust to the clumsy shoes, but eventually I got the hang of it and enjoyed the scenery of picturesque birch tree forests.
The resort also offers indoor activities. I went to yoga at the gym every afternoon. Walking between our room, the restaurant, and the ski center was more than enough to keep the calories off, actually. But if I wanted to indulge in more serious fitness activities, I could avail of the all-day cardio and body toning classes.
DANCING IN HOKKAIDO
Club Med Tomamu is one big happy place. Even if you’re not the smiling type, the all-around enthusiasm of the team is infectious. Unused to touchy-feely group dynamics, I stayed glued to my seat during the variety show on the first night, gawking at the people onstage who were singing and dancing with gusto and glancing at my watch every few minutes, conscious of bedtime.
But by midweek, we’d made friends with a family from Hong Kong and we were all up front dancing to “Can’t Stop the Feeling” by Justin Timberlake. At the end of that evening and two conga lines later, it was close to midnight but it wasn’t my watch I was checking; it was my Fitbit. I’d clocked in 16,000 steps on my Fitbit and I wasn’t ready to go to bed yet. In fact, I felt ever so fine and alive, ready to book my next holiday with Club Med.
Read more about winter activities at the best family resort in Hokkaido in Travelife Magazine.