Karuizawa is a popular summer getaway for those wishing to escape the city heat. I thought it was still pretty hot but the abundance of mountains and trees made it a very pleasant place to be hot. We tried to make our summer getaway as rural as possible without abandoning the mod cons. Striking the right balance were the Prince Hotel Cottages - large hotel facilities a short golf cart ride away but your own little wooden cabin surrounded by greenery and trees. The outlet shopping mall was an added bonus for the shopaholics among us.
Check-in is at the Prince Hotel West, one of many Prince establishments in the area. It was heaving when we got there mid-afternoon and this seemed to be the case at every other time of day we wandered through. With the formalities finished our luggage and ourselves were loaded into a large golf cart and driven to our cabin. The carts, a shuttle bus and a few hotel cars are the only motor vehicles around so it is a great place for young kids to charge around without the fear of traffic. On the way we passed an abundance of tennis courts, golf courses, a rental bike shop and the kids’ zone, WakuWakuLand.
Our cabin was very comfortable. Two bedrooms on either side of a shared sitting room with kitchenette. Eight beds in all, with three in each room and two sofa beds in the main room. Our cottage backed out onto the ski resort and had views of the golf course, mountains and lots of other cabins.
The kids had a ball. WakuWakuLand was a big hit with a huge inflatable slide, an inflatable obstacle course and a large bouncy castle, as well as lots of strange bicycles, tricycles and carts to play on. They also rented a paddling pool in front of the cabin for a day and spent lots of time playing table tennis. Everything comes at a price but that is to be expected at such a resort. The adults were well catered to as well with shuttle buses to the Outlet Shopping Center, Karuizawa town and the spa complex.
Most of the cabins are a fair way from the hotel, so if you don’t like walking you will end up using the bus or phoning up for a cart to come to pick you up. Food can be ordered in or you can eat at the hotel. The kitchenette is little more than a sink and a hot water pot with a few plates and glasses.
The Prince Hotel Cottages are a great option for those looking to be close to nature but are horrified by roughing it.