Wednesday, October 31, 2018

The Lake View Toya Nonokaze Resort (Lake Toya, JAPAN)

I thought it was going to be a walk in the park but check-in took a little more than half an hour to complete. But the good news was that everybody seemed to be happy with the contemporary décor of The Lake View Toya Nonokaze Resort (洞爺湖景乃之風溫泉度假酒店) so at least I wasn't going to get grilled for not picking Windsor Hotel Toya.

As its name also suggested, it is a lake side resort hotel right by Lake Toya with both public and private onsen. 

The view from the hotel lobby was pretty amazing. I couldn't wait to check out what the view's going to be like from our rooms. 

We skipped Mount Yōtei (羊蹄山) during our stay in Niseko so it was nice to get a clear view of the active stratovolcano from the lobby.

Our rooms were right down the end of the corridor.

I thought the room looked much bigger and brighter than what's shown on those hotel booking website. Perhaps they should consider hiring me for their next photo-taking session!

Traditional western-style room with your typical Japanese twist, a lot of wood and lantern style lamps. I thought a little better (and newer) than what I've expected.

The bathroom was a little small though.

Even smaller was the shower area. I could hardly squeeze in for a photo.

To the contrary, the toilet was pretty spacious. And you got to love Japanese's hygiene habits. A special pair of slippers just for the toilet!

Toyako Onsen Tourist Association has put together various events for their annual Toyako Onsen Winter Festival. For the entire month of October, they would have firework displays lighting up the skies above Lake Toya every night at 8:45PM. Tonight was supposed to be the last night so we all finished our dinner buffet a little earlier to get ourselves ready.

It's my little nugget's first time watching firework shows live and his first reaction.....

Toyako Onsen Winter Festival - lake side firework show seen from The Lake View Toya Nonokaze Resort

LOUD! But I think he's the only one who didn't enjoy the show.

Toyako Onsen Winter Festival - lake side firework show seen from The Lake View Toya Nonokaze Resort

The next morning, I found myself awaken in front of this amazing Lake Toya view. I could really get used to this every morning.

Back to the hotel's "backyard" we go, it's where we watched the fireworks last night. Of course, we had to take a few photos standing next to the "Lake Toya" sign.

Apart from the onsen on the second and eighth floor, the hotel also offers other facilities to make everybody's stay more enjoyable. For example, their "Select 108" shop offering some of the finest souvenirs available in Hokkaido.  

There's a bakery cafe at Select 108 if you're looking for some freshly made bread and pastries. Both dine-in and take-out options are available.


And for smokers, a special booth on selected floors for your convenience.

I think every onsen hotel on Tōyakoonsen offers complimentary breakfast and dinner. The Lake View Toya Nonokaze Resort is no exception and they have a really good breakfast and dinner buffet here at their only restaurant, nami-no-oto (波の音). For details, please check out my review here.

Rating: ❤❤❤❤
Price: ¥¥¥
Address: 29-1 Tōyakoonsen, Toyako-cho, Abuta-gun, Hokkaido, 049-5721, Japan
Tel: +81 570-026-571

Lake Hill Farm (Lake Toya, JAPAN) ★★★☆☆

We decided to make just one more stop before we drove down to The Lake View Toya Nonokaze Resort where we would be spending the next two nights.

It's a place that will give my little nugget a smile on his face. 

Opened in 1992, Lake Hill Farm (レークヒル・ファーム) is just around a 5-minute drive from Windsor Hotel Toya.

At Forum A, they have a small farm-to-table dessert café offering their famous choux pastry, milk pudding and cheesecake.

Their milk pudding is freshly made with the milk harvested at their farm right next door.

Same goes for their cheesecake.

Before we started our afternoon tea session, my little one and I spent some time checking out different animals on the farm. It's not a petting zoo but many of the visitors here did bring their kids out to get a closer look at these animals which I was sure they knew quite well from their story books (but not so much in real life).

It's always nice to meet some new friends. Say hi to Yuki, my little one's newest friend!

After getting to know the different animals on the farm, we headed back inside the café for some sweet treats.

We first started from Forum A by checking their cheesecake and milk pudding off the list.

Cheesecake (390 yen) - Very light and airy. The base was a layer of crunchy crumbs providing the cheesecake some extra bite. Not bad. 

Milk Pudding (280 yen) - Really rich flavored with a hint of vanilla.

There's a bit of caramel sauce on the bottom there, making this a lot like a creme brulee. But a pretty soft and delicious one.

Of course, we didn't miss their highly regarded gelato in Forum B. After all, it's why we drove down the hilly road from Windsor Hotel to here in the first place.

Here they have a great view of the courtyard.

Obviously, they were no one-trick pony. I thought they were only going to offer their patented Hokkaido milk and cream gelato here but turned out there were 21 other flavors to choose from!

As much as I would like to check out some local flavors (such as Lake Toya blue salt, kidney beans etc.), I ended up going with their Hokkaido milk and cream and sweet corn instead (420 yen).

It had really rich milk flavor but the texture was a little bit powdery.

It was nice to squeeze in some farm activities for our little nugget. Now we better drive a lot faster to catch some daylight before sunset.

Note: Please note the following opening hours of Lake Hill Farm
            Winter 9AM - 5PM (October ~ Late April)
            Summer 9AM - 7PM (Late April - September)

Food Rating: 5.5/10
Price: ¥¥
Address: 127 Hanawa, Toyako-cho, Abuta-gun, Hokkaido, 049-5724, Japan
Tel: +81 142-83-3376

Patisserie Windsor (Lake Toya, JAPAN) ★★★☆☆

Windsor Hotel Toya is a really impressive hotel that caught me by pleasant surprise. Apart from the offering of nine restaurants for us to choose from, they also have a French patisserie and boulangerie for those who're looking for more than just lunch or dinner.

I was told Patisserie Windsor, the hotel's French patisserie, is currently supported by Michel Belin, a very respected and of course, talented chocolatier and patissier working out of Albi, a small town in southern France just northeast of Toulouse. He's a member of Relais Desserts, the prestigious organization for world-class chocolatiers and patissiers so he's no slouch.

Chef Belin does have two shops in Nagoya and looks like he's ready to expand his horizon in the Land of the Rising Sun.

I only had a scoop of green tea ice-cream for dessert just now so I knew my sweet tooth wouldn't mind a little more dessert from here.

Passion Coco (610 yen) - I didn't find this petit gateau from Michel Belin's official website so it could be one from the local team.

On top of the cake was a coconut macaron giving it some really nice crunchiness.

Strangely enough, I thought the cake also tasted a little like a macaron. This was pretty decent with the passion fruit mousse, vanilla and coconut flakes working reasonably well together.

Soleillade (560 yen) - It tasted a little like bread pudding on the outside with two layers of custard cream sandwiched in the middle. Personally, when it comes to pastries, I'd much prefer something fruity, rich (like chocolate, caramel) or nutty (like hazelnut). Obviously, it didn't fall under any of those categories. But if you're a sucker for creamy desserts, this may just be the one for you!

All of us didn't want to leave Windsor Hotel Toya because we knew we could all sit here and admire the lake view all afternoon.

But it was starting to get a little dark so time to head to our hotel (luckily just 20 minutes away).

Food Rating: 5.5/10
Price: ¥¥¥¥
Address: G/F The Windsor Hotel Toya, 336 Shimizu, Toyako-cho, Abuta-gun, Hokkaido, 049-5722, Japan
Tel: +81 120-290-500

Toji Sanka 杜氏贊歌 at Windsor Hotel Toya (Lake Toya, JAPAN) ★★★★☆

We were all a little saddened to leave Niseko after a wonderful stay at Seshu (雪舟) but at the same time, were excited about what's in store for us in Lake Toya. It's about an hour and a half drive from Niseko to Lake Toya but first, we had an appointment at Toji Sanka (杜氏贊歌), a Japanese restaurant at Windsor Hotel Toya known to have one of the most stunning views of Lake Toya from up close.

Windsor Hotel Toya is arguably the most luxurious hotel in the area. Apart from its world-class accommodation, it also welcomes customers with nine different restaurants ranging from casual to fine dining establishments (Japanese, Chinese, French, Grill house etc.). My first choice was obviously their fine-dining French restaurant Michel Bras Toya but unfortunately, due to its fall closure (for lunch service), we had to settle for something a little more casual in Toji Sanka (杜氏贊歌).

This was exactly what we came here for - the jaw-dropping view of Lake Toya! It almost looked like Nakajima Island was right underneath our feet!

My hands were getting so tired from taking photos from all the different angles but I ain't complaining.

Almost every table here has a nice lake view thanks to the ceiling-to-floor windows.

Just when some of us were still working on our photos, the weather started getting foggy and the lake view disappeared. 

Toji Sanka offers two set menu and a limited a la carte menu during lunch service. The first set came with some sushi, tempura, oden and steamed rice with fresh salmon roes (3,500 yen).

Toji Sanka (杜氏贊歌), Windsor Hotel Toya - Set Lunch Menu

The second set was more or less the same but served with a cold soba (3,500 yen).

Toji Sanka (杜氏贊歌), Windsor Hotel Toya - Set Lunch Menu

Jelloman had the soba set and she said it was pretty decent.

It was pretty chilly today so I went with some soul-warming steamed rice with fresh salmon roes. 

I thought the sushi was pretty average (I don't like the fact that they sliced the fish way too thin). 

The bean curd ball served with a warm broth was pretty tasty.

Can they squeeze a little more tempura into there?

The grilled salmon was quite nice. My little nugget loves it~

The Grilled fish of the day (from the a la carte menu) was cod and this was much less successful than the grilled salmon we had just now. And what happened to the tiny portion there? I could easily finish it in one or two bites. Definitely not worth 1,700 yen if you ask me.

Each set came with its own ice-cream as dessert. Mine was a scoop of green tea ice-cream.

They have an observation deck just outside the hotel lobby where you can admire the lake view as well.

Look at the autumn leaves around the lake. Amazing~

I could get used to this gorgeous lake view.

Food Rating: 5/10
Price: ¥¥¥
Address: 11/F The Windsor Hotel Toya, 336 Shimizu, Toyako-cho, Abuta-gun, Hokkaido, 049-5722, Japan
Tel: +81 142-73-1111