La Vista complements the convenience and amenities of a large, centrally located hotel with the quietude of a traditional inn. With a 13th-floor rooftop hot spring looking out over Hakodate Bay, rooms that blend Japanese and Western design, and one of the best breakfasts around, the hotel is a soothing refuge for visitors who want a mix of sightseeing and relaxation.
The rooms are Western style, with beds, sofas, and desks, but the design is clearly inspired by traditional Japanese inns. Sliding doors, carpet patterns reminiscent of straw tatami mats, and dark wood accents add a simple elegance to the guest rooms. Some larger rooms even have a traditional Japanese tatami sitting area with a low table.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Although Wi-Fi is reliable in the hotel lobby area, it can be spotty in some guest rooms.
The bathrooms, with their white tiled walls and chrome shower heads, are modern and tasteful if not memorable. All rooms have showers, though some do not have bathtubs. For a long soak, the hotel hot spring is a better choice.
The interior of the hotel blends well with Hakodate’s nearby 19th century historic district. Brick walls contrast with the Japanese design of dark wood beams against white walls. There is a spacious sitting area on the first floor, but is upstaged by the view of Hakodate's city lights from the lounge outside the rooftop hot spring.
La Vista’s 13th-floor rooftop hot spring has a selection of both indoor and outdoor baths. Outside, guests can choose from a larger bath or three individual-sized ones. Thanks to a rooftop overhang, guests can enjoy the outdoor baths in any weather. Relaxing in the natural hot spring waters while watching the sunset over Hakodate Bay makes for a perfect end to a day of sightseeing, or even a break before a night out.
Featuring all-you-can-eat sashimi, grilled seafood and vegetables, and a sizeable spread of other local delicacies, La Vista has one of the most popular hotel breakfasts in Japan. For dinner, the hotel's three restaurants--Japanese, Chinese, and Mediterranean inspired European--all serve locally sourced ingredients with a strong focus on Hokkaido seafood. While not must-try destination restaurants, all serve high-quality local fare.
La Vista's 12th-floor bar is a relaxing place to take in the view of Hakodate Bay at the end of the day. The classic hotel-bar decor of black leather sofas, cream walls, and dark wood tables is relaxing if not exactly original. The decor is really just a backdrop for the nighttime view over the town and water below.
Even though the view is the bar's main attraction, there are a limited number of window seats. If you want the best view, call the hotel a few days in advance to reserve a table.
Most of the year it is a pleasant walk from the hotel to most of Hakodate's sights, dining, and nightlife. If you visit during the cold Hokkaido winter, though, you might be better off taking a taxi.
For the freshest seafood in town, head to Hakodate's morning seafood market. Uni Murakami (11-minute walk) is the best place in town to sample Hokkaido sea urchin as well as other local seafood. Or line up for one of the eight counter seats at Kamome Ramen (11-minute walk). The restaurant has been serving up steaming bowls of its original seafood miso ramen since 1971.
Bar Jey's (18-minute walk, 6-minute taxi) mixes up classy cocktails and has one of the best whiskey selections in town, including a number of hard to find bottles. Next to the hotel, the preserved Red Brick Warehouses are home to the Hakodate Beer Hall brewpub (5-minute walk) and a selection of places for a quick bite.
WHY WE LIKE IT
La Vista is right in the middle of where you want to be to see the sights of Hakodate, yet it has a quiet, relaxed feeling more common in hot-spring inns. The 13th-floor communal hot-spring baths are beautifully designed and offer an impressive view over Hakodate Bay, especially at night. Rooms are a stylish mix of Japanese and Western design, and the breakfast buffet is one of the best in all of Hokkaido.
La Vista's balance of location and comfort alone would make it an excellent mid-budget choice for a trip to Hakodate. Add in the remarkable breakfast, stylish rooms, and view of the bay from the rooftop hot spring, and it is the best hotel for the price in town.