Unwind’s lodge-inspired wood and brick interior, comfortable rooms, and antique-inspired bar with rooftop balcony offer a relaxing respite from the concrete and glass of downtown Sapporo. Located down a quiet street just blocks away from the heart of Sapporo’s downtown, it is a base for exploring the sights and tastes of Sapporo that welcomes you home at the end of the day.
For a budget-friendly hotel in a Japanese city, the rooms are spacious, with most even having a sofa to relax on. The unpainted, polished wood panels and subdued earth tones give the rooms a very cozy feel and the mattresses are very comfortable.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Although the rooms are comfortable and attractive, they are still designed to be places to relax at the end of a day around town. The hotel is a place you would want to come back to at the end of a long day, not somewhere you would want to spend all day in.
Bathrooms are simple, but more spacious than most Japanese hotels in this price range. Design touches like dark faux-wood paneling, quality chrome shower heads, and large mirrors add some character to the otherwise functional bathrooms.
With its subdued brick wall, the soft glow of exposed lights from the ceiling, and firewood artfully stacked below the check-in desk, the lobby sets the carefully crafted rustic-chic atmosphere that pervades the hotel. Instead of feeling overdone, the result at Unwind is unpretentious and welcoming. While the low sofas offer a few seats, like most hotels in its class the lobby is functional—a place to pass through rather than to sit and linger.
At check-in, ask the knowledgeable staff about any local events happening during your stay. They can often point you to local places and events that tourist information centers and larger hotels would overlook.
Bar Ignis serves light food and breakfast is brought to your room. Instead of having a dedicated restaurant, Unwind encourages guests to explore Sapporo's wealth of local restaurants.
YOU SHOULD KNOW The breakfast of freshly baked bread and homemade soup delivered to your door is delicious, but light. On the other hand, that means more room to sample Sapporo specialties at lunchtime.
Unwind’s Bar Ignis is a highlight of the hotel. The interior is a beautifully designed re-imagining of a mid-century lodge bar. Inside are leather sofas and low wooden tables, thick throw rigs and parquet floors. In the corner, a brick fireplace gives off a comfortable glow. In the warmer months, step outside onto the rooftop balcony, complete with an outdoor fire pit. The bar specializes in local Hokkaido beers and wines.
Bar Ignis offers complimentary Hokkaido wine tastings for guests every evening from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Downtown Sapporo is relatively compact. Most of Sapporo’s attractions are a short walk or tram ride away. The hotel is 15 minutes from JR Sapporo Station by public transit, 10 minutes by taxi.
Unwind is close to the restaurants and bars of Susukino, Sapporo’s main nightlife district. Try Sapporo specialties like Jingisukan—mutton and vegetables grilled on a hotplate at your table--at Daruma Honten, or Sapporo soup curry at Garaku Soup Curry (both a 5-minute walk). Just a bit farther is Odori Park (15-minute walk or 7-minute subway), home to a host of events ranging from a summer beer garden and autumn food fest to the Sapporo Snow Festival. The Nijo Market (15-minute tram) has a selection of shops specializing in local seafood.
The Sapporo Beer Museum & Beer Hall (15-minute taxi), built in 1890, offers both tours and dining.
WHY WE LIKE IT
Thanks to its attention to detail in design and service, Unwind exudes a sense of at-home ease and comfort rare among budget-friendly hotels. The staff are very knowledgeable about Sapporo and can recommend restaurants and events that tourist offices or mainstream hotels often miss. Bar Ignis is a great stop before dinner or after an evening out.
The hotel is in a quiet neighborhood, but just minutes from Sapporo's busiest dining and shopping area, making it a perfect base to explore the city.
There are cheaper hotels, and there are fancier hotels, but Unwind hits the sweet spot of being an affordable place that you genuinely want to come back to at the end of the day. Thanks to the atmosphere of its bar and rooftop balcony, you just may want to come back early too.