October 9, 2019
Skye Niseko in the “Aspen of Asia”
The perfect fusion of alpine and architecture
Deep within the snowy folds of Hokkaido’s picturesque Hirafu Resort area lies the luxurious ski-in ski-out resort of Skye Niseko. Perched on an incline, the resort takes full advantage of its spectacular snow-capped surroundings and is one of the few resorts in the area to feature an uninterrupted view of Mount Yotei. Niseko experienced an influx in both domestic and overseas tourists during the 2000s and began to be likened to other popular ski destinations, eventually earning the nickname “Aspen of Asia.”
The resort, which is comprised of two interlocking “L” shaped buildings, features 105 premium apartments inclusive of five spectacular penthouses, a restaurant, ski-in and ski-out concierge facilities and a contemporary interpretation of the traditional Japanese onsen (hot spring). This grand project is the result of over eight years of extensive planning. Many world-renowned architectural firms were involved in the design concepts of Skye Niseko, with Australia’s pre-eminent architectural and design studio Architectus producing the finalized design. The structure incorporates industrial and organic materials to achieve a dramatic juxtaposition between the building and the alpine environment. The complex is connected underground, which ensures that all rooms have an unobstructed view of the surrounding landscape. The resort also features an optimally located ski valet with ski-in/ski-out access that is unmatched anywhere else in Hirafu.
Architectus Design Principal Luke Johnson shared some insight into the structural layout and features of the hotel, stating that, “our aim with Skye Niseko was to embed it into the surrounding landscape. We wanted to create meaningful conditions and experiences that heighten people’s engagement with what is particular and unique about this context.” With the majority of their projects being brought to life in their native Australia and close neighbor, New Zealand, Skye Niseko is one of the studio’s most ambitious projects yet. The interiors, designed by Pike Withers and Wilson Associates, are warm and engaging, made from elegant, durable and locally sourced materials selected to withstand the extreme winters, including Japanese ceramic tiles and sustainably harvested timbers. Local Hokkaido culture is brought to the foreground by an integration of art, textiles, furniture and crafts throughout the interior.
“The interior design is all about warmth. It’s about providing a cocoon that is engaging and ultimately makes people feel good about being there,” says Johnson.
The resort recently experienced its first major milestone, celebrating one year of welcoming ski guests. It’s not just in winter that people flock to the hotel, the rising getaway destination is open all year-round. Once the snow melts and Hokkaido’s warmer months set in, the winter landscape gives way to a sprawling green vista, allowing the resort patrons to enjoy picturesque scenery, no matter the season. A balanced combination of nature and splendor, Skye Niseko encapsulates the raw beauty of Hokkaido’s pristine ski region.
204-7 Aza Yamada
Kutchan-cho, Abuta-gun, Hokkaido