Exactly how many people can squeeze into one chalet? How about one bunk room at a backpackers?
Turns out in Niseko the rules are pretty strict – local fire regulations mean every room on every floor of every building has to be checked and given permission from the fire authority to have a certain number of guests stay. Only so many people can sleep on any floor and in any room, and accommodation providers run the risk of losing their innkeeper license if they let you stay with any more.
As a rule of thumb, larger apartments often have room for an extra guest where smaller ones might not. It can be tricky if you’re booking for a big group with people dropping in and out, but if you’re sure of the number there are great lodge and chalet options for big groups that can get you just what you need.
Here are some hints as to find the right space for your group:
Occupancy, max occupancy
Every hotel room, chalet, apartment and lodge you see listed will give you two numbers.
The “Occupancy” is how many people the room was made for, how many people can comfortably sleep there. This usually (but not always) matches the number of beds. If your group is larger than this number, expect to pay for extra bedding to accommodate everyone.
The “Maximum occupancy” is the maximum possible number of guests that can sleep in that apartment before things get either super-uncomfortable, unsafe or illegal. If your group turns out to be larger than this number you may just be turned away or asked to upgrade to another room.
In Niseko, should you want to fit extra people into your accommodation for rooms where it’s allowed, the provider will arrange extra bedding, usually for a fee of ¥3000 – ¥5000 per person per night. Beware, this usually applies for all the nights of your stay, even if your cousin is only staying for half the time!
What counts as a person?
Maids, children, adults, your mate’s annoying college buddies that tagged along at the last minute – every human being counts! Most properties in Japan will require you to either list every member of your travelling party by hand when you fill in your registration paperwork, or collect a passport photocopy / ID copy of every guest in the group, or both.
If you are travelling with children or helpers, important details to check when you book are:
- How old children can be before the property counts them as adults (often children aged 6 and above)
- Whether the property counts children towards the maximum occupancy (some do and some don’t!)
- Whether younger children cost extra – many places will let children under 5 or 6 stay for free so long as no extra bedding is required
- If baby cots, high chairs and stair gates are available, they are usually available for a flat fee and require pre-booking.
And what if we show up with more people than we booked for?
Properties are legally obliged to turn people away when they arrive with more than they booked for. Some properties will be able to find you alternative accommodation at your own expense. Others will turn you away, forfeiting the price of the stay.
In the event of a fire, the management will need to tell the fire authorities at the time of first alarm how many people are on each floor and whether they have all been accounted for – so that magic number of “people” on your booking, as well as your passport and check in details, will be vital to making sure you are safe and accounted for in case of any emergencies.
Short answer, don’t do it! Niseko snow may be fluffy and soft but it’s not a great place to sleep! Make sure you’re clear with the accommodation about how many people are coming to stay, or it could be trouble for everyone involved. Or be prepared for a sudden upgrade, with extra charges.
Never fear though! With so many options in Niseko there’s always a bed somewhere, so if a few last minute stragglers suddenly double the size of your group we can easily arrange some beds for them somewhere!
Get to know your
Most accommodation in Niseko features Western bedding. Mattresses, blankets, the works! Kozue’s King Double beds give you lots of room to stretch out.
Traditional Japanese futon mattresses are thick and soft with no springs. They are usually spread out on traditional Japanese flooring – “tatami” flooring pads made out of woven straw. The floor is soft (and smells grassy!) but no springs means you will feel the floor more than in a western bed. This example from Ebina Lodge also features traditional decorative nooks in the walls!
Some properties will have rooms with bunk beds. They’re usually short single mattresses, around 200x110cm in total, and sometimes recommended for children only. This neat exception at Kitadori opens out onto a dedicated kids playroom and features double mattresses for every bunk!
Some Bedroom Inspirations!
How big are the beds?
Here is an interesting point. Japanese standard bed sizes are smaller than bed sizes in Australia, which are smaller than those in the US of A. If the size of the bed concerns you, there are precise CM measurements out there that we can find for you.
So who’s sleeping with whom?
We really don’t mean to be nosy, but most properties maximise flexibility for their guests by offering either a double or two singles in each bedroom. For rooms where you’re given the choice between two single beds and one king or queen double, the double will be two singles pushed together, with mattress covers and sheeting applied to both.
They’ll ask you to confirm the bedding arrangements a few weeks before it’s time to go and they may charge extra to change at the last minute, so best to let them know how you want your beds as soon as you know.
When in doubt, ask! As a rule, older budget properties and apartments with smaller square metrage will have smaller beds, but it never hurts to check.
So your group hits that sweet spot with one extra happy to sleep on the couch! Each property will have some set options for where extra guests can sleep. The extra bedding can be:
- Japanese style Futon: A soft mattress to be spread out, usually on the floor but sometimes on the sofa. Sheets, blanket & pillow are also provided. The futon mattress has no springs or supports, so you can usually feel the floor / surface underneath a little bit. Some companies will provide the extra futon laid out on the floor, some on the sofa, some will provide all the pieces for you to fold out where you find is most comfortable for your group.
- Sofa beds: Some properties have an extra bed hidden away inside the sofa. When you book for that extra guest this sofa will be opened up for you with sheets, pillows, blankets etc all set up for a good night’s sleep. Sofa beds often have canvas / material bases so you’ll have a little more support than a futon mattress. There are single and double sofa beds out there.
- Murphy Beds: beds that are built into the shelving/furniture and fold out when you pull the handle! These neat beds usually have spring mattress support.
- Other…? Some properties have more beds than their “occupancy” numbers suggest. In these properties it is a tight squeeze to fit adults in every bed – bunk beds in particular don’t always get listed as “one guest in every bunk” for the standard group size.
That’s so much to know… what do I do?
There’s a lot to keep in mind and as many bedroom options and styles as there are lodgings in a ski town (hint, lots!)
All you need to do to make sure you’re in the right place is:
- Be sure of just how many are in your group
- Get the ages for all children in the group
- Imagine how you’d like to share space. All families close together? Separate apartments, or one sprawling house?
- Get in touch with us with your dates, budget and the kind of stay you’re imagining – we’ll give you a list of options!
- If your group change size after you’ve booked, get in touch ASAP and we can secure additional beds or rooms for you as needed.