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A Medieval (sort of) Hotel in Nagano

The check-in counter

The check-in counter

Traumerei Hotel, obviously named after Schumann’s famous piano piece, is a resort hotel located in Hakuba, Nagano Prefecture. It is a short drive from Karuizawa, that famed summer resort area of Japan. We arrived there in the middle of summer but it rained and rained that day (and the next). Fortunately, the wonderful dinner and relaxing bath made it all worth it.

The hotel, which seemed to have been built in the middle of a picturesque forest, looked like a large medieval house from a beautiful province that straddles the border between Germany and France (think Alsace). The building has an Old World atmosphere, with its darkly stained half-timber frame and white stucco walls.

The interiors carry this European look, with dark antique furniture, rusty wall sconces, and Art Nouveau lamps. Even the hotel staff was dressed in a simplified ‘French maid’ outfit.

The room we were appointed to had a very high ceiling, maybe around four meters. It had dark wainscoting and matching furniture, with floral wallpaper and soft furnishings in tea rose pink and cream.

Complimentary coffee and cake

Complimentary coffee and cake

A welcome drink of coffee and home-made cheesecake were set on the breakfast counter, and after having our fill and making ourselves comfortable we decided to soak in the outdoor bath before dinner.

With beige marble walls and stone tiles, the warm bath and view of the surrounding greenery was relaxing. If it weren’t raining we would have enjoyed sitting by the open-top terrace as well.

Dinner was served in a dining hall that we had all to ourselves–it was a Friday evening but curiously, we were the only guests that night. This was unfortunate because Traumerei served a most delicious French dinner.

I do not have the linguistic facility to describe gourmet meals, but the dinner itself was worth the long drive under the pouring rain.

The dining hall

The dining hall

According to the hotel brochure, the cooking staff had trained under a famous French chef. Their good training was evident from the L’Entree to the Le Cafe. We enjoyed every morsel, and were wondering why there weren’t more guests for dinner since the hotel restaurant was open to the public. It must have been all that rain!

The following day we had breakfast served in our room–again, if it weren’t raining we could have had it on the garden outside. Still, the home-baked bread was quite delicious.

Except for a mysterious insect in the hallway that scared the life out of me, and the one hotel receptionist oversleeping and thus making us wait and wait for our key to the outside bath in the morning, I would have been highly satisfied. But despite these pet peeves, we very much enjoyed our stay. The hotel atmosphere was sweet, romantic and charming, though people who prefer shiny new boutique hotels would probably be uncomfortable with the rustic feel and dimly lit halls. For me, I quite enjoyed the French provincial-medieval theme. The meals themselves were worth every penny. I would certainly recommend Traumerei Hotel at Hakuba to anyone wanting to “get away from it all” but still be a few hours’ drive away from Tokyo!

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External Link

Traumerei Hotel in Hakuba – official site

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