There are a lot of hotels right in the heart of Sapporo, and most of them are close to public transport. We wanted one within walking distance from the Sapporo TV Tower though, so we picked the Hotel WBF Sapporo Chuo / Hotel WBF Art Stay and booked a Superior Double Non-Smoking room. In addition to the excellent location, it also has high guest ratings on HotelsCombined and has car parking available for a decent price, something that can be in short supply around the heart of the city. It’s a little confusing when comparing prices because the hotel has recently changed its name from Hotel WBF Sapporo Chuo to Hotel WBF Art Stay. On some booking sites and Google Maps, it is still going by the old name.
A quick question
If you’ve stayed here as well, either in a deluxe twin room, or another room category, I’d love to hear what you thought about it. I’d also like to know what your favourite things to do in the area are. Let me know in the comments after this article!
This article is all our own experience. Our booking was paid for by us, and no part of it was free or subsidised. That said, many of the links below are affiliate links, which means that I get a small commission if you click it and make a booking or purchase. I hope that you’ll use these links anytime you need to book a place to stay or activity! These small commissions help me to keep travelling so I can write and film more travel guides for you. I would never recommend anything I don’t or would not personally use!
Why we chose to stay at the Hotel WBF Sapporo Chuo / Art Stay
Our primary reason for selecting this hotel is the location. It is right in the heart of Sapporo, but more importantly, it’s in easy walking distance to the Sapporo TV Tower and Odori Park. Being right here is important because we were travelling by car and didn’t want to have to pay for parking both at the tower and at the hotel.
Our secondary reasons for this choice were:
- Car parking is available on-site at a reasonable rate.
- The high average ratings by guests. It gets an average overall rating above 8 according to HotelsCombined reviews.
- The rate included breakfast.
- We liked the look of the room in the photos; it looked modern and comfortable.
- Everywhere was expensive during Obon Festival when we visited, but this was one of the cheaper options that met our criteria.
About Hotel WBF Sapporo Chuo / Art Stay and the Superior Double Room
This hotel is extremely well located in the heart of Sapporo and holds a three-star rating. In spite of a big sign, it’s a little bit inconspicuous from outside with a partially hidden entry-way, but inside there are some neat little surprises. Reception is open late but is not 24 hours, so make sure to confirm your check-in time with them in advance, and carry your keycard when you leave just in case. You need it to get back into the building at night. Opposite the reception desk is a nice little surprise. Free drinks and snacks in the hotel lounge!!!
Besides the obligatory coffee that you can expect pretty much anywhere in Japan, the free drinks include orange juice, wine, iced tea, Appletiser, mineral water, and assorted teas. Snacks include mixed nuts and other small finger foods. I found the nibblies quickly disappeared each time more were brought out.
The lounge itself is a surprisingly quiet, relaxing space. Even though it’s located at the front of the hotel and right next to reception, the area is relatively peaceful, and the lounges are comfortable. We had too much to do to spend a lot of time here, but it’s great that it is available to chill in during check-in and out or while you are waiting for a taxi.
I was surprised actually at how little English the front desk staff knew. I don’t expect anyone to speak English in Japan, but I’d read that hotels in Sapporo typically have someone on all the time that knows some English due to its popularity with Australian tourists in snow season. So just keep in mind that you might need to do some charades. That said, the check-in process itself was very straightforward. As is usual for foreign travellers in Japan, they have to take a photocopy of the passports of all guests, and they have English paperwork available for everything else.
The only thing that presented a bit of a challenge with the language barrier was organising parking for our hire car. We had to communicate how big it was so they could determine if it would fit. Fortunately, we were parked near their side window so I could point to it. Then they had to communicate how the multi-story carpark worked and what we had to do to get in and out. So, here’s a quick rundown on how it works:
- Drive into the car park entrance behind the reception area.
- Get your bags out of the car as well as anything else you will need for the night.
- Wait for hotel staff to come out if they aren’t already there.
- Once staff open the doors to the car lift, they will direct you to drive in.
- Hop out carefully as the surfaces are uneven, and head on out.
- They will give you a ticket that indicates what number you are as well as a receipt that assigns your ticket number to your room number. The ticket is required to get your car out.
When you need to get the car out in the morning, just give them your ticket at reception, and they will get your car ready for you. Once it’s all ready, someone will come and get you, and you are all good to go!
The Superior Double Room
The superior double room is quite small. We were in 602, which is at the end of a hallway.
The small size seems prominent because it has an enormous king size bed squeezed into it, which is fantastic! In spite of the cosy size, it does have everything that you need in it.
The decor is simple with an earthy colour scheme and floral patterns. It’s quite elegant and feels very upmarket.
The room includes the typical things you might expect, including a TV, fridge, work desk and air purifier. You’ll also find an ice bucket, shoe horn and polisher, and slippers.
You may have noticed there is also a tall window at the end of the room. It opens, however, it falls into the room about 10cm from the top, meaning you have to push the weight of the window back up to close it, and you can’t see much outside. What you can see is just the wall of another building about 1-2 metres away.
There is free wifi included with the room rate, and while the speed wasn’t brilliant, it was sufficient.
The bathroom is small, pretty similar to most Japanese pod bathrooms. However, that also means it has identical inclusions, such as a bidet toilet, and a little bath with overhead shower. It’s entirely sufficient for two people passing through but could start to feel a bit claustrophobic for an extended stay.
How did we sleep?
The bed is quite firm, but not hard. We found it quite comfortable as stomach sleepers. It is firmer than most hotel beds in Australia, but we got a great sleep. Not to mention, being a king size bed, you hardly even notice you are sharing it. Now, it isn’t a real king. It is two mattresses pushed together to make a king, so you do have that join down the middle. That said, the join wasn’t particularly prominent like it can sometimes be.
How was breakfast?
Breakfast was buffet style in the hotel restaurant, Tapio Sweets Garden.
The atmosphere here is serene. It is located on level three of the hotel and features a variety of both real and artificial plants and vines. These plants serve both to freshen the space and block out some of the city buildings across the road.
The tables look like they belong in an outdoor setting so combined with the plants you almost forget you are inside.
The food itself is decent and contains a lot of the typical breakfast buffet items you will find at most hotels around Hokkaido. The options include miso soup, salad items, fried food, steamed vegetables, rice, pickled vegetables, bread and bread rolls, teas and of course, coffee. A couple of the unique items we found here are Hokkaido Stew, a local dish, and kiwi jam, something I’ve never encountered before. If you are vegan, there are stacks of options here to enjoy!
- Central location.
- Close to public transport.
- Comfortable, big bed.
- The lounge is great.
- On-site parking available.
- The room is quiet.
- Buffet breakfast available with plenty of options.
- Recently updated rooms.
- Free wifi.
- Insufficient space for bags and suitcases even when we just had a small carry-on size suitcase each and a backpack.
- Expensive around holidays and festivals.
We personally really enjoyed this hotel. The room was modern and comfortable, though definitely on the small side. The location was excellent with a MosBurger just around the corner for dinner and a short 5-minute walk to Sapporo TV Tower and Odori Park. The lounge downstairs was a pleasant surprise, and we enjoyed the overall hotel atmosphere. Breakfast was excellent with a wide selection of vegetarian and vegan-friendly choices. There was also plenty of English around the hotel with all of the hotel and breakfast information available in English as well as Japanese. For a 3-star hotel, we thought it was excellent and probably deserves a rating more like 3.5 stars.
Attractions near Hotel WBF Sapporo Chuo
Getting to Hotel WBF Sapporo Chuo / Hotel WBF Art Stay
If you are flying into Sapporo, you can rest assured that the main airport is nowhere near the city CBD, it’s technically in a different city altogether, Chitose. So to get to the hotel, you will want to either take a train, limousine bus, taxi or hire a car.
The address is:
If you are travelling by train, the closest station is Odori Station via the Nanboku Subway line. From here, it’s a short walk. If you push it, you can do it in 3-5 minutes. If you take a more leisurely pace, it’s about a 5-10 minute walk.
So if you are coming from Chitose Airport by train, you will first take the JR Rapid Airport Liner to Sapporo Station and then change to the Nanboku Subway line. Look for exit number 35 as this is the closest exit to the hotel. All up it will take you about 60-70 minutes from the airport.
If you get the limousine bus from the airport, it will take about 70 minutes to get into the city. The stop you want is Susukino bus stop. Getting off here leaves you about seven blocks from the hotel, or 600 metres so you should allow about 10 minutes for the walk.
It’s about a 30-minute drive into the city, but this does vary depending on traffic. It can be hectic around the airport and on the expressway into the city so if you are arriving at peak times in the morning and afternoon this can be expensive and the train may be faster.
Prices vary quite a lot depending on what company you go with and how long you are renting. We usually book with Avis, but always check booking comparison sites, particularly in Japan where the multi-national providers aren’t quite so prevalent. In this instance, we booked with Orix through a Hokkaido-based travel agent called Shiretoko Tourist Co., Ltd using their Kakuyasu Rent-A-Car booking site. The airport depots are very helpful and have dedicated staff for foreign language guests, but you can still expect to spend a decent amount of time transferring by bus to the rental car depots and then going through all the paperwork. Once you are on the road, like a taxi, you can expect the drive to take about 30 minutes as long as you aren’t in heavy traffic.
Hotel WBF Sapporo Chuo has 30 parking spaces available in a multi-storey car park (or as I like to call it, a car elevator). You can’t pre-book, so if they run out of space, you will have to park in another parking lot. There are a number of them within the surrounding area.
Rates and other costs
We researched hotels using HotelsCombined and ultimately booked with Agoda for AUD $237.27 for one night including buffet breakfast. The price we got was with a 10% off Agoda coupon. We were here during Obon Festival, making accommodation expensive. Travel away from festivals to save some money here. The room we booked normally goes for around AUD $90 – $100 per night outside of festivals and holidays.
If you need parking, the current rate in their multi-story carpark is 1200 Yen per night. You can expect to pay slightly more at some of the nearby parking stations.
Make sure you compare prices though as the best rates do vary, and some include breakfast while others don’t.
Check-in is available from 3:00 pm and check-out is by 11:00 am. Reception is open from 5:00am until 2:00am. However, the front door may be locked during night hours so make sure to let them know your expected check-in time.
- Official hotel access information – English
- Things to do nearby on Klook – English
- Things to do nearby on Viator by TripAdvisor – English
- Things to do nearby on KKday – English
If you’ve stayed at this hotel too, either in a deluxe twin room, or another room category, I’d love to hear what you thought about it. I’d also like to know what your favourite things to do in the area are. Let me know in the comments after this article! My personal favourite is Ishiya Chocolate Factory and Shiroi Koibito Park.
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First published: March 30, 2018, 5:58pm