At Setsu Niseko, it is all about the experience, those special moments that make each holiday unique. At Setsu, we pride ourselves in creating a memorable stay experience for our guests. Concierge Manager Mari Kitamura shares her thoughts behind providing the Setsu experience and her excitement ahead of the pre-opening of Setsu Niseko.
Nice to have you with us today. Can you please introduce yourself?
My name is Mari Kitamura and I'm originally from Osaka. Niseko has been my home for the past seven years because I love to spend a lot of time immersed in nature - skiing, hiking, and practicing yoga are just some of the activities I enjoy. Early morning walks through the Niseko forests are magical, especially early in the day when you can see the morning dew and watch the sunrise behind Mount Yotei. It's so very relaxing and I love it.
Please tell us more about your hospitality experience.
I have been working with people in a customer facing role over two decades now, across many different industries from event and seminar organiser through to insurance and security companies, before deciding to stay in the hospitality industry here in Niseko. This is my 8th year in Niseko. I’m passionate about hospitality because I believe it’s life-changing and more of what the world needs. Greeting people with warmth and curiosity, makes them feel welcome. Honestly wanting to provide them with an excellent and unforgettable experience are all things that make us feel our shared humanity and commonality. The hospitality industry is incredibly deep and complex, and I believe it is the foundation for an enjoyable and comfortable life for people.
What do you enjoy the most in your role?
Having the opportunity to help turn holiday moments into great memories is a great honour. It is rewarding to see our guests having a good time and enjoying the many different sides of Niseko. This is my favourite part of my role.
It is a month away until Setsu opens, how are you feeling with the opening fast approaching?
To begin with, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the entire team of people I am working with to create the Setsu Niseko experience. Moreover, I would like to thank all those who have contributed to building the hotel such as those who were involved in the construction process. The finer details are coming along nicely and are really beautiful. It is very exciting to see the property grow and develop, it is really changing the face of hotels in Niseko and I am very much looking forward to welcoming you all to Setsu Niseko.
What are the most exciting aspects of Setsu opening for you?
Like I said, I am very excited to welcome tourists back to Japan. It has been two years since the Covid pandemic started and we are still in an environment that requires masks. But I will be very happy to help many of our guests return after so long. There are many who have a strong attachment to the area.
Personalisation is a key element of the experience Setsu plans to deliver, can you share with us your philosophy for creating unique guest experiences?
"Everyone is different" as the saying goes, and I am always mindful of the fact that everyone has different tastes and sensitivities. We keep this in mind when communicating with our guests and try to recommend unique experiences and itineraries that suit their own personal preferences. It is first and foremost important for me to stay healthy and grateful for what I have and I strive not only to provide excellent service but also to maintain a neutral perspective and remain unbiased as well.
As someone who helps plan guests' Setsu Niseko stay, what adventures would you recommend for this summer?
I would encourage you to try an activity that you have not yet experienced. Try something new. There are plenty of activities to enjoy, whether it be in the mountains, river or ocean. I would also recommend renting a mountain bike and riding a loop around Mt. Yotei, enjoying the fresh natural water from the springs along the way. After all the activities, the best way to finish the day is a hot spring bath and a delicious meal in one of our restaurants. Niseko is such a great place to live in and of course a fun place to visit. We would like to be a part of creating your Niseko experience this summer.
Our dedicated concierge team will be here to help you plan all your Niseko adventures. We look forward to welcoming you to Setsu Niseko very soon.
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