Getting to Know, Michiko Tamoto, Our Hotel Manager
With over 20 years of experience in the hospitality industry, Michiko falls in love with Niseko's outdoor adventures and onsen. Learn more about the unique Setsu experience she aims to deliver.
How long have you been in the hospitality industry?
For over 20 years, with almost 10 years working in the States. Right after graduating from my degree in Hospitality Management in Massachusetts, I joined Fairmont Copley Plaza, then moved to The Westin Hotels Group. After moving back to Japan, I got a chance to be a part of The Peninsula Tokyo for 6 years, before I decided to relocate back to Niseko. I have enjoyed working with people from around the world, it has been a great experience for me.
What made you decide to come to Niseko?
I used to love visiting Niseko for skiing during the winter and hiking in summer. These are my two favourite outdoor activities and Niseko is a perfect place to enjoy these activities. I have always dreamed of coming back to live in Niseko, as I love the natural environment. Back in summer 2014, I was given an opportunity to be an opening member for one of the hotels in Niseko and I jumped at the chance. Without a hesitation, I decided to relocate to Niseko and it has been 7 incredible years now.
Tell us your favourite thing to do in Niseko, when you are not working?
Definitely going to one of the onsens in the local area. It is almost part of my daily routine. I love visiting an onsen to relax at the end of the day, after any outdoor exercise, for me it's a must. I am so grateful that there are so many onsens and enjoyable adventures in the Niseko area. My favourite one is Yukichichibu onsen, I really like their mud onsen, even though the smell of sulphur is quite strong and it can stay with you for a few days, it is worth it. Because that means it is so rich in minerals. It is definitely a great and unique experience, which you can't find anywhere else.
Tell us about the Setsu Niseko project?
It’s incredibly exciting to be working on such a landmark project for Niseko; it will be one of the largest hotels in the Hirafu area. The hotel features 190 suites, 6 different restaurants, ski rental shop, guest’s own ski locker, spa, onsen, gym, yoga studio and kids playroom. Taking a holistic approach to providing a total wellness and happy environment for the whole family is very important to me. I have a great team and we are hard at work with our building partners, evaluating every aspect of a Setsu stay to ensure the experience is unique and personable.
As one of the largest developments in the area, I am also very conscious of our role in supporting the local community and ensuring we adopt sustainable business practices to minimise our impact on the environment, by working with local business partners, focusing on promoting Hokkaido’s incredible produce and developing career and training opportunities for the local community. The building is progressing well, construction is on schedule and we look forward to welcoming our first guests during the Summer of 2022.
What would you say is Setsu’s unique experience?
Setsu Niseko will be a destination for all. From small children to young adults to grandparents, we will be providing a seamless personalised Setsu experience for everyone. Our team will be very focused on ‘the experience’ and making sure it is tailor made to suit our guests needs. We understand the preferences and requirements when guests travel as a family with small children can be very different from when a couple on a honeymoon trip, or from a guest who is an avid visitor to Niseko compared to a first timer - this is the personalisation we would like to offer to our guests. Ultimately we would like the guests to choose Niseko as their holiday destination because of Setsu, not only because of the legendary snow.
One of the unique and beautiful aspects of Setsu is the focus on the ‘sense of place’ to ensure guests enjoy a truly authentic Japanese experience. The apartment suite design is very elegant and has unique Japanese touches like shoji screens, washi wall coverings and many of the rooms have a traditional tatami area (Japanese bamboo flooring). The penthouses and four bedroom suites are beautifully fitted out with their own private outdoor onsens. Of course, no Japanese experience is complete without the food and Setsu will have one of the largest range of restaurants in Niseko, we are working with two Japanese Michelin-star chefs right now, so guests can experience some of the finest Japanese cuisine during their stay with us.
What are you excited about the hotel opening the most?
As someone who loves working with people, I am most looking forward to working together as one team to deliver a unique personalised service to our guests. Our goal is to put a smile on every guests’ face and ensure they have a memorable experience with us.
When is a good time to visit Setsu Niseko?
As name of the hotel, Setsu Niseko is inspired by Setsu Getsu Ka (雪月花) - beauty of all seasons, Setsu will be the place to visit anytime of the year. We look forward to welcoming you.
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