By Jessica Lin
Hotel Crown Palais in Aomori, with its comfortable rooms and super-friendly staff, is the perfect destination for visitors to Aomori. Getting to the hotel is easy: from the Aomori train station (just one stop from JR Shin-Aomori Shinkansen Station) and bus terminal, it’s a fifteen-minute walk along one of Aomori’s main streets. If you stop in at the Aomori Tourist Information Center outside the train station, you can pick up a handy city map, which has Hotel Crown Palais clearly marked. Located right in the heart of the city, the hotel is within walking distance of all the main Aomori attractions along the bay, such as the A-shaped ASPAM building, the Memorial Ship Hakkoda-Maru, and the Wa Rasse Nebuta Museum. For those destinations a little further out, it’s easy to take the regular Shuttle Bus ‘Nebutan-go’ from Aomori station. There are plenty of restaurants, cafes and convenience stores within walking distance of the hotel, so there’s no need to travel long distances for necessities.
The hotel offers the usual room amenities (toothbrush, slippers, a flat-screen television, refrigerator), and there’s also a kettle and tea, a safe for any valuables, and air-conditioning. The beds have inbuilt alarm clocks, so anyone with an early check out need not worry about oversleeping. If you’ve forgotten to buy souvenirs, there’s a gift shop full of Aomori goods on the ground floor just by the door. If you’re not around for the revered Nebuta Festival in early August, you can see an example of one of the floats lit up in the lobby. These floats are quite spectacular, and even this small one may be enough to convince you to return to catch the real thing, which passes by along the road in the front of the hotel. Reliable, high-speed Wi-Fi is also available in the lobby for all guests.
I can also recommend the generous breakfasts offered by the Toque D’or restaurant on the ground floor. If you have reserved the breakfast option at the front desk, you can choose from either the Japanese or Western style breakfast option, served from 7:00 to 9:00am. There’s also a dinner menu available for those staying in.
Also worth noting is that the hotel also has a number of function rooms available for special occasions. A Banquet Hall that can seat up to 300 dominates the second floor; when I visit, it is fully set up for an event, and the staff are busy ensuring everything is meticulously tidy in preparation for the guests. Just around the corner is a traditional Japanese function room, its open shutters revealing an atmospheric garden view. There’s also a large, colourfully lit wedding chapel, which is extremely popular: the manager informs me that last year the chapel hosted a total of forty weddings. A smaller Japanese wedding shrine is also available in the hotel. While it is less commonly used, it is nevertheless kept in readiness for anyone seeking a more traditional ceremony. Another function room can be found in the basement, replete with glass chandeliers, and screens that can be removed for larger crowds.
All in all, I highly recommend the Hotel Crown Palais for anyone seeking comfortable quarters and great hospitality on their stay in Aomori – a beautiful city with great character, and plenty to explore.
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