Japan’s APPI ski resort gets a facelift as luxury brands take hold
A new APPI ski resort will host three new IHG hotels and a prestigious international school.
The Japanese ski resort with the slogan “be happy in APPI” seems to be raising the price of happiness, with the arrival of new luxury brands, including an InterContinental hotel from the global hotel group IHG, and Harrow International School, on the model of its prestigious British namesake. .
IHG Hotels & Resorts, which operates in Japan as a joint venture with All Nippon Airlines (ANA), finalized an agreement earlier this year with APPI resort owners Iwate Hotel & Resort to open or renovate three hotels. This is the first time that IHG will have three brands – InterContinental, Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn – on one site.
The ANA Crowne Plaza Resort Appi Kogen (formerly Hotel Appi Grand) and the ANA Holiday Inn Resort Appi Kogen (formerly Appi Hills Shirakaba no Mori and Appi Kogen Onsen Hotel) were renovated on December 16. InterContinental-ANA Appi Kogen Resort, a new development, is scheduled to open on February 1, 2022.
Guests will be able to choose from 18 restaurants and bars across the hotel’s portfolio, with Western, Chinese, and Japanese options available. The resort is also home to Shirakaba no Yu, Tohoku’s largest open-air hot spring bath – an attraction in its own right.
The prestigious Harrow School will open its doors at the APPI
Meanwhile, Harrow International School APPI has officially announced a launch date in August and is currently accepting applications for the 2022-23 academic year, initially opening to students in Grades 7-10 only and possibly up to Grade 13 (based on UK system). It will be able to accommodate up to 912 residents who, in addition to ski or snowboard at least twice a week throughout the winter, they will also be able to enjoy the school’s indoor swimming pool, the 18 APPI tennis courts and a 36-hole golf course.
Harrow School in the UK, on which the APPI branch is based, was founded in 1572 and has former Nobel laureates, politicians, artists and influencers including Winston Churchill, Jawaharlal Nehru, King Hussein and Lord Rayleigh. The school will no doubt be looking to add one or two Olympic skiers to the list in the future.
The brand has been expanding its roots in Asia since the 90s, but the APPI campus is its first company in Japan. A press release issued by the school noted that it will “make the best use of nature’s gifts in its curriculum.”
“The students will take lessons outside. In geography, they will study the local mountains and rivers, and in economics, they will analyze what makes Appi Ski Resort a successful business. Drama and music students, on the other hand, will be inspired by the outdoor environment as a stage, while those studying biology will use the school’s lake for fascinating experiments.
A word of warning to parents already excited to send their children to the Japanese countryside: British education doesn’t come cheap, especially when paired with some of the best powder skis in Japan. Tuition for 13th grade students will cost parents 9,270,000 (US $ 81,260) per year.
APPI ski resort
APPI is one of the largest ski resorts in the Tohoku region of Japan, a part of the country known for its extreme weather (read: powder snow), stunning scenery, regional cuisine, and onsen. The resort’s 21 slopes are served by 10 ski lifts, including a gondola that takes runners from the APPI Resort Center (620 m) to the top of Maemori Mountain (1304 m).
The complex was built in the 1980s in the midst of Japan’s economic boom, and has even nicknamed “the aspen of Japan”, presumably in reference to its relatively impressive hotel and elevator infrastructure. In recent years – like many resorts in Japan – the luster has faded slightly and, at least for overseas travelers, it’s been seen more as an off-the-beaten-path hotspot, without the international attention that has followed the likes of Niseko and Hakuba.
That may well change now!