An Exhilarating Summer Escape at Club Med Tomamu

Discovering the unseen side of the ski resort when the snow melts and different types of charms reveal themselves.

“Stay with me. Mayonaka no doa o tataki. Kaeranaide to naita. Ano kisetsu ga ima me no mae…” Miki Matsubara’s Mayonaka No Door blasted through my AirPods as I stood before the isolated Tomamu Station. The temperature couldn’t have been over 20 degrees Celsius as budding summer leaves shivered at the gentlest breeze—so did I. The wait was brief. A blue shuttle bus pulled up at the end of the road and the driver jumped out to greet me and the others who were headed to the same destination: Club Med Tomamu.

Getting lost looking at the passing scenery would’ve been easy if it wasn’t for the fact that we were reaching the journey’s end not 10 minutes into the ride. Sprawled across over 145 hectares of Tomamu Mountain, Club Med Tomamu slowly came into sight, seemingly retaining its charms on sunnier days. The strapping ski resort’s timber-clad exterior, which is a reminiscent of the raw materials typically present in traditional Japanese architecture, was as inviting as the winter cabins in those Hallmark rom-coms you put on during the holidays.

Cultural elements are spread consistently across the property. A step into its cosy lobby and you will be immediately mesmerised by the massive cherry blossom tree at the centre. Accompanying decorative items such as plush cushions, stools, and coffee tables, are dressed in vivid colours that recall the bright palette of the kimonos. They are all part of architect Jean-Philippe Nuel’s genius. Combined with the gracious hospitality of the gentil organisateurs (GOs), Club Med Tomamu shows how “home away from home” is done.

After a seamless check-in process, I was ushered to one of the Superior rooms where I’d spend the next few nights. The 42 square metre space is plenty for a couple. The same burst of colours envelops the room—teal walls, navy carpeting with floral motifs, and mustard cushion pillows—but offset by the soft lighting, wooden headboard, and snowy bed linen. The centrepiece of every room, for me at least, is the bed itself. Here, the sturdy mattress promises a good night’s sleep, or as I soon found out, an afternoon nap.

The sun had begun to set by the time I awoke from my dreamless slumber. Frantically digging through my suitcase for some dinner-appropriate get-up, I then scampered to Itara to refuel myself. There are four distinct spaces serving international and Japanese cuisines, each inspired by Hokkaido regions, namely Bucolic Valley, Farmhouse, Sea of Clouds, and Rays of Sun (plus Unkai Terrace, which is available only in the summer). Each offers a distinctive gastronomic experience but all are crafted with the freshest ingredients.

I charged right at the fresh seafood section of the all- you-can-eat buffet before plating up the premium Wagyu beef. Pro tip: Give the Chef Specialty’s grilled fish with capers and dill sauce a try if it’s on the table. Oh, and there’s a speciality restaurant, Haku, too where you can savour the farm-to-table Yakiniku barbecue menu. For a nightcap unlike any other, head to the Unkai Bar for some intoxicating brews or The Nest to discover the flavour of Japan via tasting sessions of Japanese whisky and sake.

A trip to a resort that specialises in premium all-inclusive vacations wouldn’t be complete without signing up for some of its meticulously curated experiences. One of the highlights here is the Mina Mina Beach—the largest indoor wave pool in the country. Situated right across the property, the building also houses an outdoor onsen called Hot Spa Kirin for guests—at Club Med, we are referred to as gentil membres—who are trying to shake off their travel fatigue or to just unwind after a long day of exploring.

If you’re an early riser, an outing to Unkai Terrace is a must. More than a few were already queuing up to take the chairlift up the mountain by the time I got to the terminal and it was barely six in the morning. But the spectacular natural spectacle that ensued where a sea of clouds gradually dispersed to reveal stunning mountain views put things into perspective. It’s the summer excitement you seek, an experience to be shared with family and friends that will last a lifetime.

The possibilities of outdoor adventure at Club Med Tomamu are endless. There are GO-led hikes and mountain bike excursions, lessons in archery and trapeze, flower farm visits, and many more. Those who wish to see other facets of Hokkaido may arrange day excursions with the resort, whether it is to the quaint town of Biei, the famous flower gardens of Farm Tomita, or the Bear Mountains bear research centre. But if you’re craving for that adrenaline rush, go on a river-rafting trip where nature presents itself in the wildest way.

In all honesty, my three days there went by in a flash. One would require ample time to truly experience Club Med Tomamu, the way it is meant to be experienced. Or maybe I am just looking for an excuse to come back in the winter when the verdant pine trees become snow-burdened, the mountains are blanketed with thick flakes, and Hokkaido in general transforms into a larger-than-life snow globe. After all, it is a ski resort and a thrilling snow escape is all but guaranteed.