A group of Australian owners and a new Japanese hospitality group, EastEdge Partners, has renewed and re-opened the former Hana Hotel overlooking Hakuba Valley’s...

A group of Australian owners and a new Japanese hospitality group, EastEdge Partners, has renewed and re-opened the former Hana Hotel overlooking Hakuba Valley’s Happo Resort as a boutique hotel named The Ridge Hotel and Apartments.

The Hakuba Valley and the town of Hakuba are located in Japan’s northern Alps, in the Kitaazumi district of Nagano prefecture. Hakuba was the main event venue for the 1998 Winter Olympic Games.

Japan Life built the Hana Hotel in 1998 for VIP guests, the list  including members of Japan’s Imperial family, who viewed the Olympics from the hotel’s penthouse overlooking the mountain.

“We are honored to have been chosen by the owners of The Ridge to help them achieve the full potential of their investment,” says Jason Holt, CEO of EastEdge Partners. “EastEdge brings innovation to this unique project with a concept and design that will compete well with other top luxury resort hotels even within the broader Asia region, as well as an international management system and global marketing platform which should be standard for both prominent and boutique hotels in this sector. We see growing demand for and market recognition of the unique experiences to be had in wondrous Hakuba Valley.”

Adds Holt: “We also see a very strong potential for Nagano in general and are working in many locations within the prefecture that are not yet on the international map, to help them grow and become destinations within themselves in the mid-term. In particular we see significant demand growth coming from Greater China and Asia over the next few years.”

The Hakuba Valley in Nakano prefecture in Japan's northern Alps offers breathtaking mountain backdrop for winter vacations

The Ridge Hotel and Apartments’ owners and EastEdge Partners have applied international branding to the marketing of The Ridge Hotel and Apartments, including redesigning the hotel and renovating the interior of the existing structure. The partners expect The Ridge`s new face to bring more luxury travelers to Hakuba.

Standard rooms offer Western king split beds within a Japanese tatami room context. Fully enclosed apartment suites of one to four bedrooms, designer furniture and equipped kitchens are available with a full list of amenities, including flat-screen TVs, WiFi, DVD players and iPod docking stations.

The Ridge’s Antlers Restaurant and Apres-ski Lounge Bar offer a range of set menus with a Western theme and Japanese touches. A full Western breakfast is included in all standard plans. The fully functioning bar and à la carte menu are available from the afternoon, the menu including quality imported cheeses and hams for wine lovers.

To welcome families, The Ridge provides a game room equipped with Wii and Xbox sets, a DVD library, books, magazines and a relaxing set of lounge furnishings.

The Ridge Hotel and Apartments, which overlooks the Happo Resort in northern Japan's Hakuba Valley, offers apartment suites with one to four bedrooms as well as standard rooms offering Western king split beds within a Japanese tatami room context. This is a view of one of the hotel's three-bedroom suites

The Ridge Hotel and Apartments can be contacted at: 4608 Hokujo, Hakuba-mura, Kitaazumi-gun, Nagano 399-9301 Japan; phone +81 (0)261-85-4301; fax: +81(0)261-85-4302; e-mail: info@theridge.jp; or via the hotel’s website at www.theridge.jp.

Hakuba is a rice-farming valley which is nestled at 800 meters and is surrounded by spectacular rugged peaks towering above 3,000 meters (9,843 feet). It was one of the first regions in Japan to take advantage of its favorable snow conditions and terrain to become an alpine-sports resort, with the formation of the Hosono Ski Club in 1928.

As Japan’s premier ski region with 10 resorts and more than 100 ski lifts throughout the valley, Hakuba offers more terrain, vertical rise and advanced ski/board slopes than anywhere else in the country. Still largely undiscovered by international tourists, Hakuba is a four season resort enjoyed by Japanese visitors year-round.

Northern Japan's Hakuba Valley offers a wide variety of outdoors pursuits in summer, including hiking and trekking in beautifully scenic terrain

During its green season Hakuba offers a plethora of outdoor activities, including river rafting, kayaking, climbing, canyoning, parasailing, windsurfing, fishing, summer camps and retreats, adventure courses, ziplining, firefly tours, waterski and wakeboarding, ballooning, tennis, golf, and more. Additionally, the Japan Sea is less than an hour’s drive away for ocean and beach activities.

In addition to its main attractions, intense powder downhill skiing and snowboarding, Hakuba features cross-country skiing courses including the extensive Olympic course. Hakuba also offers snowshoeing trails and snow playgrounds for kids, cat and heli skiing, back-country tours and ice fishing. Varied après-ski activities include local cuisine, events, and natural hot springs.