|Schauwecker's Japan Travel Blog|
by Stefan Schauwecker, webmaster of japan-guide.com
This blog is intended to record some of my travel activities in Japan.
2006/11/26 - Kyoto Autumn Color Report (11): Hotel Report
While the autumn leaves were the main objective of our stay in Kyoto, a second objective was to get familiar with some of the city's leading hotels and ryokan. In order to do so, we spent our nine nights at nine different hotels and ryokan.
Below is a list of the nine hotels and ryokan where we stayed at. I ranked them in a purely subjective manner, based on my personal experience of staying at each place for one night. Our group consisted of three persons, except in the New Miyako and Hyatt, where there were only two of us.
Ranked 9th: Yachiyo Ryokan
24,000 Yen per person for a tatami room for three persons including dinner and breakfast. Attractively located just a few steps from Nanzenji. The facilities have come of age in an unpleasant way, especially the toilet, bathroom and public bath. The staff was very friendly and accustomed to foreign guests, but the service lacked the elegance and refinement that I expected from a Kyoto ryokan in this price range.
Ranked 8th: New Miyako Hotel
15,000 Yen per person for a twin room. Located just a few steps from the Hachijo Exit of Kyoto Station, this is a popular hotel for tour groups. It is not the newest hotel anymore, but we had no complaints with respect to the facilities. The service was very professional but somewhat impersonal; trained to accommodate large tour groups efficiently. The minibar was empty. Free high speed internet on the room.
Ranked 7th: Rihga Royal Hotel Kyoto
11,000 Yen per person for a twin room with extra bed. Less than five minutes from Kyoto Station by free shuttle bus. It is not the newest hotel either, but the room was elegantly designed, spacious and comfortable. Only the bathroom was small and inconvenient. Paid high speed internet on the room. The staff was very well trained. The hotel has a nice revolving restaurant with good food, but an insufficient number of non-smoking tables.
Ranked 6th: Hyatt Regency Kyoto
18,000 Yen per person for a twin room. Located next to Sanjusangendo, not the most convenient location for sightseeing in Kyoto. This brand new hotel scores close to perfect in terms of its elegant and convenient facilities. However, the staff did not make a well trained impression, resulting in a level of hospitality, that was below the one expected at a Japanese high-class hotel. In particular, the restaurant staff made some major mistakes without proper apology. The in-room breakfast was of poor quality. Paid high speed internet on the room.
Ranked 5th: Kyoto Hotel Okura
11,000 Yen per person for a twin room with extra bed. Just next to Kyoto City Hall. New building with a beautiful, spacious and well equipped room. Service was very professional. Free high speed internet on the room. No complaints.
Ranked 4th: Kyoto Brighton Hotel
17,000 Yen per person for a twin room with extra bed. Somewhat inconveniently located in the proximity of the Imperial Palace. The hotel has a spacious atrium lobby, but the building is not the newest anymore, although the management seems to do its best to keep the facilities up-to-date. Service is very professional, and one can feel the hotel's aim of thriving for perfection. Paid high speed internet on the room.
Ranked 3rd: Hotel Granvia Kyoto
13,000 Yen per person for a twin room with extra bed. Located inside Kyoto Station, this hotel is difficult to beat in terms of convenience. Elegant and comfortable lobby and guest room. A large range of restaurants to chose from. Free high speed internet on the room. Service very professional.
Ranked 2nd: Westin Miyako Hotel
11,000 Yen per person for a quadruple room, used by three persons. Near Nanzenji Temple, somewhat inconvenient location for sightseeing in Kyoto. The best western style hotel we stayed at this time. Very elegant and comfortable. Although our spacious room has aged somewhat, its facilities were up-to-date. Flawless service.
Ranked 1st: Tawaraya Ryokan
55,000 Yen per person for a tatami room for three persons including dinner and breakfast. Close to Kyoto City Hall. Elegance and hospitality at its highest level. Spacious tatami room with view into the ryokan's beautiful garden. Despite being located in a historic building, all facilities were clean, comfortable and up-to-date in harmony with the traditional building. Wonderful meals on the room.
I made all hotel and ryokan reservations in July, roughly four months in advance of our stay. While, at that time, many hotels still had vacancies during the week, most of them were already booked out on Saturdays. If you plan to stay in Kyoto during the autumn leaf or cherry blossom season, make sure to reserve your hotel room far in advance!