Our true rating: 4.6 circles/stars
For an attentive, refined, luxurious stay in Kyoto, this is the place to be. It is neatly tucked a short distance away from the chaos, crowds and ubiquitous hotels that surround Kyoto Station, a major hub of the Shinkansen, JR and subway train lines for the area. Dare we say, the hotel is a “zen-oasis” from the maddening throngs of tourists that Kyoto understandably seduces with its rich culture, history and warm people. The hotel (5 floors) is situated NE of Kyoto Station, about a 20-25 minute easy walk, or taxi ride of 5-8 minutes away. So, the location may be an issue for some of you, but we found it easily worked for us (first-timers at this hotel) … we used all options, primarily walking. Let’s get into the details of our stay.
The Good: The hotel is elegant and subtle in its refinements, luxurious in its tones and décor, along with very good, attentive service. The location itself is East of the downtown area, yet close enough to easily reach the venerated Kiyozuma-dera Temple (15-20 min walk NE), and is literally next door to the Sanjusanjendo Temple. The hotel is nestled nicely off the main road, behind a semi-wall, with its own tranquil small garden & pond. We started with a standard room, and it was very nice and comfortable. The subtle Japanese style and touches were evident throughout, from classic fabric headboards, to the soft, medium-toned wood that is prevalent throughout the hotel. We had a very good-sized room, not tiny like so many in Japan, though not huge either. The bed was firm which is normal for many Asian hotels, but the plush bed covering/blanket easily made up for it. There were standard room accoutrements, including basic toiletries and a few bottles of water to greet you (replenished nightly). The bathroom offered a good sized soaking tub, alongside an open shower area, along with plush towels (the way we like ‘em). The toilet (classic Japanese with all electronic button-controlled fun things - sprays, washing, etc. options you expect and love!) was within its own tiny room. We enjoyed garden views, which made the room so much more relaxing, tranquil, and a sheer joy to return to each day/evening. We were eventually upgraded (given availability was limited at check-in), and were even more amazed. The suite-room was massive, and with a balcony facing the garden. The added space, sofa and double-sink, along with a GIANT wood soaking tub, made for a memorable room and continued stay. Our rooms were always refreshed spotlessly and perfectly daily, with evening turn-down service much the same, as was the overall hotel, and we offer our compliments to the hotel for that. A very special and sincere debt of gratitude goes to Ms. Jen Lee (Lee-san) for her greeting and hospitality, especially for the pre-arrangements made. She was friendly, warm & gracious. Yes, we know this type of greeting is ‘de rigueur’ for certain loyalty members of the brand, but still very much appreciated. Not all other hotels of this brand went that extra mile for us. The entire staff was warm with greetings, friendliness, smiles, and most importantly, attentiveness and approachability. Our requests for additional water were heeded without issue, and their subtlety during their work was very nice … in other words, quiet. There are multiple options for on-site dining & drinking, including an Italian restaurant, but we did not try any (including room service) and cannot comment. BONUS: Each evening, a Maiko (Geisha in training) performs for about 15 minutes in the lobby, and will take pictures with one and all, and spend additional time to chat … a very nice added touch of this hotel!
The Not-So-Good: The hotel has only a few notes we will ‘low-light’ her, and resulted in a minor deduction in our overall rating. For all you loyalty customers expecting a Regency Club lounge, it is not offered at this location. They did offer a free nightly drink during our stay. Additionally, there is no business center, other than a couple of laptops in the lobby, but there is free lobby wifi. Again, the location may be an issue for some of you … especially if you do not like walking. For those looking to get to the many shrines/temples, etc. beyond the area, there are public transit options nearby, local buses 1 block away, plus Karasuma-line subway station – less than 10 minute walk (4-5 blocks) It is a ‘short’ 20-25 min walk to Kyoto Station, but if you have children in tow or big luggage, would not be easy … taxi is the way to go. These were all fair points that could have lowered our rating, but we could not, given the other pluses. We found no other issues, otherwise.
Overall: For a terrific, warm, subtly Japanese-style stay, we highly recommend this hotel. This hotel obviously appeals and caters toward the leisure, high-end clients (though we are not high-end), and it shows. A very international clientele was obvious, with many families as well. It is an oasis from the industrial, sanitized, tiny hotels that dot the Japanese landscape. It is slightly off-the-beaten-path, but truly not so far from anything. Actually, that is what makes this hotel even better … it is uber-quiet, away from the hustle-bustle of downtown or the Kyoto Station with its throngs of tourists toting their luggage and going every which way but yours. We’ve stayed at other Kyoto hotels before, but this tops them all. We’d stay here again on our next visit to Kyoto, without a doubt. Happy Hotel-ing !!
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- Also Known As:
- Hyatt Regency Kyoto Hotel Kyoto
- Kyoto Hyatt Regency
- Hyatt Kyoto