While the majority of the hotel’s 134 guestrooms feature “Western beds”, if you want a more authentic Japanese experience, this is a way to do so without giving up on any of the luxuries. The choice to make is between a Corner Suite and a Garden Terrace Suite, with the latter (which we saw) benefiting from a large outdoor space overlooking the city’s Kamogawa river.
You will be giving up on wearing shoes inside, which are a no-go on Tatami, but why not embrace where you are and don a kimono and slippers anyway? Spreading over 600 square feet total (just to throw a relatable measure in there), the suite has a separate living room (above) and is decorated in neutral tones to match the igusa soft rush straw of the Tatami.
The bathroom was rather beautiful as well, with of course a Japanese-style wet area that combines shower and bathtub.
The terrace and garden stretched the length of the suite, with outdoor seating to enjoy the view over the river and the Higashiyama mountains.
The Garden Terrace Tatami Suite can easily go for 150,000JPY (about $1,500) a night, so it is a costly experience, as befits pricey Japan. A regular Deluxe Room, which starts well over 450 square foot, runs at about 65,000JPY ($650) a night.
We had to show you this perfectly raked garden inside a small courtyard on the hotel’s ground floor: it doesn’t get more Japanese than that.
While the hotel is brand new, there is a piece of history hiding within Italian restaurant La Locanda, which surrounds the courtyard: Ebisugawa-tei, once the townhouse of Denzaburo Fujita, founder of of a major industrial group, and now a private dining room. It’s like a little time warp inside a 21st century hotel.
There is of course a Japanese restaurant, Mizuki, as well as a spa and fitness center. We’ll have to come back in a few years' time and see how the two international heavyweights Ritz-Carlton and Four Seasons duke it out in the historic setting of Kyoto.
[Photos: JasonD for HotelChatter]