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Inside a Tatami Suite at the Ritz-Carlton Kyoto

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  Site Where: Kamogawa Nijo-Ohashi Hotori, Nakagyo-Ku, Kyoto, Japan, 604-0902
August 1, 2014 at 10:29 AM | by | ()

In space-constricted Japan (50% of the 127 million people live on 2% of the land), the size of a room isn’t typically looked at by square meter or square foot, but by the number of Tatami mats that fit inside.

That looks something like the above, and no, we didn’t ask The Ritz-Carlton Kyoto to take all the furniture out of the room for the photo: this is the bedroom of a traditional Tatami Suite at the hotel, which means every evening your equally traditional futon-style bed (two singles) will be made up for you. We had a chance to look inside the hotel during a recent visit to Kyoto, four months after the hotel opened on February 7 this year.

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]

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