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We’ve looked at a few Western hotel brands that have recently made or are making their way to Kyoto: the Ritz-Carlton, Starwood (by way of Luxury Collection), and Four Seasons. That changes things for the Hyatt Regency Kyoto, which for a long time was considered the high-end Western hotel in the city.
Does the Hyatt have a lot to worry about with all this fresh competition? We’d say yes and no, based on our stay. You’ll find the Hyatt a short taxi ride across the Kamogawa river to the east of Kyoto station. Conveniently, our rate for a standard room included breakfast and a one-way taxi fare. Once we had figured out where to find the taxi based on the instructions from the hotel, we pulled up to the main entrance you see above in no time.
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At least that has now changed, and with a website come a few more renderings and the ability to make reservations from March 31 (opening is listed for March 23, though). That takes us right into the heart of sakura season, and the rates are… high. A Superior Room starts at JPY72,000; though with the weaker yen that now translates to about $600 rather than the $720 you’d previously be looking at.
If you want the additional experience of this lovely outdoor deck / garden with wooden bathtub, you’ll have to stump for a Deluxe Room, which will ring up another JPY10,000 ($82). A look at the interior of a room below.
There was a time when the Hyatt Regency was considered the high-end Western hotel in Kyoto, the former imperial capital of Japan. That changed with the opening of The Ritz-Carlton last year, where a more traditional Japanese experience is still very much possible though in its Tatami Suite. Four Seasons should have been there even before the Ritz, but these photos showed it is years behind schedule, which means the next big brand moving into ancient Kyoto will be Starwood Hotels.
Suiran, part of its Luxury Collection, should open already on March 31 and will be a ryokan-style hotel (a traditional Japanese inn) with just 39 rooms. Above a rendering of the hotel, set within the grounds of the Tenryū-ji temple, which will combine new accommodation with the restoration of historic structures “Enmei-kaku” and “Hasshoken”.
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.
When Four Seasons Kyoto made it onto our list of openings to be psyched for in 2013, it was really a mix of hope and wishful thinking on our part that secured it a spot on there, following the announcement the year before that the Canadian group was developing a property in the former imperial capital of Japan (which, incidentally, gets a staggering 50 million visitors a year).
Having had a chance to walk by the construction site this week, we’ll be readjusting our expectations significantly and shooting for a 2016 to 2017 completion. The Four Seasons sign is proudly displayed though at the 5 acre site in Higashiyama-ku, just to the east of the city’s Kamagawa river and less than 10 minutes by taxi from Kyoto’s JR / Shinkansen train station.
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There are over 3,500 Marriott hotels on Earth. There could be 3.5 million and that still wouldn't be enough to satisfy the world's traveling population, and so, for your future travel pleasures, we present three small hotel chains you've probably never heard of but should totally book because they're awesome (and growing):
P.S. - they all have free WiFi!
They just rebranded with a new tagline, "come as you are," and we couldn't be more in love. 25hours have become our number one choice for a hotel when staying in the four cities where they have locations, and we've reviewed two right here on HotelChatterFrankfurt-Goldman and Hamburg-HafenCity.
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When we looked at the Ritz-Carlton Okinawa last October, we mentioned that a fourth Japanese property was in the works in Kyoto, the country’s former imperial capital and home to no less than 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Now, the Ritz-Carlton Kyoto is confirmed as opening on February 7, 2014, alongside a host of other new hotels being announced. We’ll give you a breakdown of what’s happening below.
Billed as an urban resort, the Ritz-Carlton Kyoto will have 136 rooms on the banks of the Kamogawa River, with views of the Higashiyama Mountains. Traditional Meiji house and courtyard architecture is incorporated into the building’s structure, and the hotel will have four dining options, as well as meeting facilities and a spa.