Japan’s cultural capital, Kyoto, is a well-liked vacation spot for home and worldwide vacationers alike.
The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto, has lengthy been exalted as the most effective properties in Japan, and even in your entire chain. I used to be very desirous to expertise it for myself throughout a Summer time 2019 go to to Asia, because it had been on the prime of my must-stay listing for fairly a while.
Amy additionally visited this property together with her household on a Spring Break 2023 journey to Japan, and we’ve up to date this assessment to replicate her expertise.
The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto – Reserving
On the time, I had the chance to benefit from a candy spot of redeeming 60,000 Bonvoy factors per night time for top-tier motels (which lasted till March 2019). I knew this could be the golden alternative to fit in a three-night keep at The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto and kick off our summer season journey to Asia in fashion.
Since I used to be making bookings at these high-end Bonvoy motels somewhat speculatively again in early 2019, I had truly booked two separate reservations on the Ritz-Carlton for 2 nights and one night time, respectively, however I had no drawback getting them mixed right into a three-night keep for 180,000 Bonvoy factors in whole.
These days, Marriott Bonvoy makes use of a dynamic pricing mannequin, and you’ll count on to pay 88,000–126,000 factors per night time. It goes to indicate how a lot has shifted with this system up to now 4 years.
That’s definitely a whole lot of factors to spend, however might nonetheless show worthwhile in comparison with the money charges, which often hover round ¥120,000–175,000 ($1,200–1,750 CAD) per night time, however can shoot as much as ¥250,000 ($2,500 CAD) or extra throughout in style seasons.
I truly booked two rooms for my keep. The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto, and plenty of motels in Japan for that matter, have a most occupancy of 4 visitors per room. As we had been travelling as a household of 5, we needed to e-book two rooms right here, however we determined to go for the splurge to see what the hype was all about.
Every room price 92,000 factors, which was not less than in direction of the decrease finish of the dynamic pricing. We booked one utilizing factors, and the opposite utilizing a Free Evening Award price 85,000 factors from our Marriott Bonvoy Sensible American Categorical Card, topped up with 7,000 factors.
If reserving the property isn’t doable utilizing factors, you’ll want to get in contact with us for quote. The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto participates in Marriott STARS, a most popular companion program.
You’ll obtain a set of additional perks and advantages throughout your keep, resembling a $100 (USD) credit score and precedence for upgrades, whereas nonetheless paying the identical as the most effective accessible versatile fee for the lodge.
The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto – Location
The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto is situated on the banks of the Kamo River, and boasts spectacular views of the close by Higashiyama mountains.
Simply down the road from the lodge is the Kyoto Gyoen Nationwide Backyard and the Kyoto Imperial Palace.
You’ll even have fast entry to the Nishiki Market, which is simply over 5 minutes by automotive or round 20 minutes away from the lodge on foot.
Kyoto Shiyakusho-mae station is the closest Kyoto Subway station, which is lower than a minute by automotive or simply 5 minutes by foot. From there, you’ll have entry to the remainder of the town.
Kyoto Station is round 10 minutes from the lodge by automotive or round half an hour by transit.
Osaka Itami Worldwide Airport is the closest airport serving the realm, usually dealing with home flights inside Japan, and is situated 60 minutes away by automotive or bus.
Alternatively, it’s an extended trek to Kansai Worldwide Airport, which is the foremost worldwide port of entry into the Kansai area. Relying in your methodology of transportation, you will get to the lodge in 75 minutes by automotive or two hours by transit.
The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto – Test-in
We arrived in Kyoto somewhat late within the day, having taken a night flight from Tokyo Narita to Osaka Itami following our Japan Airways enterprise class flight from Chicago. Kyoto is served by the airports of the Osaka metro area (Itami, Kansai, and Kobe), all of that are a good distance away from the town; Itami was the closest airport, and even from there, we solely arrived in Kyoto by the use of a one-hour airport limousine bus experience.
The zen-like entryway – a small lined roundabout space for autos, adopted by a downward-sloping pathway resulting in the doorway accompanied by a gently flowing stream of water – set the proper tone for our keep, and I returned to take some photographs of the lodge’s attractive exterior within the morning.
In a fashion that you simply may not essentially count on of the Ritz-Carlton model, the lodge’s understated exterior – which principally consists of easy gray stonework obscured by rows of bamboo shoots – makes it really feel rather more like a luxurious personal residence than a lodge and permits it to search out its place effortlessly among the many surrounding neighbourhood.
Following the stone pathway to the doorway, we step into a brief hallway, which ends up in the lodge’s beautiful foyer.
The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto has probably the most elegantly designed lobbies and public areas that I’ve ever seen. Wooden panelling, glass, and polished stone make up the principal textures, illuminated by a refrain of sentimental temper lighting.
The foyer consists of two hallways working the size of the constructing, every consisting of carefully-partitioned areas for the lodge’s cafe, the Pierre Hermé pastry store, and pockets of foyer seating. The 2 hallways overlook a central staircase main all the way down to the decrease degree together with a stupendous fashionable chandelier that ties all of it collectively.
The house leaves a putting first impression with its masterful interpretation of each fashionable structure and Japanese design sensibilities, and we shortly perked up from our sleepy demeanours once we first arrived.
A lodge affiliate sat down with us in one of many seating areas to start the check-in course of, though we’d then proceed into the room itself with a view to full the “in-room check-in” – a Ritz-Carlton model custom that I’ve been handled to at choose properties (although not all of them) up to now.
Regardless of my greatest makes an attempt at “suite-talking” my method into an improve over the chat app for this keep, there was not one forthcoming ultimately, and the check-in affiliate confirmed that we had been upgraded to a Deluxe Kyoto Room with views of the central courtyard.
I gave yet one more half-hearted try on the matter, asking “So there have been no suites accessible as a Titanium member?” and was met with a bold-faced “sorry sir, we don’t have any suites accessible for this keep,” and I didn’t actually have the power to pursue it additional.
As an alternative, we adopted our affiliate into the elevators and made our method as much as the third flooring of the constructing.
The Ritz-Carlton’s hallways retain the identical subtle décor from the foyer, utilizing mushy heat lighting, tempered by a collection of horizontal and vertical wood screens, to create a way of order and serenity.
The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto – Deluxe Kyoto Room
As you enter the room, you see in entrance of you two units of hallways resulting in the bed room: one on the left facet, which is part of the open-concept lavatory, and one other on the suitable facet that serves because the walkway correct.
Let’s proceed down the hallway on the suitable, the place the pantry and minibar is discovered alongside the facet.
Right here, there’s not one however two beverage machines: a Nespresso machine for the morning espresso, in addition to a Particular.T machine by Nestlé, which lets you make tea in the identical method that you’d function a Nespresso.
Persevering with via, we arrive on the bed room and sitting space, which I believed was comparatively spacious for a non-suite room sort. The king mattress was an actual pleasure to sleep in each night time, particularly given our crippling jet lag having simply arrived in Asia.
In the meantime, the sitting space consisted of two chairs and a desk, dealing with throughout from the room’s tv, and flanked by a small chest-of-drawers with my very favorite function of the room on prime: a pleasant little bonsai tree to complete off the room’s tasteful décor and tie all of it along with an extra contact of zen.
A small fruit plate had been left on the desk as our welcome amenity, together with some origami cranes for adornment and a snack field with just a few morsels and bites inside, which was replenished daily.
The room additionally featured a ceremonial tea cupboard with a easy tea set that you could possibly use in the event you needed to arrange your infusion in a extra old-school method in comparison with the Particular.T machine. The Ritz-Carlton additionally catered very nicely to our wants by offering ample bottled water within the room, and leaving us much more bottles on subsequent days after we persistently drank all of them.
Now we’ll transfer on to the toilet, which is open-concept by design, though there are a collection of sliding doorways to shut the house off from the hallway and bed room and create slightly extra privateness.
The lavatory options double sinks, every with its personal mirror with LED lighting, and one other tv embedded throughout the mirrored floor that lies in-between.
Maybe probably the most thrilling factor in regards to the lavatory was the showering space, which included each the bathe and bathtub in a single massive “moist room”, with water from the bathe draining instantly via the gaps within the planks. The bathe’s water stress was additionally a really highly effective blast – inevitably spilling water everywhere in the bathtub as nicely – which made for a really satisfying bathe certainly once we arrived after a protracted journey throughout the Pacific.
Then there’s a separate room for the good Japanese bathroom.
On the very again of the room is a big walk-in closet, the place the bellhops had proactively positioned our luggage. One factor I actually preferred was that the Ritz-Carlton provides each the standard fluffy bathrobes for sporting proper earlier than bedtime, in addition to a lighter set of yukatas (lighter, extra casual variations of a kimono) for sporting casually across the room within the daytime.
Total, whereas I used to be in fact slightly upset to not obtain a set improve at a property I had been so eagerly trying ahead to, I used to be nonetheless extraordinarily glad with our Deluxe Kyoto Room, whose completely soothing décor – as with the remainder of the lodge – made you are feeling splendidly comfortable everytime you had been inside.
Jessy and I shortly fell into a protracted, deep sleep after our arrival, and we awoke at round 5:30am. We frolicked for some time earlier than heading all the way down to our breakfast reservation at Mizuki restaurant 9:30am.
The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto – Grand Deluxe Kamogawa River View Rooms
The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto underwent a mushy renovation in Fall 2022. All of the accent materials and carpets in rooms had been modified, and the carpeting is now a darkish brown with lighter motifs all through, versus the previous checkered sample.
Since we needed to e-book two rooms, we requested if the lodge might put us in adjoining rooms, which they had been joyful to do. The rooms had been each from the identical class, however one had a king mattress and the opposite had two double beds.
The principle a part of the rooms function a sofa reverse from the mattress, which has a minibar situated simply beside it.
In entrance of the home windows, each rooms function a pleasant desk which overlooks the close by river.
Within the loos, the lodge now makes use of refillable toiletry bottles, according to changing into extra eco-friendly.
The Ritz Carlton Kyoto is a family-friendly lodge, providing a number of facilities and providers for kids.
After we made our reservation with the kids, the lodge emailed us forward of time to search out out their ages. Upon arrival, our rooms had kid-sized slippers and robes for all the children.
In addition they had particular lavatory facilities, together with youngsters’s toothbrushes and puppy-shaped sponges for bathing.
These touches had been actually appreciated, particularly since we needed to e-book two rooms to accommodate our whole household.
Total, we discovered that the rooms had been spacious and vibrant, which isn’t all the time the case in motels inside Asia. In case you are a household of three or 4, you possibly can simply slot in one room; nevertheless, in the event you’re a household of 5 or extra, you’ll have to e-book a second room, as they’re fairly strict of their most occupancy coverage.
The lodge provides quite a lot of connecting room choices, however the price of having to e-book two rooms might outweigh the good thing about the kid-friendly facilities they provide.
The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto – Breakfast
One of many methods by which the Kyoto location really units itself aside from different Ritz-Carltons around the globe is in providing complimentary breakfast to Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite members and above, which Ritz-Carlton motels should not obligated to supply underneath this system’s phrases and situations.
Certainly, not solely are Platinum members and above handled to any complimentary breakfast, however they’ve their alternative of the Japanese set breakfast within the Mizuki restaurant, the Western buffet breakfast within the La Locanda Italian restaurant, and both a Japanese or Western breakfast delivered by way of room service at no extra cost.
It’s loopy to me that the Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto provides probably the most beneficiant elite breakfast choices of any lodge I’ve stayed at, they usually don’t even should within the first place – they merely achieve this out of their very own generosity. It’s such a easy method to stand out from their friends and depart a implausible impression on the model’s most loyal visitors, and I can’t assist however want that extra Ritz-Carltons around the globe would comply with swimsuit!
Now, because the Japanese set breakfast requires a little bit of preparation time, visitors are requested to make reservations upfront based mostly on after they plan on heading down for his or her meal. We organized our breakfast instances with our check-in affiliate the earlier night time, having determined to benefit from the Japanese breakfast on our first two mornings, and left the third morning open.
The standard Japanese breakfast is a extremely distinctive ritualistic expertise, and positively made for one of many highlights of our keep.
After taking your seats, servers wearing lengthy black yukatas will start by pouring you some sizzling tea, earlier than handing you a few cleaning juice photographs – grape juice and apple cider on this event – to kick off the meal.
Subsequent up is the nice and cozy tofu tub appetizer, which is served in an ornate wood tub consisting of a pool of sizzling water, by which you’ll discover just a few items of tofu floating round. You pour your self some soy sauce from the kettle, earlier than utilizing your hand-held metallic internet to scoop out some tofu and blend it in your sauce bowl with some condiments on the facet.
Evidently, we had been blown away by the presentation of the breakfast, and we had a number of enjoyable fishing for the tofu each morning (regardless that a easy massive bowl of tofu in all probability would’ve sufficed in sensible phrases).
The principle course took the type of a traditional Japanese breakfast bento field, which was introduced delightfully in a set of vibrant and purposeful dishes and ramekins, all organized neatly in a fan-shaped tray.
The person morsels consisted of assorted creations based mostly on fish (each cooked and uncooked), seafood, meat, tofu, and greens, and it was an extremely satisfying breakfast expertise to make my method across the tray, sampling just a few bites of every portion earlier than transferring on to the subsequent. A bowl of miso soup and a few recent Japanese rice – the marginally sticky form, the place you possibly can just about style the earth on which it was grown – to carry all of it collectively.
Lastly, after we completed our bento containers, we had been provided some tea or espresso to complete off the meal. In contrast to a western breakfast, sipping on espresso in the course of the meal would inevitably conflict in opposition to the flavours, so I might deal with myself to a cappuccino afterwards to offer me that jolt I wanted for the day.
We returned for an additional spherical of the Japanese breakfast on the second morning. Then, on the third day, we determined that there was no level making an attempt out the Western breakfast – in spite of everything, we might get a pleasant buffet unfold of bacon, sausages, and eggs just about anyplace on the earth.
As an alternative, we determined to order breakfast by way of room service, so we positioned our order utilizing the in-room breakfast card – one set of each the Western and Japanese room-service breakfasts – and put it up outdoors our door the night time earlier than.
Proper on cue the next morning, our breakfast was delivered by the use of two separate meals carts, and our in-room server – a person wearing a full swimsuit – took about 5 minutes to painstakingly organize every thing on our eating desk.
For the in-room Japanese breakfast, we had been nonetheless handled to principally the identical programs because the Mizuki restaurant, apart from the juice photographs (and the truth that the tofu got here in a smaller heat bowl this time, somewhat than a full multi-storey wood tub).
Word that the contents of the bento field modifications from everyday; consistent with the ideas conventional Japanese washoku delicacies, the cooks create the unfold based mostly on the freshest components accessible within the mornings.
Then, for our Western in-room breakfast, we had ordered some over-easy eggs with bacon and hash browns, a salad, a fruit bowl, a glass of yogurt, and a field of Pierre Hermé pastries, together with croissants, ache au chocolat, and brioche.
By far probably the most extravagant a part of the breakfast was the truth that it got here with an in-room toaster for the brioche, which our server dutifully helped us arrange alongside the countertop subsequent to the bonsai tree.
I imply, simply look at this breakfast unfold – I merely couldn’t consider my eyes that every one this was accessible on a complimentary foundation for elite members. I’d give full marks to the lodge for his or her breakfast providing, and it was simply the most effective factor about staying right here and made me really feel probably the most enthusiastic about desirous to return.
The Ritz-Carlton Kyoto is among the only a few Ritz-Carltons to incorporate breakfast for visitors, together with children. The Japanese breakfast for kids included a alternative of rice or congee together with miso soup, recent fruit, tamago, the fish of the day, and a facet of greens.
The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto – Different Services
There are just a few extra issues I’d prefer to level out in regards to the lodge that make it particular. First off, there’s the Pierre Hermé pastry boutique situated within the foyer, the place you possibly can take pleasure in all your responsible pleasures from the French patisserie.
Not solely is the boutique very talked-about with lodge visitors, however I noticed many Kyoto locals dropping in to choose up macarons and candy treats for themselves in the course of the day as nicely.
On the lodge’s decrease degree is the health centre, swimming pool, and spa services. I didn’t have a lot time to hit the health club, however I in all probability ought to have, given the sheer quantity of meals we had been consuming throughout our time in Japan.
The pool appeared like it could be a enjoyable place to take a dip, particularly since there’s a sauna proper adjoining to it.
It’s price noting that in contrast to many different Ritz-Carltons around the globe, the Kyoto location doesn’t provide a Ritz-Carlton Membership Lounge. Even when it did, although, we seemingly would’ve needed to pay for entry, and I’m unsure if we’d’ve chosen to take action anyway.
Lastly, regardless that it’s not strictly a part of the lodge, one among my favorite issues about staying right here was the “secret” set of stone steps main from the again of the lodge throughout the light Kamo River that flows previous the property.
It’s a helpful little shortcut throughout the river to get to the prepare station (which you’d take to go to the well-known gates of Fushimi Inari), and I simply thought it was probably the most beautiful factor to have on the Ritz-Carlton’s doorstep, and that it got here to completely signify the lodge’s emphasis on tranquillity and serenity as we used it to make our method out and in of the property.
On our closing morning in Kyoto, after a really beautiful in-room breakfast by which Jessy and I stored swapping seats to pattern each the Western and Japanese meals, we bid a longing goodbye to our room and hopped again on the airport bus for Osaka Itami Airport.
The lodge provides a lot of actions for kids, and might organize balloon twisting, origami folding, and treasure hunts for youths aged 4–12. These are led by their very own in-house employees and will be organized individually or as a part of their Ritz Youngsters Evening, which is when employees will take care of your children for 1.5–2 hours, whilst you can take pleasure in a kid-free dinner.
You may organize for actions by way of electronic mail earlier than your arrival, however you may also e-book them while you get there.
There additionally 20 bicycles that are free to make use of on the lodge, and two of them are sized for kids. Advance reservations are really helpful because of the restricted availability, so you’ll want to get in contact with the lodge upfront in the event you’d like to make use of them.
It’s very nice to go for a leisurely household experience alongside the Kamo River.
At check-out, the recreation staff had customized thanks and farewell notes for the children together with a photograph of them from the day earlier than in the course of the Ritz Youngsters Evening.
These are all very nice touches that make household stays much more gratifying.
So far as I’m involved, the Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto was simply not solely the most effective Ritz-Carlton property I’ve visited, but in addition the most effective metropolis lodge that I’ve stayed at to this point throughout all my travels.
Even with no suite improve, I felt a way of unparalleled consolation when spending time in our Deluxe Kyoto Room, as if all the troubles on my thoughts would flitter away with a single look over on the bonsai tree by the window. Throw within the very beneficiant and extremely memorable elite breakfast providing – each in Mizuki and within the room – and this was a near-perfect lodge keep whose recollections I’ll cherish for a very long time.
Even in the event you don’t usually select to remain at luxurious motels, I’d advocate this lodge as a candidate for a uncommon splurge in the event you’re ever in Kyoto, particularly in the event you’re a Platinum Elite member or above and might benefit from the great breakfast providing.
I’m positively trying ahead to returning to the Ritz-Carlton someday, though the subsequent time I’m in Kyoto, I may be tempted to strive Suiran, a Luxurious Assortment property within the mould of a standard Japanese ryokan that’s additionally identified for being the most effective luxurious redemptions that Marriott Bonvoy has to supply.