Conde Nast Traveller has named Kyoto the best city in Asia, so it is no surprise that it nurtures luxurious hotels with very high standards of hospitality. If relaxing or chilling out is the goal of your vacation, Kyoto Royal Hotel and Spa would be a good choice. When you hear of the word 'Spa' you can already feel released, even before you step into the Kotoran spa on the top floor. However this hotel offers you more than just spa facilities. From its location near the subway, to its feature restaurants, there are many ways to enjoy this hotel.
Being high above the main boulevard of Kyoto, it provides a box seat view of the festivities around the city. From the Gion Festival floats outside your room in July, to a stunning view of the Daimonji Fire Festival on an August evening, the thought of being part of the festival from the comfort of your own room is very blissful and luxurious.
Their newly renovated rooms set the scene for a day of relaxation as you spend time with your loved ones, the air conditioned rooms being a great place to be when the sun is just a bit too hot in the middle of a summer’s afternoon. The rich burgundy or sandstone coloured feature walls contrasts the dark brown wooden desk set against the snow white wall and bed sheets, all in harmony with each other. Chic and stylish touches include an Aritayaki tea set, a fusion of traditional and modern. From the outlook of the hotel to the room design, it is through these little details that remind you of Japanese sensitivities. You can also relax with a deep bath in the compact ensuite bathroom, and while they don’t have a Jacuzzi or spa, everything is within easy reach.
This blend of various cultural traditions continues with the hotel's casual restaurant Prandia. While its name belies its Italian heritage, its cuisine is broader than the name suggests. Despite its physical signposts to European culture, from the stainless steel metal cutlery and kitchen and the vintage bronze lights, its chefs covers both European and Japanese cuisine. For its breakfast buffet, there is a selection of Fresh fruit juice and coffee, as well as miso soup and Japanese tea. Or you might like to try baguettes with jam or Japanese tamago omelettes and Kyoto style tofu. For an all-inclusive price you can enjoy both European and Japanese cuisine. You can live like a king and enjoy such a wide variety of food in a meal. They are also open for lunch and dinner showcasing a variety of seasonal dishes which be enjoyed from the buffet or a la carte menu. The Italian set lunch menu is great value with three light courses including antipasto, dessert and coffee for just 1,500 yen.
For me however, the standout feature of this hotel is its secret, the Haven lounge. Hidden behind the modern renovated lobby, it is like a time capsule that has retained the 40 year old vintage of this hotel with its original furnishings. From the shiny chesterfield leather couches to the polished wooden bar, it captures it’s the elegance of a gentlemen’s club or an old reading room. Browsing the delicate cupboards under the warm light beams of bronze lamps or having a whisky with an old friend, it is like being transported to a life in generations past. Likewise in the nearby Teramachi and Ebisugawa districts, you can browse for antiques and vintage furniture, to recapture the feeling of old world charm at home.