In 2014, Tokyu Harvest Club Kyoto Takagamine & VIALA opened on a 116,000㎡ sprawling ground of Shozan Resort Kyoto, which had lacked an accommodation facility till then. I stayed here in mid October this year and LOVED it, and would like to share with you what I saw there. Before getting into a detail I guess I should explain the basic information of this hotel first.
What is Shozan Resort Kyoto?
The history of Shozan Resort Kyoto dates back to the Edo Period. In 1615, Tokugawa Ieyasu, the first Shogun of Tokugawa Shogunate, gave a vast area of land at the foot of Mt. Takagamine in northern Kyoto to Honami Koetsu (本阿弥光悦), the preeminent artist of the time. He was one of the founders of a historical Japanese painting school 'Rinpa (琳派)'. Koetsu created an artist village there, which many artists and craftsmen joined, and art flourished on the land of Takagamine. 336 years later, Masao Matsuyama, the founder of the kimono company 'Shozan', developed this land to establish a 'Factory of tourism surrounded by flowers and greenery'. He built spacious Japanese gardens here and relocated several historical Japanese buildings to be enjoyed by the general public.
What are Tokyu Harvest Club Hotels?
These are the members-only resort hotels run by Tokyu Land Corporation. Prospective members purchase a membership, and share a hotel room with other members (owners). Members receive 30 to 36 hotel coupons per year, and they can be used at any hotel out of 22 Tokyu Harvest Club Hotels in Japan.
How to stay in a members-only Tokyu Harvest Club Hotels?
I'm not a member, but I stayed here. How could I do that? The answer is simple, I KNEW A MEMBER! The easiest way to stay in a members-only hotel is to ask a member to let you stay, isn't it? However, even if you don't know a member you do not have to worry. These Harvest Club Hotels are occasionally available to the general public, and rooms can be booked through well-known travel sites such as Rakuten Travel. I don't know exactly how it works, but probably when they have vacancies, or for commercial purposes they make some of the rooms available to the public (non-members) once in a while. Also, some members ocassionally sell hotel coupons on Yahoo Auction, so buying a coupon at an auction could be an alternative. In any case, if you are lucky you may be able to acquire a hotel coupon to enjoy a stay in one of these Tokyu resort hotels.
Tokyu Harvest Kyoto Takagamine & VIALA
Now is the time to discuss this newly-opened hotel. As one of the members-only exclusive resort hotels of Tokyu, it is destined to be gorgeous of course. But the best thing about this hotel is its location. As I wrote previously, the hotel is located inside the spacious and historical Shozan Resort. So, although it's close to the center of Kyoto City (12 min. train ride + 15 min. taxi), you'll feel as though you are in the middle of an old forest, away from the hustle and bustle of busy tourists flocking to the famous temples and shrines of Kyoto. However, you'll find these temples within walking distance from here, and if you so desire you can visit these tourist spots easily. In case you just want to relax, the two well-equipped, luxurious onsen baths and a foot bath will soothe you. There are beautiful gardens and historic old buildings inside the resort, so you don't really need to make the effort to go out, and end up returning dog tired. I stayed here one night and two days, but couldn't see all the things inside the resort. It's that spacious! As for food, there is one Italian restaurant and one lounge inside the hotel, and five restaurants scattered on the resort's premises. I had dinner at one of them and the food tasted so good! Guest rooms are great, too. You can see the photos of a room where I stayed here.
Since there aren't many 'resort hotels' equipped with onsen baths in Kyoto City, I believe this new resort hotel can make an attractive addition to your hotel list in Kyoto!