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 the whole chain. I used to be very desirous to expertise it for myself throughout a Summer 2019 visit to Asia, because it had been on the high of my must-stay listing for fairly a while.
Amy additionally visited this property along with her household on a Spring Break 2023 trip 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 until March 2019). I knew this might be the golden alternative to fit in a three-night keep at The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto and kick off our summer trip to Asia in type.
Since I used to be making bookings at these high-end Bonvoy motels quite speculatively again in early 2019, I had really booked two separate reservations on the Ritz-Carlton for 2 nights and one night time, respectively, however I had no downside getting them mixed right into a three-night keep for 180,000 Bonvoy factors in complete.
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 point out how a lot has shifted with this system prior to now 4 years.
That’s actually a variety of factors to spend, however might nonetheless show worthwhile in comparison with the money charges, which normally 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 widespread seasons.
I really 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 have 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 value 92,000 factors, which was at the very least in direction of the decrease finish of the dynamic pricing. We booked one utilizing factors, and the opposite utilizing a Free Night Award price 85,000 factors from our Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card, topped up with 7,000 factors.
If reserving the property isn’t doable utilizing factors, be sure you get in contact with us for quote. The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto participates in Marriott STARS, a most well-liked companion program.
You’ll obtain a collection of additional perks and advantages throughout your keep, corresponding to a $100 (USD) credit score and precedence for upgrades, whereas nonetheless paying the identical as the perfect out there versatile fee for the lodge.
Guide a lodge stick with Prince of Journey by Marriott STARS and luxuriate in unique extra advantages for free of charge to you, together with:
- Day by day breakfast for 2 visitors
- Room improve, topic to availability at check-in
- $100 (USD) property credit score
- In-person welcome and customized welcome amenity and be aware
- Third, Fourth, or Fifth Night time Free at choose properties
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 automobile 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 automobile or simply 5 minutes by foot. From there, you’ll have entry to the remainder of town.
Kyoto Station is round 10 minutes from the lodge by automobile or round half an hour by transit.
Osaka Itami Worldwide Airport is the closest airport serving the world, usually dealing with home flights inside Japan, and is situated 60 minutes away by automobile or bus.
However, it’s an extended trek to Kansai Worldwide Airport, which is the most important worldwide port of entry into the Kansai area. Relying in your methodology of transportation, you may get to the lodge in 75 minutes by automobile or two hours by transit.
The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto – Test-in
We arrived in Kyoto quite late within the day, having taken a night flight from Tokyo Narita to Osaka Itami following our Japan Airlines business 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 town; Itami was the closest airport, and even from there, we solely arrived in Kyoto by means of a one-hour airport limousine bus journey.
The zen-like entryway – a small lined roundabout space for automobiles, 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 way 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 way more like a luxurious non-public 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 results in the lodge’s gorgeous foyer.
The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto has one of the vital 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 soppy temper lighting.
The foyer consists of two hallways operating 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 right down to the decrease degree together with a fantastic fashionable chandelier that ties all of it collectively.
The house leaves a hanging 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) prior to now.
Regardless of my finest makes an attempt at “suite-talking” my method into an improve over the chat app for this keep, there was not one forthcoming in the long run, and the check-in affiliate confirmed that we had been upgraded to a Deluxe Kyoto Room with views of the central courtyard.
I gave another half-hearted try on the matter, asking “So there have been no suites out there as a Titanium member?” and was met with a bold-faced “sorry sir, we don’t have any suites out there for this keep,” and I didn’t actually have the vitality to pursue it additional.
As an alternative, we adopted our affiliate into the elevators and made our method as much as the third ground of the constructing.
The Ritz-Carlton’s hallways retain the identical refined décor from the foyer, utilizing gentle heat lighting, tempered by a collection of horizontal and vertical picket 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 toilet, and one other on the best facet that serves because the walkway correct.
Let’s proceed down the hallway on the best, 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 by, we arrive on the bed room and sitting space, which I believed was comparatively spacious for a non-suite room kind. 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, going through throughout from the room’s tv, and flanked by a small chest-of-drawers with my very favorite characteristic of the room on high: a pleasant little bonsai tree to complete off the room’s tasteful décor and tie all of it along with a further 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 a couple of morsels and bites inside, which was replenished day by day.
The room additionally featured a ceremonial tea cupboard with a easy tea set that you might use if you happen to 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 constantly 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 just a little 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 essentially the most thrilling factor in regards to the toilet was the showering space, which included each the bathe and bathtub in a single giant “moist room”, with water from the bathe draining immediately by 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 sensible Japanese bathroom.
On the very again of the room is a big walk-in closet, the place the bellhops had proactively positioned our bags. One factor I actually favored was that the Ritz-Carlton presents each the same old 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.
General, whereas I used to be in fact just a little disillusioned to not obtain a collection improve at a property I had been so eagerly trying ahead to, I used to be nonetheless extraordinarily happy with our Deluxe Kyoto Room, whose completely soothing décor – as with the remainder of the lodge – made you are feeling splendidly comfortable everytime you have 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 right 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 gentle renovation in Fall 2022. All of the accent materials and carpets in rooms have been modified, and the carpeting is now a darkish brown with lighter motifs all through, versus the outdated checkered sample.
Since we needed to e-book two rooms, we requested if the lodge might put us in adjoining rooms, which they have been completely satisfied to do. The rooms have been each from the identical class, however one had a king mattress and the opposite had two double beds.
The primary a part of the rooms characteristic a sofa reverse from the mattress, which has a minibar situated simply beside it.
In entrance of the home windows, each rooms characteristic a pleasant desk which overlooks the close by river.
Within the loos, the lodge now makes use of refillable toiletry bottles, in keeping with changing into extra eco-friendly.
The Ritz Carlton Kyoto is a family-friendly lodge, providing a number of facilities and providers for youngsters.
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 youngsters.
Additionally they had particular toilet facilities, together with kids’s toothbrushes and puppy-shaped sponges for bathing.
These touches have been actually appreciated, particularly since we needed to e-book two rooms to accommodate our whole household.
General, we discovered that the rooms have been spacious and vibrant, which isn’t at all times the case in motels inside Asia. If you’re a household of three or 4, you may simply slot in one room; nevertheless, if you happen to’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 presents quite a lot of connecting room choices, however the price of having to e-book two rooms could outweigh the good thing about the kid-friendly facilities they provide.
The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto – Breakfast
One of many methods through which the Kyoto location really units itself other than different Ritz-Carltons all over the world is in providing complimentary breakfast to Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite members and above, which Ritz-Carlton motels usually are not obligated to supply below 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 presents one of the vital beneficiant elite breakfast choices of any lodge I’ve stayed at, and so they don’t even must within the first place – they merely achieve this out of their very own generosity. It’s such a easy strategy to stand out from their friends and depart a unbelievable impression on the model’s most loyal visitors, and I can’t assist however want that extra Ritz-Carltons all over the world would comply with swimsuit!
Now, because the Japanese set breakfast requires a little bit of preparation time, visitors are requested to make reservations prematurely 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 normal Japanese breakfast is a extremely distinctive ritualistic expertise, and undoubtedly made for one of many highlights of our keep.
After taking your seats, servers wearing lengthy black yukatas will start by pouring you some scorching 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 picket tub consisting of a pool of scorching water, through which you’ll discover a couple of items of tofu floating round. You pour your self some soy sauce from the kettle, earlier than utilizing your hand-held steel internet to scoop out some tofu and blend it in your sauce bowl with some condiments on the facet.
For sure, we have been blown away by the presentation of the breakfast, and we had numerous enjoyable fishing for the tofu each morning (despite the fact that a easy giant bowl of tofu most likely would’ve sufficed in sensible phrases).
The primary course took the type of a basic 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 varied 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 a couple of bites of every portion earlier than transferring on to the subsequent. A bowl of miso soup and a few contemporary Japanese rice – the marginally sticky variety, the place you may nearly style the earth on which it was grown – to carry all of it collectively.
Lastly, after we completed our bento bins, we have been supplied 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 towards the flavours, so I might deal with myself to a cappuccino afterwards to present 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 attempting out the Western breakfast – in any case, we might get a pleasant buffet unfold of bacon, sausages, and eggs just about anyplace on this planet.
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 exterior our door the night time earlier than.
Proper on cue the next morning, our breakfast was delivered by means of two separate meals carts, and our in-room server – a person wearing a full swimsuit – took about 5 minutes to painstakingly organize every part on our eating desk.
For the in-room Japanese breakfast, we have been nonetheless handled to principally the identical programs because the Mizuki restaurant, aside from the juice photographs (and the truth that the tofu got here in a smaller heat bowl this time, quite than a full multi-storey picket tub).
Observe that the contents of the bento field modifications from daily; in step with the rules conventional Japanese washoku delicacies, the cooks create the unfold based mostly on the freshest elements out there 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 essentially 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 imagine my eyes that each one this was out there 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 perfect factor about staying right here and made me really feel essentially the most enthusiastic about desirous to return.
The Ritz-Carlton Kyoto is likely one of the only a few Ritz-Carltons to incorporate breakfast for visitors, together with children. The Japanese breakfast for youngsters included a alternative of rice or congee together with miso soup, contemporary fruit, tamago, the fish of the day, and a facet of greens.
The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto – Different Services
There are a couple of extra issues I’d wish 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 may bask in your entire responsible pleasures from the French patisserie.
Not solely is the boutique extremely popular with lodge visitors, however I noticed many Kyoto locals dropping in to select 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 most likely ought to have, given the sheer quantity of meals we have been consuming throughout our time in Japan.
The pool appeared like it might be a enjoyable place to take a dip, particularly since there’s a sauna proper adjoining to it.
It’s price noting that not like many different Ritz-Carltons all over the world, the Kyoto location doesn’t provide a Ritz-Carlton Membership Lounge. Even when it did, although, we probably would’ve needed to pay for entry, and I’m unsure if we’d’ve chosen to take action anyway.
Lastly, despite the fact that it’s not strictly a part of the lodge, one in every of 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 essentially the most pretty factor to have on the Ritz-Carlton’s doorstep, and that it got here to completely characterize the lodge’s emphasis on tranquillity and serenity as we used it to make our method out and in of the property.
On our ultimate morning in Kyoto, after a really beautiful in-room breakfast through 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 offers a number of activities for children, and may organize balloon twisting, origami folding, and treasure hunts for youths aged 4–12. These are led by their very own in-house workers and might be organized individually or as a part of their Ritz Youngsters Night time, which is when workers will take care of your children for 1.5–2 hours, when you can get pleasure from a kid-free dinner.
You may organize for actions by way of e-mail earlier than your arrival, however you may as well 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 youngsters. Advance reservations are really helpful because of the restricted availability, so be sure you get in contact with the lodge prematurely if you happen to’d like to make use of them.
It’s very nice to go for a leisurely household journey alongside the Kamo River.
At check-out, the recreation group had customized thanks and farewell notes for the youngsters together with a photograph of them from the day earlier than in the course of the Ritz Youngsters Night time.
These are all very nice touches that make household stays much more pleasant.
So far as I’m involved, the Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto was simply not solely the perfect Ritz-Carlton property I’ve visited, but additionally the perfect metropolis lodge that I’ve stayed at to date 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 if you happen to don’t usually select to remain at luxurious motels, I’d suggest this lodge as a candidate for a uncommon splurge if you happen to’re ever in Kyoto, particularly if you happen to’re a Platinum Elite member or above and may benefit from the great breakfast providing.
I’m undoubtedly trying ahead to returning to the Ritz-Carlton at some point, though the subsequent time I’m in Kyoto, I may additionally be tempted to attempt 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.
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