Kyoto Royal Hotel and Spa, Kyoto
THE HOTEL: A member of Japan's 19-strong Ishin Hotel Group, the Kyoto Royal Hotel & Spa is located in the heart of downtown Kyoto. The city is Japan's second biggest destination for MICE activities – after Tokyo – and is the historical heart of the country. The hotel has 398 guestrooms including 40 suites across various categories.
THE CHECK-IN: I arrived early afternoon at the hotel and, although quickly attended to by reception staff, there was a short wait to be allocated an available room.
THE ROOM: My room, a 38m2 Kotoran suite, was located on the hotel's top (tenth) floor along with the spa. A long panoramic window filled the room with natural daylight and looked out across the city rooftops. The low-ceilinged room had modern, smart and simple decor in reds, black and white. There were two large single beds, a sofa, table, desk, flatscreen TV, fridge, tea and coffee facilities, wardrobe, hairdryer and free wired internet. The bathroom had a large whirlpool bath and good, powerful separate shower.
THE FACILITIES: A good breakfast buffet was served in the busy Prandia restaurant and featured both a Western and Japanese selection. The restaurant – which looks out onto one of Kyoto's busiest streets – also offers a reasonably priced Italian set menu (£12.50) or buffet (£19.50) at lunchtimes and an a la carte menu in the evenings. The cosy Haven Bar has a half price happy hour from 5-7pm. The tranquil Kotoran Spa is complemented by a beauty salon and yoga studio in a basement arcade, together with a dim sum buffet and, intruigingly, a fortune teller.
THE BUSINESS: The hotel has a multitude of meeting and event spaces, the largest of which are the Royal and Queen Halls which can seat up to 500 and 300 theatre-style respectively. There was free wifi in the lobby.
THE VERDICT: Its understated exterior doesn't do justice to the hotel with its high service standards, range of facilities and unfussy guestrooms. A seemingly even split between domestic and international guests is testimony to its popularity, and it's in an excellent central location too.
THE DETAILS:Kyoto Royal Hotel & Spa, Sanjo-Agaru, Kawaramachi, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, 604-8005, Japan. Room are available in September from as little as £80 per night. See: www.ishinhotels.com/kyoto-royal/en
Reviewed by Andy Hoskins (2012)