Freshly opened in February 2014, this 5-star hotel is a must-see in Kyoto. It is even today the most luxurious hotel in the city and this adventure is a success: I was amazed by the beauty of the place and its elegance. Follow me for a visit in pictures!
3pm : Check in in a Japanese-style welcome
It is just 3 pm and I finally reach Kyoto. At the top of the ranking of the best cities in the world to travel by the famous Travel + Leisure, this city of Japan is renowned for its many temples and shrines (there are over 1600) of which 17 are World Heritage Sites UNESCO. And one quickly understands this enthusiasm: a Japanese culture omnipresent with many places to visit but also the ceremonies of tea, calligraphy … in short typical experiences are common.
Located a 10-minute taxi ride from the train station, the Ritz Carlton has a beautiful location on the banks of the Kamogawa River and enjoys views of the Higashiyama mountain in the distance. The arrival is majestral: a lobby in volume, a very chic decoration that perfectly blends the zen of Japanese culture and noble materials, I am under the spell!
The designer drew inspiration from the aesthetics of a traditional Meiji house to decorate the place and you can find at every corner works of local artists. I am accompanied in my room for a personalized check in around a green tea, typical of the Japanese hospitality without reproach.
3.30pm : A short tour
The 134 rooms and suites are divided into several categories: the most beautiful are obviously facing the river and those on the back overlook a Japanese garden. The tones are classic, different tones of beige even to brown, but the details are numerous: for example the bathroom with the famous sakuras flowers (cherry blossoms) on the walls or even the television inlaid in the mirror. The hotel sets the bar very high with the “Ritz Carlton Suite” which alone makes 212m2. A huge living room with a fireplace, a private dining room, a huge bathroom, the absolute luxury to stay in Kyoto.
4pm : Time for the Afternoon Tea
The Lobby Lounge is the ideal spot for the midafternoon. Comfortably positioned in a sofa in the heart of this lounge/library, I can enjoy an afternoon tea with French inspiration because as other assets of the place, Pierre Hermé has installed a shop there. He offers chocolates, macaroons and pastries and tea time is the perfect time to taste his creations. First class honors for the specially designed macaroon for the Ritz Kyoto, matcha and sesame flavor. For the panorama, we take advantage of an impressive waterfall that faces the hotel on several floors, visible through the large bay windows, a real haven!
6pm: Pamper yourself at the spa
For a perfect cocooning, head towards the spa where the work of the materials is remarkable: wood and granite perfectly dress this place of relaxation. It offers 7 treatment rooms, a relaxation room, a heated swimming pool of 20m, a hammam and a sauna. For the more sporty, a fitness room is available 24 hours a day. We emerge transformed, pacified, ideal to relax after a day to pace the most beautiful temples of the city. The menu offers a wide range of treatments including the famous Ryokucha Serenity Ritual, their signature treatment based on green tea. As for the products, they are signed ESPA.
8pm: Gastronomy in the spotlight
For dinner, those who wish to stay on a 100% local gastronomy they can take the Mizuki which offers 4 different classics of Japanese cuisine: a kaiseki meal (assortment of several dishes brought together), sushi, tempura (vegetables or fish) and a teppanyaki (cooking on hot plate facing the chef who cooks for you). You will understand that there is plenty of choice, but all in a very intimate atmosphere because there are very few seats for this restaurant.
For Italian cuisine lovers, La Locanda subtly puts all of your senses in alert thanks to the chef Valentino Palmisano. I did not have the opportunity to dine there but rather to have lunch there and I was under the spell of the tasty cuisine of this young chef of 34 years. It perfectly combines the traditional recipes of its country with Japanese ingredients.
His table is a great value of the region, a large number of Japanese came for example for a business lunch. At the end of the meal, I had the privilege of having a long conversation with the chef who explained his career path and his cooking, a very rewarding experience. He even invited me the same evening to come and taste his signature dish, his spaghetti with tomato which are a true delight.
The next day, already the time to leave…
It is with regret that I leave this beautiful place! It is time for me to continue my journey to the land of the rising sun. But one thing is certain, on my next trip to Kyoto, I will not miss pay a visit.
- Standard rooms from 420 €, book yours on the Booking website
- Consider making a selection of the temples and shrines you would like to see as there are so many that it is better to have a little head in mind what you want to visit. If I can help you it will be with pleasure!
- For inescapable temples such as the Golden Pavilion or the Silver Pavilion, for example, there are many people, so opt for the opening.
- I was accompanied by an on-site guide who is great! He will prepare a custom plan, do not hesitate to ask me in the comments his contact.