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“Best Hotel in Japan”

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Hotel Granvia Kyoto
Ranked #12 of 407 Hotels / Ryokan in Kyoto
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 24 November 2008

I had stayed at the Granvia in Kyoto in 2004. So when I decided to return to Kyoto this fall, I booked a room at the Granvia again. I stayed two nights at the very end of October.

I arrived via Shinkansen train from Odawara. Even though I had been there before it is still a big train station and a tad confusing. Some one actually figured out that I looked a bit lost and directed me to the proper escalator. TIP - as you come up from the train levels, head for the MAIN Entrance/Exit to Kyoto station. As you head toward the doors of the main entrance there's an escalator on your right just before you would leave the building. It goes up the one level to the hotel. Conversely, if you coming to the station after a day of sightseeing, enter through the main entrance and immediately look for the escalator to your left

The lobby is fairly big. Someone staff will immediately help you with your luggage and direct you to check in. The check in process was done very easily and the staff all speak English.

You go to your room and your luggage will be sent up shortly. However as soon as I entered the room, I saw twin beds and I had requested a bigger bed queen or king. I called the front desk.

In less than 5 minutes, a bellman arrived at my room with my luggage and the key to a different room on a different floor. This one had the queen bed.

The rooms are very well appointed . TIP: ask for a room with North view so you will be able to see a grand view of Kyoto. The South view rooms overlook the train tracks below.

The room had a big bed, lots of closet space, an expresso coffee maker, a mini-bar which I didn't use. The Coffee is complimentary. The bathroom was very nice with a full compliment of toiletry articles including razor, hair brush, combs, tooth brush. There's lots of towels, the room is well lighted, and bigger than most bathrooms in Japanese hotels.

There was a living room area with a small sofa and two chairs, plus a flat panel TV. All in all the room is spacious. very comfortable, beautifully decorated and spotlessly clean. They provide you with a daily newspaper as well.

I had the Buffet breakfast which is in a bustling restaurant on lobby level. It was excellent and the coffee was superb.

When I had been in Kyoto before I had gone to see the Ginkaku-ji Temple and the Path of Philosophy also known as the Philosopher's Walk. I had taken a taxi to to the temple, and it ran me over $20 US. This time I consulted with the Concierge and he gave me a map, and explained which bus to take.

The buses are directly in front of the Kyoto station. In fact the bus to this temple is almost the first one after you exit the station. TIP: In Kyoto you enter the bus in the rear and you pay when you exit at the front of the bus. I think since this Temple is a must see , this bus is usually going to be crowded. They run fairly often and the Ginkaku-ji is the last stop, so don't be afraid to step aside and let others cram their way on. And I think the bus fair is quite small - either just over two hundred yen or just under. BY taking the bus I saved nearly twenty dollars that I had spent on cab fare in 2004. You should have some 100 yen coins at the ready rather than ask the driver to change a larger bill.

Kyoto also has a subway train system as well but I didn't use them.

I dined both of my night in the Gion District. From the hotel it is a hefty walk of close to a half hour. The charm of the Gion district is the shopping, many choices for dinner, and the likelihood of seeing younger Geisha trainees called Mako's walking to work in their ornate Geisha costumes.

Summary: If you're visiting Japan then you should visit Kyoto. And if you go to Kyoto by train then the Granvia is the perfect hotel.

  • Stayed: October 2008, travelled solo
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3  Thank SarasotaMike
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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1,720 - 1,724 of 3,170 reviews

Reviewed 8 November 2008

We stayed four times in this hotel in the past 15 years, it is our first choice whenever we are in Kyoto. I only joined TripAdvisor recently, this report is based on our most recent stay at the end of October. We were there for 5 days.

The hotel is as welcoming, clean and comfortable as ever, the high standard has been maintained all these years. The rooms are plesantly decorated, airly, very spacious by Japanese hotel standard. And free internet. Speed test showed over 20Mb/s !

Much has been said about the hotel's lacation, it is part of the Kyoto JR station building complex. In addition to the hotel, there is a 7 story highend department store with 2 basement floors of most amazing food hall and 2 top floors of restaurents of various price levels. There is also an underground mall popular with the young, again with plenty of coffee shops and restaurants. With more coffee shops and restaurents as part of the station itself, I can assure you that you will never go thirsty or hungry.

As for travel, one can access the bullet trains, local trains, metro and buses just by going down the hotel escalator. It is hard to imagine many city hotels anywhere in the world so well situated. It is important to add that all these are absolutely clean and smart, not something one tends to associate with railway stations !

A few tips. Any one arriving by shinkanshen (bullet train) and lugging all the luggage, do not enter the small hotel entrance when you see the hotel sign amongst the shops in the station corridor towards the North exit. This enters the hotel from the back and you will need to drag all the luggage up and down steps along very narrow corridors to get to the foyer. Go all the way towards the staion main entrance hall and the hotel is right in front, all served by escalators. Ther hotel foot print is like a long H with all the rooms facing out, the center link is where the lifts are, if your room is at the tips of the H, expect a long walk. If you have walking difficulties, request a room near a lift.

Lastly we were there at the worst time of exchange rate, planned the trip when it was 205Yan to Stilrling, it was abou 145 when we were there...! But it was worth it.

  • Stayed: October 2008, travelled on business
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1  Thank lonestar64
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 November 2008

Upon arriving at the Hotel Granvia Kyoto we were greeted graciously and ushered to the front desk for check-in. Our luggage had already arrived, which we had forwarded the day before from Tokyo. The hotel will kindly hold your baggage for you if you should send it ahead of your arrival, arrive early or for a late checkout. Check-in was expedient and we were personally shown to our room. We had a superior twin room which had a great view of the city and of the trains going by. We were high up enough to not hear a lot of noise so that was a plus. The room had wonderful,comfortable beds, robes and slippers for guest use, flat screen T.V, internet access, closet, ample drawers, safe, digital wall clock, hot water dispenser, trouser press, fridge and snacks-but items you eat or use will be tacked on to your bill. Only the water was complimentary. The bathroom was very spacious with quite a bit toiletries provided- toothbrush/toothpaste, razor, cotton swabs, brush, comb, hair band, shower cap, etc. There was a toilet/bidet and a Japanese/Western bath area. We loved the shower set up - from the overhead shower spray, handheld shower spray, and a center "body massage" water spray. Water pressure was excellent! The hotel itself is situated above Kyoto Station so its location is ultra convenient and central to quite a few sites. There are also the city buses that depart right in front of the hotel and you can buy a 1 day city bus pass for only 500yen. This was a great value as the buses go to the all major sightseeing spots and the ticket office provides you a detail map on what bus(es) to take for your next stop. The hotel is adjacent to the Isetan department store which has a market and affordable food stalls in the basement as well as restaurants on the top several floors. The hotel does have its own restaurants but they do cost more. Within walking distance are more eateries, banks, stores, and gardens. We did notice a lot of bicycle riders out there and it seemed an ideal way to get around. The Kyoto post office is also nearby and has ATMs that will work with most foreign ATM bank cards (Cirrus, Plus, Visa, MC, Amex, etc.). Foreign bank cards will usually not work at any of the banks themselves. For currency exchange you can go the Nippon Travel Agency right within Kyoto Station or also at the nearby Banks (Tokyo Mistubishi Bank or Bank of Kyoto). To note currency exchange at the banks are done on weekdays from about 10:00/10:30am til about 2:00pm, but these hours may vary. Finally the staff and service was impeccable throughout our entire stay. It always amazed us how far down the hallway we would be and a hotel staff member would already be bowing and greeting us sweetly. We'll be back!

  • Stayed: October 2008, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank cinnamon808
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 November 2008

Had a little trouble finding the hotel at first but once familiar had no problem. We had a superior room with city view and separate shower / bath. The shower was really a wet room and had the best body bar shower I have had. There was complimentary water each day and an ice machine just down the corridor, which we used a lot. All toiletries were provided in the room but I never use hotel shampoo etc so can't comment on the quality. I don't think pump action means anything as I have been in hotels with these filled with Molten Brown products. Free internet access in the room was also very welcome. The buffet restaurant wasn't very authentic (supposedly Thai) but the same for breakfast was very good. Location was superb for buses, subway and restaurants in the station but beware that a lot of restaurants close early (9pm). Some people might prefer a hotel more centrally located for the sights and nightlife, particularly as public transport finishes by midnight but I was happy where we were. I have given 5 out of 5 but would really give 4.5 because you shouldn't have to pay for fitness centre in 5 star hotels in my opinion (even though I didn't use it).

  • Stayed: October 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
1  Thank Blackcat2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 October 2008

Oustanding.

On top of the railway lines so a great location.

  • Stayed: April 2008, travelled solo
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1  Thank Owen J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hotel Granvia Kyoto

Address: Shiokojisagaru, Karasumadori, Shimogyo-ku | JR Kyoto Station Central Gate, Kyoto 600-8216, Kyoto Prefecture
Region: Japan > Kinki > Kyoto Prefecture > Kyoto > Shimogyo-ku
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #12 of 407 Hotels / Ryokan in Kyoto
Price Range: $186 - $636 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Hotel Granvia Kyoto 4.5*
Number of rooms: 537
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Beautiful 15-story hotel atop Kyoto Station - Broadband connection in all guest and banquet rooms - Easy access to Kansai Airport. ... more   less 
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