The price was nice and the hotel was even better. Hotel Active is everything I could hope for in a budget hotel while travelling in Japan. Its location is convenient, the building is new, clean and well maintained and the amenities include a laundry room, complimentary breakfast, and baggage storage prior to check in.
If I could describe the decor and atmosphere of the building it reminds me of a place you could have furnished by playing the Maxis videogame "The Sims". If you know what I mean look at my pictures and perhaps you'll see a bit of what I mean. Nothing lavish but extremely modern and quite trendy.
My advice and detailed comments are as follows:
1. Very close to the Kanayam-cho Hiroden (Streetcar) stop. It's the 3rd station from the JR station on the 1 (orange sign) ,2 (red) ,6 (Yellow) trams. The tram stops at each stop so don't worry about requesting a stop just worry about getting off. You will have crossed over 2 rivers by the time you get to the hotel. When you do get off the tram, look UP - the most dominant feature of the hotel is a massive black and white sign on top that says "HOTEL ACTIVE!". Peace Park is about a 10 minute walk from the hotel at a reasonable pace.
2. Check-in: If possible pay cash - our 8900 yen room (as per reservation) drops to 7500 yen so bring extra to account for this expense. Check-in front desk English level is not bad. Other staff may know just enough words to get the point across. Elevators are to the left upon entry, front desk is directly ahead, lounge chairs/couches/vending machines to your left and right. You can leave your baggage until check-in which must be at 3pm because it's not a big hotel and cleaners come at 12pm.
3. Room floor lobbies: When you elevator door opens at your floor you will see that certain amenities normally in your room are available in a communal space where you can obtain a kettle to bring into your room, extra desk lamps (for lighting beyond what is in the room), and a Nescafe machine and Microwave.
4. Room - A work desk, mirror, and the bed (which was flush to the wall on one side) dominate the smallish (but not the smallest I've ever seen in Japan) room mostly decorated in white, black, dark brown and silver. Alarm clock built into bed headrest, GREAT buckwheat pillows, slightly hard mattress relative to western standards. The work desk includes a small Toshiba LCD with typical pay per view card machine below, a mini-fridge and of course a "Sims"-ish fake wheatgrass plant and phone. Desk space was long/narrow but adequate for my needs. Free internet is not wireless so you connect via LAN cable. No closet however to save space - just 3 hangers. Window is a tiny rectangle but being in Japan - it's part of the package. Bathroom is typical pre-fab but water pressure is good. Toilet seat is extra warm and the bidet works just fine!
5. Complimentary Breakfast Buffet - When you check-in you will be requested to pick up a breakfast card and a 20 minute time slot between 7-9am. It's all for managing space constraints and they don't check your card. when you come to breakfast. Breakfast is in the "Guest Saloon" to the right of the check-in counter which is a room with a large main table that seats about 30 and 15 additional seats on seats facing the window. The communal table is more fun and I'd recommend it.
Food selection is huge. From beginning to end:
- Juices (Grapefruit, Orange Juice, Apple Juice, Milk)
- Hot water/tea station
- Onigiri (triangle shaped rice "balls") with various toppings (seaweed, furiakake, etc.)
- Pickled vegetables (daikon, cucumber), potato salad, eggs (lightly tempura covered omelette, hard boiled)
- Pastries and toast (toaster)
- Cereal (Chocolate O's, Corn Flakes - bleached and non-bleached, fruit granola with milk to serve
- Hot items - Mackerel (1 day steamed the next day breaded with Thousand Island dressing)
- Shrimp wonton, spring rolls
- Scrambled eggs (runny, with some sort of yellow sauce, sausage
- Soup station (Nescafe machine with beef consomme, cream corn soup, miso soup) - miso bowls are separate
- Salad and fruit station - Agar jelly with fruit cup variety fruit, thinly sliced cabbage, lettuce, grape tomatoes, wakame for salad with 5-6 different dressings (I tried the sesame)
Unpretentious staff who are friendly and helpful top of the experience. Oh yes, and you pay for your room in advance so check out consists of simply returning your key. I'm in Kyoto at a hotel that is 6000 yen more expensive (which is budget already) and I get less than half of what I got here. I highly recommend this hotel for the balance of potential pros and cons emerging from the description above.
I love this hotel because it gives me everything I need - no more and no less.
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