We travelled across Japan for 21 days on a budget and quickly learned that the cheapest accommodation options were business hotels. Having stayed in 12 or so such hotels, the Almont was undoubtedly the best value for money. The room itself is normal Japanese hotel sized (ie pretty small) but it was spotlessly clean, with excellent amenities and stylish decor. It feels new and modern. What sets the hotel apart is also its very large lobby and attentive staff; upon walking in this feels like a 4 or 5 star hotel. We also appreciated the little touches such as the plentiful supply of guest umbrellas and being given a face towel at the door when we arrived at the hotel in the rain.
The location could however put some people off. For us, it was great as it is a 5 min walk to Kyoto train station which was our base to go to Nara and various local destinations with our JR pass. The bus to east Kyoto also leaves from there. However if you are looking to stay in picturesque Kyoto or want decent restaurants on your doorstep, then the hotel isn't ideal. We ate at the cheap restaurants within the food court at the station and a Thai restaurant on the main road, but we appreciate that those not on a tight budget may dislike fact that the best restaurants recommended in rough guide or lonely planet are at least 20 mins walk away.
One quick tip is to book on Internet as the rate is much much cheaper than if you turn up in person. Staff also seem very flexible with Internet bookings as I foolishly booked a smoking room by accident and was moved to a non smoking room immediately upon arrival, notwithstanding fact hotel was very busy.
Overall this hotel is a bargain. We stayed here twice and it was by far our favourite hotel. Suspect prices will go up in near future as hotel becomes more established and realises that they are seriously undercharging!
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