For the most part I enjoyed my 6 night stay at the Westin. The hotel is a central part of Kyoto's wedding and ladys lunching scene and the lobby's life and design gives you the feeling of a grand hotel.
The hotel's location, next to a subway station and in the heart of Higashiyama is a great base to explore Kyoto. I used the hotel's bus shuttle service twice a day. It is by far the best amenity the hotel offers.
All the guidebooks praise this hotel. Price wise it was more or less on par with the Hyatt the other hotel that is praised.
The hotel's shortcomings are in it's food offerings, room pricing and layout.
Breakfast is just terrible. For 3,600 yen there is absolutely no choice at all. The omelette bar offered a choice of four, but the chef didn't understand english. I asked for a cheese omelette and got a ham omelette. I then asked for another cheese and got ham and cheese, then a plain.
The chef dipped a ladle into a bucket filled with some sort of egg mix. In a hotel that claims the highest standards each omelette should be made of eggs cracked fresh in front of the diner. All of the omelettes I did get were undercooked, watery and tiny.
Also the breakfast buffet had one small two slice toaster so there was a line of people waiting for it. There was no potato served. Basically there was no hot breakfast served.
The pastries were tiny and were kept in heated glass enclosure that turned them rock hard. Their "Superfoods" breakfast was nothing more than a few cereals. The fresh fruit offerings were poor. To make up for the 3,600 yen I loaded my bag with bananas.
The downstairs continental breakfast for 1250 yen was even worse. I didn't even stay long enough to find out what it was. ( I think it was a pot of tea and your choice of a pastry or fruit).
Your best bet would be to hit up the local pastry shops or food stores at Kyoto Station or in Pontocho for fruit and yogurt on your way back to the hotel after dinner. Then enjoy breakfast in your room in the morning ( there's a coffee and tea maker and mini frig in your room). You'll save 3,000 yen and eat far better. Don't bother with the executive club breakfast either. My suggestion to an ambitious local would be to open a breakfast place across the street.
The other major problem with the Westin is the confusing room categories with pricing that doesn't always match what you think you should get. The Westin website gives no description of the size of the room so you have no idea of what you are getting.
Over my six night stay I had the Junior Suite that was poorly lit, had low ceilings, a closet bigger than the bathroom and a view of a wall. The second room I had was the superior and the third was the deluxe. My superior room was bigger than my Jr. Suite. My deluxe room was smaller than my Jr Suite but was far cleaner and laid out far better and with better views.
At check in I asked the difference between the deluxe and superior and they couldn't clearly explain it. My favorite was the superior room with a city view.
Right now the Westin and the Hyatt are the only two "higher end" offering western style service which Asian tourists can't seem to get enough of. I can't speak for the Hyatt Regency because I didn't stay there.
So rest on the laurels tht the guidebooks give you now Westin because the Four Seasons has just announced a $250 million hotel will open in 2014 just down the road.
- Also Known As:
- The Westin Miyako Kyoto Hotel Kyoto
- The Westin Miyako Kyoto Hotel
- Westin Miyako Kyoto
- Westin Kyoto
- Kyoto Westin
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Western-style 11-story Hotel located amid Japanese gardens, 5 miles from train station & 31 miles from Kansai Int'l Airport. ... more less
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