After hearing/reading rave reviews of Beniya we had high hopes for our visit, and I'm sorry to say we were disappointed and very glad we only spent one night.
It is an hour away from Kanazawa, too far to be a focal point for sight seeing there. And there's not much to see or do closer. Therefore Beniya is a destination in itself, and an expensive one at that. In our opinion it does not warrant the special trip or price.
The facilities are in need of a facelift. Throughout the common areas and rooms we found worn carpets and floors, scuffed walls, mildew smells (my shower was expecially bad) and evidence of mold. Much different than what is portrayed in the photos. Same with the views. There are a couple beautiful trees to see out the windows but that's about it. No real garden and plenty of ugly buildings. The walk to the incline to town is extremely ugly.
Service was mixed. The owner is wonderful - sweet and friendly - yoga with her is a treat. Many of her staff are also very gracious, but a few are decidedly not.
I had a very hard time finding someone to answer a couple questions around 6:30pm - multiple calls and visits to the front desk were unanswered - where was everyone?!
Food was also mixed. Kaiseki style with many small offerings. Breakfast was consistently delicious but dinner was not - a few items were fantastic, but many were mediocre. All were beautifully presented, but some just didn't taste very good.
We both had massages in the spa (22,000Y each for 90mins, so very expensive). The therapists were excellent, but the futon set up was extremely uncomfortable (face down on a futon without a face cradle). I went into the massage with a stiff neck and came out worse.
So all in all, I'd give Beniya about a B- grade. Not bad, but for the price and the location it really needs to get an A to be worth it. There are ryokans in Kyoto at the same price point that are MUCH better in every regard - and they're in Kyoto, not in the middle of nowhere.
Oh and you should be aware that they are very strict about the 3pm checkin and 11am checkout (they say they need 4hrs to change the soaking tubs -?). You should do your best to arrive & depart close to those times because there will be no flexibility or much hospitality outside those hours. The morning we were leaving we received a call confirming our 1:30pm pickup and were told we could "check out" then. We took that to mean we could stay in the room - definitely not. (not sure what they meant by "check out" - sit in the lobby? I would hope that would be allowed). At 11:30am a series of progressively nasty calls began. Not a great way to end our stay.
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