Adjacent to the Kamogawa River, the Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto is within easy reach of some of the liveliest areas in Kyoto, including the geisha district Gion, the restaurant-filled Pontocho alley, and the Kawaramachi shopping area—yet somehow manages to maintain an air of tranquil, almost ryokan-like seclusion. A true oasis that combines modern design with traditional Japanese culture, heritage, and motifs, the Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto transports its guests to another world. There are Zen gardens, a cascading four-storey waterfall, soothing colours and textures, wood furnishings, accented lighting, local art adorning the walls, and stunning views of the Kamogawa and the Higashiyama mountains from some of the most desirable of its 134 rooms and suites with floor-to-ceiling windows.
Once you have arrived, there is no need to wait at the front desk to check-in—the process happens seamlessly as you settle into your room (the lobby is still worth a visit, if only to stop into the Pierre Hermé Paris patisserie). Inside are modern comforts, like a bathroom mirror that doubles as a TV, a high-tech toilet, and master controls to adjust the drapes and lights, while other elements have a decidedly local flair, like the Shabon-ya handmade soap and bath salts, Imabari bathrobes, and slippers. A wood floor plank-lined wet room with a bathtub and shower. Abstract calligraphic artwork. The mesmerizing bonsai tree by the window. A sake drinking set. And the delicious traditional Japanese breakfast, which consists of grilled fish, sashimi, steamed rice, tamagoyaki (a Japanese rolled omelette), and other various side dishes, and is sure to prepare you for the day ahead.
But what elevates the Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto to another level is its willingness to help give guests experiences they won’t soon forget. Experiences like morning chanting at Myokaku-ji Temple, which includes a chance to learn how to play the ceremonial drums and enjoy breakfast with the monks. Or perhaps you’d like to learn how to play the Japanese koto harp, take a sushi masterclass, make your own Zen garden, have a samurai experience, or learn how to make Japanese sweets from a third-generation artisan. You can also start the day off with a hike, or cycle to places like the Fushimi Inari shrine—strategically timed before the hoards of tourists descend. The hotel’s health-conscious Swiss-born general manager, Mark Neukomm, even leads a daily morning run which all guests and staff are welcome to join.
The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto’s design concept is said to be inspired by five concepts: Utage (festive), Seido (serenity and movement), Miyabi (elegance), Hana (splendid), and Nagomi (harmony). This multilayered approach to hospitality shows.
The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto, 543 Hokodencho, Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 604-0902, Japan.
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