REVIEW – Mandarin Oriental Santiago
June 30, 2024
REVIEW – Mandarin Oriental Santiago
June 30, 2024

Park Hyatt Kyoto

  • Room Type: 1 King Bed View Room
  • Typical Nightly Rate:  300,000 JPY per night
  • Price Paid: hosted stay
  • Loyalty Program: Hyatt Prive


Intro


It’s no secret that Kyoto is my favourite city in the world; aside from a 2 year absence during the pandemic, I’ve spent at least 5 days here every year since 2012.

As such, I feel like I’ve just begun to scratch the surface of this endlessly fascinating place and it’s been amazing to watch the massive proliferation of luxury hotels in the last few years.

When I first visited, it could reasonably be argued that the Hyatt Regency was the best hotel in town. Many people referred to it as a ‘hidden’ Park Hyatt, easily living up to the top Hyatt brand’s lofty service and room hardware standards.

There’s no arguing that the Hyatt Regency is still an excellent property but I had heard that with the opening of the Park Hyatt, a great deal of consideration had gone into elevating this property far beyond anything heretofore seen in this ancient city.

Having previously enjoyed two wonderful stays at Ritz Carlton Kyoto in 2017 and 2019, I was very keen to see how this hotel would compare.

Park Hyatt’s location is further from the downtown centre, with the property finding itself right in the heart of the Higashiyama tourist district. This area is home to a number of world renowned tourist sites:

  • Kiyomizu-dera temple
  • The Gion geisha district
  • Kodai-ji Temple
  • Maruyama Park
  • Yasaka Pagoda

The latter of these is a huge selling point of the hotel, with the upper floors of the Pagoda being visible from many of the hotels restaurants and rooms (including our own).

PH Kyoto - Yasaka pagoda view

PH Kyoto – Yasaka pagoda view.

 


Book Park Hyatt Kyoto with Hyatt Privé benefits



Our clients are able to enjoy Hyatt Privé benefits when booking any Park Hyatt hotel through our agency.

Your quote will always match the public best available flexible rate on Hyatt.com (NOT the ‘Member Rate’).

Although this will generally be a little more expensive than booking a member rate, the advantages of a Hyatt Privé Rate are considerable. 

Hyatt Privé Benefits include:

• Complimentary Breakfast for Two
• $100 Property Credit
• Early Check-in/late Check-out (based on availability upon arrival)
• Complimentary advance room upgrade (confirmed within 24h of being requested)
• VIP welcome amenity that reflects the personality of the hotel and the destination
• Complimentary WIFI

Hyatt Privé bookings made via our agency count as DIRECT HOTEL BOOKINGS.

✅ Your World of Hyatt status will be recognised (and will stack with the Hyatt Privé booking benefits).

✅ Your hotel stay will earn points as usual.

 

Hyatt Privé bookings can be made instantly online via our web portal:

BOOK PARK HYATT KYOTO WITH PRIVÉ BENEFITS

If you’re booking with us for the first time, here’s a quick guide on how to use the portal:

HOTEL BOOKING GUIDE

 


Arrival and Check-in


We arrived into Kyoto on the Shinkansen from Tokyo and then took a 25 minute Uber ride to the Park Hyatt.

If you’ve ever been to Kyoto before, you’ll appreciate just how centrally located the hotel is to the key tourist sites of Higashiyama. The main entrance to the hotel is located right next door to this ancient gate and you really feel like you’re transported back in time, in a way that just isn’t possible in the city centre hotels here (or the big resorts like Four Seasons and Six Senses).

PH Kyoto - entrance

PH Kyoto – entrance.

If you’re walking towards the hotel, every few steps closer yields another serene piece of Japanese landscaping that truly sets the property’s sense of place.

PH Kyoto - entrance

PH Kyoto – entrance.

Our Uber pulled into the main hotel driveway and immediately a brigade of men in black suits with earpieces descended upon our vehicle, bowing profusely as they assisted with our luggage and guided us to the reception.

PH Kyoto - entrance

PH Kyoto – entrance.

Much as I enjoy a hotel room that places a significant amount of real estate between the door and the bed: I really appreciated how successive layers of cloisters and courtyards separated the hotel reception from the bustle of the streets outside.

PH Kyoto - Courtyard entrance

PH Kyoto – Courtyard entrance.

Walking through this quiet courtyard, I immediately felt a wave of tranquility washing over me.

PH Kyoto - Courtyard

PH Kyoto – Courtyard.

Once indoors, the soothing effect continued with a transition to a zen-like, minimalist style of decor.

PH Kyoto - Pre-lobby

PH Kyoto – Pre-lobby.

From here we were able to see the warm tones of the lobby area at the end of a corridor:

PH Kyoto - Pre-lobby

PH Kyoto – Pre-lobby.

Upon reaching the lobby it truly felt like we had been on a significant journey from the outside world. A beautiful architectural exercise which made us feel at ease and cosy, seemingly miles away from Kyoto’s busiest tourist streets.

PH Kyoto - Lobby

PH Kyoto – Lobby.

PH Kyoto - Lobby

PH Kyoto – Lobby.

Park Hyatt Kyoto: The Living Room

The staff at the desks were extremely polite and attentive and suggested that we would be more comfortable checking in whilst seated in The Living Room, the hotel’s lobby bar, with a complimentary drink.

PH Kyoto - Lobby lounge

PH Kyoto – The Living Room.

PH Kyoto - The Living Room

PH Kyoto – The Living Room.

I agreed that this was a splendid idea and was happy to be shown a printed menu featuring a variety of welcome drink options. Anybody who knows me, will instantly know which drink option I went with…

PH Kyoto-12
PH Kyoto-13

After enjoying our welcome champagne, we were escorted up to our room by the front desk associate, who took the opportunity to provide a tour of the hotel along the way.

Park Hyatt Kyoto: Wine Bar at The Living Room

First we passed the Wine Bar at the Living Room; a space which offered a very exclusive and cosy feel, with the flickering flames of a fire adding to the effect.

PH Kyoto - Wine Bar at The Living Room

PH Kyoto – Wine Bar at The Living Room.

As we made our way towards the gold plated lift, it was explained to us that the hotel actually consists of several different interconnected buildings.

PH Kyoto - lift

PH Kyoto – lift.

This layout can result in a rather disorientating sensation for the uninitiated (similar to hotels in Amsterdam which are also pieced together in this fashion). The hotel developer’s website illustrates how the hotel buildings connect and I’ve added some labels for clarity below, which will hopefully help to demystify the nature of the hotel layout for any future guests!

PH Kyoto map – underlying map provided by ©Takenaka.

Library

Upon exiting the lift we found ourselves in the library. This space was very quiet and lacked views of any kind as a result of this space being pressed up against neighbouring buildings.

PH Kyoto - Library

PH Kyoto – Library.

Ultimately, there’s no doubting that the finishes in this space are beautiful and that it is far more unique and interesting than a standard hotel hallway, however I can’t say that I ever saw anybody pulling up a chair and enjoying the space. The lack of natural light definitely made this feel like more of a transitional space.

PH Kyoto - Library

PH Kyoto – Library.

The library not only leads guests towards their hotel rooms, it is also the location for the entrance to Michelin starred Kyoyamato restaurant. As is so often the case in Kyoto, this dining establishment has been run by six successive generations of the same family in this very spot and members of the public cannot pass through this door without a reservation to the restaurant.

PH Kyoto - Library entrance to Kyoyamato

PH Kyoto – Library entrance to Kyoyamato.

We exited from the door next to this, which briefly took us under a covered walkway outside.

PH Kyoto - Library floor outdoor walkway

PH Kyoto – Library floor outdoor walkway.

We then took a moment to enjoy the garden surroundings…

PH Kyoto - Library Garden

PH Kyoto – Library Garden.

PH Kyoto - Library Garden

PH Kyoto – Library Garden.

…before entering the third building of our room-ward odyssey, where we took a lift up to the Residents’ Lounge. 

PH Kyoto - Lift to the Residents' Lounge

PH Kyoto – Lift to the Residents’ Lounge.

Park Hyatt Kyoto Residents’ Lounge

PH Kyoto - Residents' Lounge

PH Kyoto – Residents’ Lounge.

Unlike the Library, this lounge featured beautiful views and an abundance of natural light, together with high ceilings.

PH Kyoto - Residents' Lounge view of Yasaka Pagoda

PH Kyoto – Residents’ Lounge.

The combined effect was remarkable and guests often quietly congregated here to soak in the atmosphere. The sunset view of Yasaka Pagoda here was particularly special:

PH Kyoto - Residents' Lounge view

PH Kyoto – Residents’ Lounge view.

…And the view of Kyoyamato ancient and perfectly manicured garden was also perfect for moments of quiet contemplation, after a busy day exploring the local sights.

PH Kyoto - Residents' Lounge garden view

PH Kyoto – Residents’ Lounge garden view.

There was no tea or coffee on offer unlike the Roku Kyoto Tea Lounge but we were able to help ourselves to artesian Kyoto water, sipped from elegant and delicate glassware.

PH Kyoto - Residents' Lounge water

PH Kyoto – Residents’ Lounge water.

Upon exiting this lounge we took one final lift up to reach the building where our 1 King Bed View Room was located.

PH Kyoto-32
PH Kyoto-33

PH Kyoto 1 King Bed View Room


If you took the time to read the entire journey up to our room, it goes without saying that these View Rooms (and also the Garden Terrace rooms next to them) are not for everyone.

If taking three different lifts and walking hundreds of metres just to leave your room sounds like your idea of hell (I imagine anybody living with reduced mobility or travelling with young children will be nodding their heads at this point), then I would definitely recommend picking one of the standard rooms instead.

With all this being said, after such a buildup I was very excited when the hotel host finally indicated that we had reached our room and ushered us inside!

PH Kyoto King Bed View Room Floor Plan

©Park Hyatt Kyoto

 

Entrance

As soon as I peered into the room I was immediately struck by the abundance of light wood, offset by streaks of dramatic white and blue stone. As I alluded to earlier in the review, I was also pleased to see that the bed was in no way visible from the door.

There is no doubt in my mind that the greater the degree of separation between the door and the bed, the higher your chances of a great night’s sleep.

In fairness though, I wasn’t expecting particularly noisy or rowdy guests at this property (especially after the energy depleting effects of the walk from the hotel entrance to this floor).

PH Kyoto - View Room entrance

PH Kyoto – View Room entrance.

As one would expect in Japan, the entrance to the room provided a dedicated space in which to remove ones shoes and hang coats. However, there was no shoe horn and also no bench upon which to sit, which made things a little awkward when wearing dress shoes.

The entrance hallway provided the majority of the room’s storage space. Immediately adjacent to the coat rack was the main double wardrobe. Once again there was a large panel of extravagant blue and white stone inside. This really served to elevate the premium feel of the room, however hanging space was somewhat limited as a result of the four drawers beneath.

PH Kyoto-36
PH Kyoto-38
PH Kyoto-39

The drawers contained a variety of items such as laundry bags, yukatas a clothes brush and a shoe horn.

I was impressed with the quality and variety of hangers on offer, secure in the knowledge that the shoulders of my more elaborately constructed jackets would not suffer as a result of being placed upon them.

If you’ve ever visited Tokyu Hands you’ll know just how seriously the Japanese take the art of clothes hanging and indeed clothes storage in general.

Elsewhere in the hallway there were some single door, slimline wardrobes, ideal for hanging dresses and longer coats. There was also a small cupboard which contained a steam iron as well as two pairs of slippers.

PH Kyoto-41
PH Kyoto-42
PH Kyoto-40

I really enjoyed the thought that had gone into these slippers,  cleverly evoking the colours and pattern of the accent stone used throughout the room.

PH Kyoto - slippers

PH Kyoto – slippers.

The final point of interest in the entranceway was the intricately crafted minibar. Not only was the natural wood perfectly matched, the precision of the construction meant that the mere act of opening and closing the doors was enough to send a wave of haptic joy through me.

PH Kyoto-56
PH Kyoto-57

I was less happy to see an entry level Nespresso machine, rather than a far superior alternative from Illy or Lavazza but I’m conscious that the Japanese market places a firm emphasis on brand recognition, even if in this case Nespresso is the McDonalds of the coffee world. The handmade coffee cups and the kettle featured some very pleasing design though.

PH Kyoto - Nespresso machine

PH Kyoto – Nespresso machine.

The minibar also contained several bottles of artesian Kyoto water, together with some mid-sized spirit bottles and a very delicate, glass teapot.

PH Kyoto - Minibar

PH Kyoto – Minibar.

Beneath this main section was a series of drawers containing chilled drinks, snacks, red wine and stemware.

PH Kyoto - Nespresso machine

PH Kyoto – Nespresso machine.

Bathroom

Immediately behind me as I faced the minibar was the bathroom. It featured sliding doors on two sides, allowing us to open up our room into more of an open plan configuration.

PH Kyoto - bathroom

PH Kyoto – bathroom.

Tucked into the corner of the bathroom was a stand topped with a pair of enormously fluffy towels. There was also a hand-carved wooden box here, filled with all manner of bathroom amenities….

PH Kyoto - bathroom amenities

PH Kyoto – bathroom amenities.

….and a Dyson hairdryer. I must admit I’ve been spoiled by Rosewood Hong Kong – I’ve reached the point where I briefly saw this and felt like they could have upped their game by adding a custom stand, clad in fine aniline calf leather.

PH Kyoto - Dyson hairdryer

PH Kyoto – Dyson hairdryer.

No such material concerns were raised when looking at the twin vanities though, although the main bathroom area was undeniably compact, the expanse of blue and white stone on display was utterly captivating.

The lack of storage or counter space was a key issue in this area though and could have easily been remedied by adding a single small shelf either side of the sinks.

PH Kyoto - Bathroom

PH Kyoto – Bathroom.

Toiletries in the bathroom were by Le Labo, as is the case in most Park Hyatt properties. I can’t help feeling that Le Labo body lotion is extremely watery and more useful as a cologne but I appreciate the property aligning itself with a premium brand.

PH Kyoto - Le Labo toiletries

PH Kyoto – Le Labo toiletries.

The real showstopper was the bathing area, designed in the traditional Japanese style; with the bathtub and shower housed within a single enclosed space. This permits you to wash off in the shower and then immediately soak in a bath full of clear hot water, without soap or contaminants of any kind.

PH Kyoto - Bathroom

PH Kyoto – Bathroom.

The attention to detail here was amazing; an ultra powerful rainfall shower head was mounted to the ceiling, with a waterfall tap ensuring that the bath filled up in under five minutes. I also loved how the stone was polished on the walls and burred on the ground, ensuring that it was completely non-slip, whilst maintaining visual continuity.

PH Kyoto-52
PH Kyoto-50
PH Kyoto-51
PH Kyoto-49

Of course, the bathroom also featured a top of the line Toto washlet. Much like we all know that Dyson make the best hair dryers, Toto is the undisputed number one of number twos.

PH Kyoto - Toto washlet

PH Kyoto – Toto washlet.

Bedroom

Finally we entered the bedroom. The minimalist blonde wood interior, coupled with the sloped ceiling gave a cosy, almost alpine chalet feeling to the space.

Cosy being the operative word. Space is certainly at a premium in Higashiyama and as you can see from the image below, there really wasn’t an obvious place in which to store all of our luggage!

PH Kyoto - 1 King Bed View Bedroom

PH Kyoto – 1 King Bed View Bedroom.

Of course, concerns about the lack of space soon melted away once we saw the view of Yasaka pagoda, peering above the blue-tiled rooftops, with modern Kyoto and the mountains melting into the distance.

PH Kyoto - Yasaka pagoda view

PH Kyoto – Yasaka pagoda view.

Looking immediately beneath us it was also possible to see the traditional garden belonging to Kyoyamato, further adding to the sense our sense of integration within this ancient and captivating city.

PH Kyoto - Garden view from the room

PH Kyoto – Garden view from the room.

Although space was limited, the sitting area was a decent size and featured a sofa which could easily double as a child’s bed.

PH Kyoto - King View bedroom

PH Kyoto – King View bedroom.

I really loved the armchair too, the intricacy of the craftsmanship on the arms was truly a sight to behold. The added accent nook with its pop of radiant orange and illuminated moon painting also added a necessary spark of visual interest to the space.

PH Kyoto-68
PH Kyoto-67

Waiting for us on the table was a small welcome amenity. Fresh fruit can reach eye-watering prices in Japan but still this seemed a little measly compared to welcome amenities at Ritz Carlton Kyoto and Four Seasons Kyoto.

I had also really enjoyed the experience of being served tea in our room when we checked in at the Ritz Carlton and thought for sure that Park Hyatt would offer something similar, as it is a smaller property, more able to provide personalised service. However, this was not the case.

PH Kyoto - welcome amenity

PH Kyoto – welcome amenity

The most important thing in any hotel rooms is sleep quality and I must say that the bed was very comfortable – if a little on the firmer side. The plush and thick feather pillows were also amazing, a world away from the limp and thin feather pillows generally found in American chain hotels.

Despite being billed as a King room, I believe this would actually be considered a Queen-sized bed by American standards, as evidenced by the fact that the bed was almost exactly the width of two large pillows.

PH Kyoto - King View bedroom

PH Kyoto – King View bedroom.

The bedside tables and lamps came in two entirely different styles as is the current trend in hotels. One side featured a pull out drawer and a lamp taking up a considerable amount of the table space, whereas the other one didn’t.

For some reason one side of the bed was also given a more complete set of light switches than the other, which made me think of menus in very antiquated restaurants, where men get the full menu but ladies aren’t shown the prices.

PH Kyoto-71
PH Kyoto-73

The bedside table with a drawer contained numerous hotel pamphlets as well as a charger for the Bose speaker.

PH Kyoto - Bedside table drawer

PH Kyoto – Bedside table drawer.

In terms of power sockets, various options were on offer around the bed, with ports cleverly hidden away on one of the sides.

PH Kyoto - Bedside power

PH Kyoto – Bedside power.

Finally, the bed featured two in-built reading lights which swivelled out from the headboard.

PH Kyoto - Reading lights

PH Kyoto – Reading lights.

Park Hyatt Kyoto Housekeeping

Housekeeping was absolutely impeccable, as you might well expect in a Japanese hotel of this calibre. The room was cleaned every morning when we were at breakfast and by the time we returned there was no trace of the cleaners and the room was spotless.

During the day there were none of the extra touches that are often found at this price point though: no wash bags, leather cable ties or lens cloths were left in the room. Everything was clean and tidy but there were none of these extras like at Capella Bangkok, for example.

PH Kyoto - evening view of Kyoto

PH Kyoto – evening view of Kyoto.

As day gave way to night, we would return to find that housekeeping had performed a turndown service in our room. Slippers were laid upon linen cloths, and a bottle of water was placed on each bedside table, along with a mint chocolate and a small daily traditional Japanese gift.

PH Kyoto-79
PH Kyoto-80

PH Kyoto 1 King Bed Garden Terrace Room


During our site inspection of the property, we were given the opportunity to tour various different room types, starting with a Garden Terrace room.

PH Kyoto King Bed Garden Terrace Room Floor Plan

©Park Hyatt Kyoto

The interior of these rooms is identical to the entry level King Bedrooms and indeed our King View Room, with the minor difference that the ceilings here are full height all the way through the room, rather than sloping.

PH Kyoto - Garden Terrace Room

PH Kyoto – Garden Terrace Room.

Outside is where this room category really shines though. I personally love the tranquility and privacy of having my own private Japanese garden and in many ways I prefer this to the view category.

PH Kyoto - Garden Terrace Room

PH Kyoto – Garden Terrace Room.

 


PH Kyoto Ninenzaka House


All the regular Park Suites were sold out during our visit so we jumped straight to the Ninenzaka House, which is a Premium Suite.

Suite benefit: a unique feature of this property is that guests in ANY suite category are invited to enjoy free-flowing champagne from 5pm-6pm in The Living Room.

PH Kyoto Ninenzaka House Floor Plan

©Park Hyatt Kyoto

It is worth noting that the floorplan is almost identical to a standard Park Suite though, with both measuring 68m². The key distinguishing factor here is the view of the Ninenzaka slope leading to Kiyomizudera Temple.

PH Kyoto - Ninenzaka House Bedroom

PH Kyoto – Ninenzaka House Bedroom.

This is definitely a very unique view but privacy is not the best, given that you’re facing a very busy street, from just a few floors up. Personally, I think that the pagoda view from the suite’s living room would have made more sense as a bedroom view (and vice versa).

PH Kyoto - Ninenzaka House Living Room

PH Kyoto – Ninenzaka House Living Room.

The bathroom in the Ninenzaka House was considerably more ample than the one in our room. There was plenty of counter space, in addition to two-tiered storage shelves. The entire room was clad in stone this time too, with only the ceiling above the shower featuring wooden beams.

PH Kyoto - Ninenzaka House bathroom

PH Kyoto – Ninenzaka House bathroom.

The Ninenzaka House also featured a dedicated dressing area, with plenty of luggage storage space, a welcome improvement over assorted wardrobes in the hallway of our King View room.

PH Kyoto - Ninenzaka House dressing room

PH Kyoto – Ninenzaka House dressing room.

 


PH Kyoto Pagoda House


The Pagoda House is Park Hyatt Kyoto’s presidential suite, measuring 135m². It is located on the top floor of the property, surrounded by greenery and enjoys an increased degree of privacy over the other two houses as a result.

PH Kyoto Pagoda House Floor Plan

©Park Hyatt Kyoto

The open-plan living and dining room is extremely ample and is ideally suited to hosting small gatherings and events. Indeed it is my understanding that it is more frequently booked for this purpose than for overnight stays.

PH Kyoto - Pagoda House living room

PH Kyoto – Pagoda House living room.

This is a real shame, as the bedroom surrounded by foliage is absolutely amazing. The perfect balance of panoramic views from our View Room and the sense of tranquility from the Garden Terrace Room.

PH Kyoto - Pagoda House living room

PH Kyoto – Pagoda House bedroom.

PH Kyoto - Pagoda House bedroom

PH Kyoto – Pagoda House bedroom.

The bathroom in the Pagoda House is even larger than the Ninenzaka House:

PH Kyoto - Pagoda House bathroom

PH Kyoto – Pagoda House bathroom.

The highlight here is the enormous circular tub, which reminded me of bathrooms at the Conrad in Koh Samui.

PH Kyoto - Pagoda House bathroom

PH Kyoto – Pagoda House bathroom.

One final addition to the Pagoda House, which materially elevates it above the other houses is the inclusion of a kitchen. I was surprised to see that the kitchen was so polished and modern. It seems like the intent here is for it to be actively used by the suite’s inhabitants.

All too often properties will put the kitchen behind a door and fit it out in fibreboard and white plastic appliances, calling it a ‘butler’s pantry’. As somebody who personally loves cooking at home, as a form of relaxation, I appreciate the attention to detail here and am certain that many of our clients will feel the same way!

PH Kyoto - Pagoda House kitchen

PH Kyoto – Pagoda House kitchen.

 


Park Hyatt Kyoto Food and Drink


A huge part of the reason why I love Kyoto so much is the food. I honestly can’t think of many better ways to spend a day than eating delicious Japanese produce, walking around temples and gardens and then soaking in hot onsen to unwind at the end.

To this end I have always held up the breakfast at the Ritz Carlton Kyoto as my personal number 1 breakfast anywhere on earth, so I was very excited to see how the Park Hyatt would compare!

Kyoto Bistro breakfast at Park Hyatt Kyoto

Park Hyatt Kyoto’s breakfast Bistro is a rather compact and boutique space. It feels distinctly more quiet and exclusive than the larger breakfast rooms at Four Seasons, Roku and Ritz Carlton, for example.

There’s a lot of natural light and a real buzz in the air; I felt that this was the perfect energy with which to start the day as we watched early morning tour groups shuffling past the busy streets of Higashiyama outside.

PH Kyoto - Kyoto Bistro

PH Kyoto – Kyoto Bistro.

An L-shaped buffet dominates one corner of this small room but given the relatively low room count at this property, it never felt hectic or crowded.

PH Kyoto - Kyoto Bistro breakfast

PH Kyoto – Kyoto Bistro breakfast.

There were various different seating options presented to us on our first morning. Above you can see the seats offered to those wishing for maximum ease of access to the buffet.

Those wishing to start the day on a peaceful note can request tables facing the interior courtyard garden.

PH Kyoto - Kyoto Bistro garden view

PH Kyoto – Kyoto Bistro garden view.

Whereas those wishing to see all the hustle and bustle of the ancient streets of Higashiyama can take one of the tables on the other side of the room.

PH Kyoto - Kyoto Bistro street view

PH Kyoto – Kyoto Bistro street view.

There are two options presented to guests having breakfast at the Park Hyatt Kyoto. Guests can either enjoy the buffet, plus a selection of a la carte dishes, or they can order the Japanese set breakfast, prepared by the centuries old, Michelin-starred Kyoyamato restaurant.

Guests opting for the latter need to inform the hotel 24 hours in advance, since the elaborate Japanese breakfast sets are made to order with ingredients acquired in the local markets the day before.

I was probably more excited about this single aspect of the stay than anything else! So, I emailed the hotel a week in advance in order to confirm that we would 100% be wanting to try the Japanese breakfast on our first morning at the property.

As we were shown to our table this was confirmed by the staff, who also addressed us by name without even asking for our room number.

PH Kyoto - Kyoyamato breakfast menu

PH Kyoto – Kyoyamato breakfast menu.

With the sole exception of the seasonal fruit, the entire menu was served to us at once, moments after we ordered our drinks. The presentation was really beautiful and the combination of flavours was truly amazing.

PH Kyoto - Kyoyamato breakfast

PH Kyoto – Kyoyamato breakfast.

PH Kyoto - Kyoyamato breakfast

PH Kyoto – Kyoyamato breakfast.

However, I did feel that as an overall experience this didn’t come close to the Ritz Carlton. There we were presented with the courses one by one, seated at the chef’s counter, as a kimono-clad server meticulously and methodically explained the dishes to us with the utmost care and attention.

A huge consideration in Kyo-kaiseki cuisine goes to elements beyond the food, with tableware, service and setting being the principle non-food factors to note.

When you eat at somewhere like Hyotei, Kikunoi or Kyoto Wakuden you feel like you’ve been transported into a nobleman’s home in another century, the theatrical aspect of dining is this way is breathtaking.

Delicious though this breakfast was, the lively setting and bistro-style service meant that all sense of occasion was lost. The food was absolutely delicious but the Ritz Carlton still holds the global breakfast crown, as far as I’m concerned.

Having said all of this, the breakfast buffet was excellent, despite the limited space in which to present all the options. The baked goods were as incredible as you’d expect in Japan. There was a fairly limited selection of cereal and nuts on offer but the addition of matcha granola clusters was a wonderful local touch.

PH Kyoto - Kyoto Bistro breakfast buffet

PH Kyoto – Kyoto Bistro breakfast buffet.

PH Kyoto - Kyoto Bistro breakfast buffet

PH Kyoto – Kyoto Bistro breakfast buffet.

The charcuterie and cheese on offer was of a very high standard and numerous oils, vinegars and dips were presented alongside them.

PH Kyoto - Kyoto Bistro breakfast buffet

PH Kyoto – Kyoto Bistro breakfast buffet.

I really appreciated the super fresh salads too.

PH Kyoto - Kyoto Bistro breakfast buffet

PH Kyoto – Kyoto Bistro breakfast buffet.

Eggs could be ordered a la carte and much like the baked goods, were as good as those offered in Palais level hotels in France. The grilled Japanese mushrooms served alongside them were fantastic too.

One thing that you can invariably count on in Japanese hotels is that the coffee will be excellent. Much though Australia and New Zealand purport to be bastions of coffee culture, their luxury hotel breakfast offerings pale in comparison to the coffee that we were served here.

PH Kyoto-121
PH Kyoto - Kyoto Bistro breakfast scrambled eggsPH Kyoto - Kyoto Bistro breakfast scrambled eggs

Kyoyamato* at Park Hyatt Kyoto

We didn’t have a chance to dine here since we already had reservations at numerous other establishments in Kyoto and I figured we’d cover this base somewhat by trying their breakfast offering.

As I mentioned previously, the restaurant has been in operation by six generations of the same family and is accessed via the hotel’s Library lounge. At the time of writing, the pricing is ¥12,000 for lunch and ¥27,000 for dinner.

PH Kyoto - Kyoyamato restaurant

PH Kyoto – Kyoyamato restaurant.

Kohaku Bar at Park Hyatt Kyoto

This is undoubtedly the biggest draw for non-residents of the hotel. The view of Yasaka pagoda is amazing here, particularly at sunset.

PH Kyoto - Kohaku bar

PH Kyoto – Kohaku bar.

PH Kyoto - Kohaku bar

PH Kyoto – Kohaku bar.

PH Kyoto - Kohaku bar sunset view

PH Kyoto – Kohaku bar sunset view.

Yasaka Restaurant at Park Hyatt Kyoto

Yasaka, the hotel’s teppanyaki restaurant, is located in an almost identical building just a few metres along from Kohaku.

PH Kyoto - Yasaka restaurant

PH Kyoto – Yasaka restaurant.

Indeed, one of the most scenic spots in the entire hotel is the terrace area linking Yasaka from Kohaku.

PH Kyoto - outdoor terrace

PH Kyoto – outdoor terrace.

 


Park Hyatt Kyoto Facilities


Park Hyatt Kyoto’s key selling point is the location. As a result of this I was not only expecting smaller rooms than those offered at the other international chain properties, I was also expecting significantly reduced leisure facilities.

Park Hyatt Kyoto Gym (24h)

I was actually pleasantly surprised at the size of the gym. The design was also amazing; it felt like if ninjas were still around in the modern era, this is exactly what their fitness facility would look like. Thankfully, the hotel also drew the line at four cardio machines.

PH Kyoto - gym

PH Kyoto – gym.

Clearly the strength training area had been put together by somebody who views fitness equipment as pieces of furniture though, to be slotted Tetris-like into the available floor space.

All you really need in a gym is a Smith machine and a cable crossover and you have every body part covered. Clearly though, the footprint of these pieces of equipment would have been less pleasing to the eye, so instead we get: 1x shoulder press, 1x chest press, 1x leg curl, 1x leg extension….and absolutely zero machines for training the back.

I always think that it must be the world’s easiest job being a Technogym salesperson, since the equipment has great brand recognition despite being relatively low quality and is being sold almost exclusively to people who don’t work out.

PH Kyoto - Gym

PH Kyoto – Gym.

Dumbbells were pitched to the level of Jane Fonda workouts and inexplicably, there was an entire area of the gym dedicated to a sofa. The fact that they could have put a squat rack there instead bothers me to this day…

PH Kyoto - Gym

PH Kyoto – Gym.

Another smaller nook did contain a Technogym rower though, which is great if you like rowing splits and having the machine reset after any rest period of over 10 seconds.

PH Kyoto - Gym

PH Kyoto – Gym.

Park Hyatt Kyoto Bathhouse (7am-10pm)

Although there’s no space for a pool here like at the Four Seasons or Ritz Carlton, the hotel does offer a traditional Japanese bathhouse. Thankfully attitudes are shifting towards tattoos in this country, ever since the government declared the practice of tattooing legal, by those outside the medical profession, in 2020.

As such, I was able to enjoy the facilities without any issues, which was a welcome change from my pre-pandemic visits to the country.

The bathhouse was separated from the gym by a long hallway, illuminated on one side by dramatic underfloor lighting. Once inside, the changing room closely resembled the bathroom in our room – right down to the Dyson hair dryers!

PH Kyoto-100
PH Kyoto-101

Given the size of the changing room, I saw most guests arriving here already wearing gowns and slippers. I appreciate that a small changing room was still offered to those of us wishing to use the facilities immediately after the gym though.

PH Kyoto - bathhouse changing room

PH Kyoto – Bathhouse changing room.

I also really like the face wash and spray mist by local Kyoto brand Kotoshina.

PH Kyoto-112
PH Kyoto-111

Despite the limited floor space I feel like the designers did an amazing job here. The moment that you step into this facility your are immediately stricken by the quality of the finishes.

PH Kyoto - Bathhouse

PH Kyoto – Bathhouse.

The bathhouse has a symmetrical design with shower stalls on both sides….

PH Kyoto-106
PH Kyoto-105

…together with a set of instructions on how to use the bathhouse. The bathing amenities provided were by Kotoshina once again and it felt like these were a significant step up in quality from Le Labo.

PH Kyoto-110
PH Kyoto-107

On either side of the room before the showers was a steam room and a dry sauna.

PH Kyoto-109
PH Kyoto-108

The bathing area featured a hot pool and a tepid pool – I was expecting this to be more of a cold plunge but this was really just lukewarm.

PH Kyoto - Bathhouse

PH Kyoto – Bathhouse.

Overall, it’s great that the property features a bathhouse at all, given how limited the space is. However, it did become a little awkward sharing such a small space with other guests, particularly since there’s no divider between the two pools for added privacy.

 


Conclusion


Basics Checklist

☑︎ Power sockets near the bed
☑︎ Easy to understand light switches
☑︎ Coffee machine
☑︎ Separate shower and bath
☑︎ Blackout blinds
☑︎ Stable, fast and free Wifi
☑︎ Feather pillows
☑︎ Quiet and powerful aircon

Overall, there’s no question that Park Hyatt Kyoto is a wonderful property. It is steeped in history, offers wonderful service, it has a rooftop bar, a Michelin-starred restaurant and the hardware and finishes are some of the best I’ve ever seen in any hotel.

However, this hotel is not for everyone. I’m personally not convinced that being this centrally located in Higashiyama is actually particularly desirable or that the trade off in terms of the loss of room size and facilities is worth it. If you have any mobility issues or if you’re travelling with children, the interior layout is also sure to become tedious very quickly.

Four Seasons is just 15 minutes walk to the South and the property has ample grounds featuring a lake and a tea house, together with one of the best hotel pools and gyms of any city hotel I’ve ever seen. It’s a bigger property, that lacks the cosy feel of the Park Hyatt but calling either of the two objectively ‘better’ really isn’t possible.

Meanwhile, Ritz Carlton Kyoto is superbly located for shopping, bars and restaurants, it also has a riverfront location and still manages to have a great swimming pool and gym too.

All of this is to say that Kyoto now has an extremely competitive hotel scene and no one hotel can be all things to all people.

Park Hyatt Kyoto is the perfect hotel for a certain type of traveller and hopefully this review will have provided you with all of the necessary information to decide if that type of traveller is you!


Book Park Hyatt Kyoto with Hyatt Privé benefits



Our clients are able to enjoy Hyatt Privé benefits when booking any Park Hyatt hotel through our agency.

Your quote will always match the public best available flexible rate on Hyatt.com (NOT the ‘Member Rate’).

Although this will generally be a little more expensive than booking a member rate, the advantages of a Hyatt Privé Rate are considerable.

 

Hyatt Privé Benefits include:

• Complimentary Breakfast for Two
• $100 Property Credit
• Early Check-in/late Check-out (based on availability upon arrival)
• Complimentary advance room upgrade (confirmed within 24h of being requested)
• VIP welcome amenity that reflects the personality of the hotel and the destination
• Complimentary WIFI

Hyatt Privé bookings made via our agency count as DIRECT HOTEL BOOKINGS.

✅ Your World of Hyatt status will be recognised (and will stack with the Hyatt Privé booking benefits).

✅ Your hotel stay will earn points as usual.

 

Hyatt Privé bookings can be made instantly online via our web portal:

BOOK PARK HYATT KYOTO WITH PRIVÉ BENEFITS

If you’re booking with us for the first time, here’s a quick guide on how to use the portal:

HOTEL BOOKING GUIDE