Hyatt Regency Kyoto
We arrived in Kyoto on the Nozomi Shinkansen from Tokyo at around midday. One of the many advantages of staying at the Hyatt in Kyoto is that a taxi is provided free of charge from the station if you book on their website. After asking another taxi driver, we were directed to the correct company and a taxi was arranged for us. For those of you who haven't been to Japan, you may be surprised by the seat coverings and the white gloves the taxi drivers wear. Service in Japan is very good, even in a taxi office - as our taxi drew away the female greeter stood in the middle of the road so that she could bow to us as we left!
On arrival at the hotel, our bags were swiftly taken by the bellhop and we were shown to checkin. It was impressive to be proactively asked whether we would rather have the diamond amenity of fruit and water or the 1000 bonus points (we took the points). Fruit in Japan is often very expensive, so this is a better amenity than it may sound at first. However, perhaps this could be improved by providing a different beverage than water (water is provided in room anyway).
In addition to the complementary taxi from the station, the Hyatt in Kyoto was also offering a voucher for 3000 yen for booking direct. This voucher could be used an unlimited number of times during the stay on spa treatments, drinks from the bar or dinner (as long as the bill was over 3,000 Yen each time). For us, the sushi bar in Touzan was the highlight and we strongly recommend eating there if you visit the hotel. We sat at the counter for lunch and watched the master Mr Kushida with wonder. The fish was melt-in-the-mouth fresh and the restaurant managed to get us in-and-out in the requested 30 minutes. In fact, we enjoyed the sushi so much we had to go back for dinner! Before and after dinner we enjoyed a drink in the bar utilising the 3000 yen voucher each time. This was a great initiative by the hotel as we used the bar and restaurant (which we would not usually do) and the meals were very good value.
Breakfast the next morning was also very good. As diamond members of Hyatt Gold Passport, we were allowed to order anything from the menu. I had the Japanese breakfast and fresh fruit whereas my husband ate a Western-style breakfast from the buffet. Both were fresh, tasty and prepared with exquisite care.
During our meeting with Mr Yokoyama, the General Manager, we learnt that the hotel has its own organic vegetable farm and buys all its fish from North Kyoto. Everything certainly tasted fresh! In addition to Japanese dining, the hotel offers an Italian restaurant and a Western Grill.
Kyoto itself is an interesting city to visit with plenty to see. The Good Samaritan Club, an amazing organisation made up of local university students, offers free tours of the city by students who want to improve their English. We strongly recommend you see the city with a local, and the friendly, warm and generous students we encountered were a joy to be with. The Hyatt Regency Kyoto is surely one of the jewels in the Hyatt crown. Although it is classed as a resort hotel and thus certain diamond benefits cannot be utilised (suite upgrades, guaranteed late checkout), this did not detract from our enjoyment of the stay. The hotel is well managed and all staff seemed proud to be doing their job. Cosmetic renovations are planned in the near future, but the hotel did not feel tired. Our stay was great value for money when taking the 3000 yen voucher and taxi journey into account, especially for Japan. The food was wonderful and we can't wait to return. In fact, I enjoyed our stay here more than at the famed Park Hyatt Tokyo, which was more than double the price. There was nothing wrong with the hotel made famous by Lost in Translation, but the service in Kyoto was warmer and felt more genuine. We can't wait to return - if only Japan was closer to Europe...