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The Hotel Granvia Kyoto

By:
Ben Hall
 

Packed with impressive sights and natural beauty, Kyoto is one of the world’s most culturally impressive cities. It was one of the few places in Japan untouched by World War II and it’s home to a fifth of the country’s national treasures and has no less than 17 World Heritage Sights. There are literally hundreds of historical markers, and trying to do it all in a city like this is impossible.

The Hotel Granvia is a luxury property that literally towers over the city and provides a real sense of scale to all the city has to offer and you can literally see some of Kyoto’s famous landmarks from the beautifully appointed rooms. More importantly, it’s been built right on top of the JR Kyoto Station, itself a modern architectural wonder, which means it’s well connected by rail, metro and and bus to all the major sights, saving on valuable sightseeing time. It also means the hotel is well connected by shinkansen to Kansai International Airport and many of Japan’s major cities including Osaka, Tokyo, Hiroshima, Nagoya and Fukuoka.

The Rooms

The 535 rooms are between the 7th and 15th floors of the building and the first thing you notice is that they’re all larger than the typical hotel room in Japan. The decor is modern and contemporary and on one side of the hotel, the rooms look out over the city with a 270 degree view, while the other side allows for views of the busy train station (and apparently many train buffs specifically request these rooms) and the southern side of Kyoto. The king beds are massive and still allow for a decent amount of living space and there’s plenty of room between the bed, the writing desk and chair and the armchair and table next to the large picture window looking over the city. High speed internet is complimentary and there’s also a flat screen TV with cable and a DVD player in the higher category rooms. The bathrooms were a revelation with a large shower featuring two different shower-heads and a separate bath tub and high quality amenities. We were on the 12th floor overlooking the Kyoto Tower and it made it very difficult to get motivated and explore the city.

Dining

The range of dining in this hotel is impressive and it can be hard choosing which one to try. There are basically three continental restaurants including La Fleur, the signature French establishment on the 15th floor. There are also six Japanese restaurants and one Chinese called Roppongi Rogairo. The only restaurant we tried was La Risata on the 15th floor, Italian of course, and we had breakfast there every day with views over the southern side of the city through the floor to ceiling glass. It’s a bright and cheerful place and the breakfasts were quite a production - no self-serve buffets here. You pick off an a-la-carte menu and fruit, juices, coffee, toast and main course is served with the flair and sophistication of a degustation menu. And Japan is not renowned for good coffee, but the capuccinos here are as good as anywhere in the world and worth getting up for.

Other Facilities

There is a pool and fitness centre including a jacuzzi and steam room for a one-off charge of 1,050 Yen and the Granvia Lounge is available to guests staying on the Granvia Floors on 14 and 15. But the station and maze of underground shopping malls connected to it means you can stay at the Granvia and never really leave the complex. Restaurants ranging from top end cuisine to hole-in-the-wall noodle joints jostle for attention among high end boutique shops, clothing stores with sales, toy shops, coffee shops, cafes and food halls with outrageous displays of Japanese and overseas cuisine. Best of all, wherever you want to go, it’s an easy process from the station.

The Verdict

If your time is limited then this is well worth the extra money because of its location and sheer comfort. The rooms are a home-away-from-home after a long day of sightseeing and the only downside is that it’s all too easy to sit around and enjoy the hotel rather than explore one of Japan’s most beautiful cities. The Concierge is a fantastic source of information for all the inside tips on Kyoto and they can get you from A to B to C in the quickest and most efficient manner.

 

This review has been updated - to read the latest version, click here.

Hotel Granvia Kyoto is a 535 room luxury hotel located in the striking JR Kyoto Station building which also features a department store, a museum and a vast underground shopping mall. Hotel guest have easy access to transport throughout the area. Visit www.granviakyoto.com.

Getting There:
Jetstar flies to Osaka and Tokyo. Call Jetstar on 131 538 or visit www.jetstar.com. Japan Airlines also operates daily direct flights to Tokyo from Sydney and Brisbane. Call Japan Airlines on 1300 525 287 or visit www.au.jal.com/en/. Qantas operates direct flights between Australia and Tokyo. Call Qantas on 13 13 13 or visit www.qantas.com.au. Connections from Tokyo and Osaka can be made by Shinkansen “Bullet Train”, and from Osaka by bus. Visit Japan Rail at www.japanrailpass.net

Information:
For more information visit www.jnto.org.au.

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