My standard hotel reviews include a breakdown by the following topics. Feel free to skip to whichever section you find most interesting.

  • Highlights
  • Lobby & Check-in
  • Room
  • Hotel Space / Ambiance
  • Food & Drink
  • Fitness
  • Miscellaneous


Highlights: The Ritz-Carlton Kyoto

Finally back to Starwood & Marriott properties! The Ritz-Carlton Kyoto was an amazing first time (for me) in a Ritz Carlton property, and it exceeded my expectations. From the service to the amenities, to the personal touches and three-thousand-dollar suite, it was a wonderful experience all around. Despite not having complimentary breakfast (as Marriott/Starwood platinum does not work for Ritz breakfasts) we had a fantastic Tempura lunch at Mizuki. Most of all, I hope to return soon – 23.3K SPG is a steal for this property. In addition, their extensive activity list was also an interesting addition to the stay.


Lobby & Check-in

The Ritz-Carlton Kyoto experience starts when you arrive. Associates in a tan suit will escort you and your bags to the check-in desk, past a short scenic walk of calming waterflows and nature views. You will pass a concierge desk, able to respond to your needs, as well as a sweets shop of delectable goodies. As always (in Japan), service was fantastic, and they will show you to your room and similarly explain everything.

We were greeted by a manager, Simon, before leaving for our room. He introduced himself personally and thanked us for coming for our anniversary. He was a delight to speak with, and I appreciated the personal touch.


Room $3,000 Kamogawa Suite

This is probably the largest room I’ve stayed in, even eclipsing the Presidential suite at the Westin Philadelphia.  At 1,344 square feet, the Kamogawa Suite is also larger than the majority of apartments I’ve lived in as well. Beautiful décor, excellent views of both river and mountains, and two work areas made it a very, very enjoyable place to stay. My loyalty status and celebrating an anniversary came in handy, with this complimentary upgrade.

Ritz-Carlton Kyoto also had wonderful service in the room, starting with a welcome amenity and sweets, as well as tea and night service. The Ritz pulls out all the stops, and I cannot wait to come back and experience Kyoto further. See below for pictures and my first video walkthrough!


This slideshow requires JavaScript.



Hotel Space / Ambiance

The hotel is tucked away in a quiet part of Kyoto, blending seamlessly into the neighborhood with its décor and quiet tranquility. It mostly caters to tourists and families, a short bus ride from Kyoto station and a short walk to huge open air markets. There is enough space on the basement floors to host large conventions or gatherings, with sake tasting bars and several restaurants.


Food & Drink

Our room had a delicious welcome amenity of berries, chocolates, and macaroons from the lobby sweet shop. As Starwood Platinum does not carry over to Ritz-Carlton hotels, we did not get complimentary breakfast. Instead, we enjoyed a delicious (and expensive!) tempura lunch at their Mizuki restaurant. This multi-course delicacy of different vegetables and seafood lightly battered and served with various Japanese salts was an experience all on its own. Simply the freshest and most delicious tempura I have ever had!

Additionally, we explored the nearby restaurants and open air markets looking for “casual” food, with plenty of ramen, curry, and other options available!


This slideshow requires JavaScript.



The Ritz-Carlton Kyoto has a large, beautifully designed pool with artwork on the floor of the pool. Additionally, the gym was well furnished, but a bit on the smaller side. However, the locker rooms/sauna were pretty basic, without the amenities some of the other hotels such as the Grand Hyatt Tokyo had.



The Ritz-Carlton Kyoto had an activity list available for guests, some of which were complimentary. My lady enjoyed a class on cloth-wrapping, and we enjoyed a personal art tour of the hotel together. Also, the Ritz has excursions such as bike tours for guests. Staff made sure we had the absolutely best time at this hotel. For example, after the cloth-wrapping class, the lady saw another cloth that she wanted, and I spoke with reception to see if I could get it for her. At check-out (which was graciously extended), staff agents presented the cloth in question – and several more! – in a neat bag with a handwritten note. Hence, service here is impeccable.

Also, I truly appreciated the generosity and hospitality of this Ritz, which has a diverse, multi-national staff – very different than any other Japanese hotel we experienced. From the personal touches of the management and staff, to the extra mile they went for us, it was wonderful.

To thank them, we left a nice note in the suite, as well as brought a six-pack of beer for the staff. Most of all, I hope to come back to the Ritz-Carlton Kyoto very soon, as it was certainly one of the best stays that I have had.

Finally, be sure to explore Kyoto –  many great treasures just outside the hotel doors!


Stay tuned for the other hotel reviews of my amazing Japan trip! You’ll be able to find them all on my TravelUpdate page.
*3,000 USD cost translated roughly from 287,000 Yen + Tax rate of Kamogawa suite, redeemed for 23,333 Starpoints for 12.9 cpp, one of my best valuations yet!


Featured Image is of the beautiful nature scenery adjacent to the hotel, right at the entrance.

What do you think of my hotel review? Have any questions? Want to see more or different sections? Let me know in the comments, or reach me directly at! Like my posts? See more here, on TravelUpdate! Follow me on Facebook (The Hotelion) or on Twitter and Instagram@TheHotelion