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Location is Everything at The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto

April, 2024
The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto | Photo courtesy The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto

On the banks of the Kamo-gawa River in central, find a renowned luxury hotel where Japanese omotenashi combines with an internationally-minded approach. 

Located in central Kyoto, the Ritz-Carlton Kyoto is supremely positioned for guests staying in the famed city to enjoy its every sight in a short time. Since opening in 2014, the hotel remains a leading destination for travellers who seek both luxury and convenience for a curated Kyoto experience. With accommodation, fine dining, and artisanal crafts and workshops all under one roof, the Ritz-Carlton Kyoto is a high-end full-service hotel with a lot to offer. 

The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto | Photo courtesy The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto
The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto | Photo courtesy The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto
The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto | Photo courtesy The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto

ART & DESIGN

With around 400 works of contemporary art around the hotel, the Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto celebrates artisanal design and introduces it to guests in a modern context. 

For centuries, traditional arts have flourished in the former capital city of Japan, making it an ideal city to experience them firsthand. 

At Ritz-Carlton Kyoto, special Japanese artisanal craft activities able to be arranged for guests, from Kyo-Karakami paper craft or zen garden making, morning chanting experience or an art tour in the city. Kyoto is the ideal destination for exploring these age-old techniques, to learn and appreciate them in a new way.

The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto | Photography Champ Creative for Champ Magazine©

Found throughout the hotel interiors, art and craft is seen in the detailing. Primarily inspired by the classic 11th-century novel, The Tale of Genji, 80 artists were commissioned to create artworks for the hotel. Upon entry, find two large, ever-green bonsai curated by artisanal florist Christian Tortu greets guests, with one next to Kohei Nawa‘s luminous artwork PixCell-Biwa (Mica). In rooms, custom sculptures are made by Kyoto-based artist Genta Ishizuka who works with the traditional craft of natural lacquerware in bulbous forms. The main section of the hotel’s common area presents a scene of a three-story waterfall and a variety of gardens where guests can view a place of serenity within the hotel looking out, reflecting the the residence of The Tale of Genji’s main character, Genji Hikaru.

The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto | Photography Champ Creative for Champ Magazine©

LUXURY ROOMS & SUITES

Modern, Western comforts combine with a Japanese aesthetic at this hotel. 134 room and 17 suites ensure every type of traveller is accommodated. Interiors are all designed with neutral tones, modelled on traditional Meiji-era houses, emphasising the tranquility of Kyoto where visitors enjoy the slower pace of the city. 

Rooms are more than generous in size, found in Deluxe, Deluxe Garden, and Luxury Room sizing, with either the choice of outdoor zen garden or city and river views. Both options are special and create magic during the stay from turn down to sunrise. By day, the river is alive with daily life in Kyoto with views of the famous Higashiyama mountains in the distance, and at night, the zen garden is illuminated to highlight its refined design and features. In all rooms, floor to ceiling windows make the most of picturesque views.

The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto | Photography Champ Creative for Champ Magazine©

A traditional Japanese or Western-style breakfast can be arranged to have in-room, making it a more intimate experience for guests. It’s especially memorable to have your morning coffee whilst overlooking the river outside with its many multiple commuters beginning their day. A glimpse at daily Kyoto life as it passes by.

On our visit we experienced the Grand Deluxe Kamogawa River View Twin Room which was spacious and included all the modern amenities we could have hoped for. The layout of the room is well-designed, meaning there is ample space for luggage and suiting to be easily stored away and accessed. The large soaking tub in each room celebrates the pristine water in Kyoto and the Japanese tradition of bathing. Traditional Yukata are supplied for loungewear or sleepwear, and amenities in room are by Byredo.

The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto | Photography Champ Creative for Champ Magazine©

DINING

There are multiple dining options under the one roof at the Ritz-Carlton Kyoto, focusing on Japanese food with a smaller selection of Western options.

There are four sections for Japanese cuisine on the dining floor, with each restaurant in its own area and dedicated chef. Kaiseki Mizuki, Sushi Mizuki, Tempura Mizuki and Teppanyaki Mizuki are all part of the options, and each restaurant has its own unique atmosphere although situated on the same floor. For any guest who is new in Kyoto, a Kaiseki experience is a must.

The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto | Photography Champ Creative for Champ Magazine©

We dined at Sushi Mizuki by chef Tomohiro Goda, sitting at their 11-meter long chef’s counter seating. The chef provides an informative sheet on the fish species he has sourced for his Edomae-style sushi, championing his curation and expert knowledge of them all.

The quality of fish at the sushi counter is extremely important, and chef Goda conveys this very well. Nigiri was of the highest quality, with our highlights the squid with sudachi and salt, grouper with ume sauce, and torched golden eye snapper with wasabi.

The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto | Photography Champ Creative for Champ Magazine©

An exclusive experience to book is Chef’s Table By Katsuhito Inoue, a private restaurant on the floor above nearby to the bar. It is an intimate dining experience – very quickly booked out – entirely curated by chef Inoue and his boundless creativity. The setting, tableware and dishes are all sure to surprise and inspire.

For the Western options, La Locanda celebrates Italian fare and on the ground floor of the hotel, find Pierre Hermé Paris Boutique for French pastries.

The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto | Photography Champ Creative for Champ Magazine©

LOBBY LOUNGE & BAR

The hotel bar is a destination in itself, with a 360-degree cellar and more than 400 wine selections, it is comprehensively stocked with both local and International selections. It’s a great place to discover new makers or to savour a favourite for a ‘Lost in Kyoto’ moment by the bar. 

The lobby lounge has separated sections by latticed walls, enabling a variety of spaces to relax or read (with the many art books available to read). 

By day, complimentary tea is available for guests, and in the evening a glass of something more is able to be ordered and enjoy in the peaceful surrounds.

Artisanal florist Christian Tortu's curation of bonsai at the hotel is commendable | Photography Champ Creative for Champ Magazine©
Artist Kohei Nawa's artwork PixCell-Biwa (Mica) can be found in the lobby | Photography Champ Creative for Champ Magazine©
Artist Kohei Nawa's artwork PixCell-Biwa (Mica) can be found in the lobby | Photography Champ Creative for Champ Magazine©

GYM, POOL & SPA

The three-story waterfall described above runs all the way to the spa level, where swimmers in the 65.6-foot heated pool can view the waterfall outside. At the base of the pool, find Jin Hasegawa’s ‘Ultramarine fountain‘ artwork, a beautiful tiled fountain scene below the waters base. The pool area also has a steam room and sauna to utilise for ultimate relaxation. 

The hotel pool with the 'Ultramarine fountain' artwork by Jin Hasegawa at its base | Photo courtesy The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto

For rejuvenation however, the spa delivers with 7 treatment rooms and skincare by UK-brand ESPA.

There are two signature treatments to indulge in: Ryokucha Serenity Ritual (incorporating an antioxidant-rich green tea leaves from the city’s Uji region in its body, foot, and scalp massage) and the Kyoto Bamboo Ritual which utilises heated bamboo stalks and warm oil to improve flexibility. On the same floor next door, the gym is accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and features state-of-the-art equipment to use.

The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto | Photo courtesy The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto
The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto | Photography Champ Creative for Champ Magazine©

THE VERDICT

The location of the hotel couldn’t be better, away from the hustle and bustle but central enough to easily access the best part of Kyoto. Guests are able to walk along the river, or hire a Ritz-Carlton bike to cruise the city, equally as easily as their bell-boys are able to hail down a taxi or arrange a private car. The hotel is a 20 minute car ride away from Kyoto Station, convenient and easy to reach.

A luxury price tag accompanies a stay at the Ritz-Carlton Kyoto, but the hotel ensures to deliver. 

The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto | Photography Champ Creative for Champ Magazine©
The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto | Photo courtesy The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto

The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto  
Kamogawa Nijo-Ohashi Hotori,
Nakagyo-Ku, Kyoto
604-0902 Kyoto Prefecture, Japan

For more design and travel destinations in Kyoto and Japan, click here.

Text: Champ Editorial Director Monique Kawecki
Images: As credited, The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto and Champ Magazine©

April, 2024