Review: Park Hyatt Kyoto

Room Type
King Room with View
Elite Status
Hyatt Globalist
Date
September 2022
Rating

 

The Park Hyatt Kyoto is one of Kyoto’s most attractive properties and one of three Park Hyatt hotels in Japan. It only recently opened in 2019, so I was keen to experience it on my second visit to the city.

The property is nestled in the historic district of Higashiyama, where staggered hillside buildings transport you back in time to feudal-era Japan.

The setting appeared equal parts beautiful and surreal from the outside, so I was intrigued to stay here as a Hyatt Globalist member and to check off this aspirational property from my bucket list.

In This Post

Park Hyatt Kyoto – Booking

I was able to book this stay for 35,000 World of Hyatt points for a one-night stay.

This is a Category 8 property under World of Hyatt, so there’s separate pricing for off-peak, peak, and regular pricing. Regular pricing at the time was 40,000 points, while off-peak pricing was 35,000 points.

I just so happened to find the one day within a two-week period with off-peak pricing instead of regular. Naturally, I arranged my stay here at the Park Hyatt Kyoto for that particular night, and saved myself 5,000 points by doing so.

When booking with cash, this property goes for around ¥100,000–150,000 yen ($1,000–1,500 CAD) per night.

I was confident that I was getting excellent value for my World of Hyatt points, which we value at 1.9 cents (CAD) per point, as I achieved a redemption rate of over 3 cents (CAD) per point with this booking.

Park Hyatt Kyoto – Location

Higashiyama is located on the eastern side of Kyoto, past the Kamo River. It’s a small tourist town, preserving the atmosphere and feel of feudal Japan, and the Park Hyatt blends seamlessly into the distinctive setting.

Higashiyama has plenty to offer, from traditional pottery stores, tea houses, and many restaurants. Plus, the Kiyomizu-dera Buddhist temple is situated right on its doorstep, only a five-minute walk from the Park Hyatt.

Kyoto’s other popular attractions, including the gates of Fushimi Inari-taisha and Nijo Castle, are both a 15-minute taxi ride from the Park Hyatt.

It’s a bit further to other attractions such as the Kinkaku-ji golden Buddhist temple, where it’ll take approximately 30 minutes by vehicle to arrive.

Park Hyatt Kyoto – Exterior

For those travelling from within Japan, you’ll likely arrive at Osaka Itami Airport, which is about an hour’s journey to and from the hotel. On the other hand, international travellers will have a 90-minute journey from Osaka Kansai International Airport to the hotel.

The nearest Kyoto Subway outpost from the property is Gion-Shijo Station, a 15-minute walk away.

Lastly, the Shinkansen line, which is often the choice of transportation from Tokyo, arrives at the Kyoto Station – a 15-minute taxi journey to the hotel.

Park Hyatt Kyoto – Check-in

We arrived at the Park Hyatt Kyoto at about 6pm, and were immediately greeted by the hotel staff. As soon as we stepped out of the taxi, the bellhops proactively helped us with our belongings.

Park Hyatt Kyoto – Exterior
Park Hyatt Kyoto – Entrance

We then headed to the front desk, where the associate welcomed us, retrieved our reservation, and confirmed our upgrade to the King Room with View.

Park Hyatt Kyoto – Check-in desk

Unfortunately, the hotel has a very limited number of rooms and suites, with just 70 guest rooms and nine suites, so upgrades can be difficult to come by.

The standard suite at this hotel is called the Park Suite, and this is the suite that Hyatt Globalist members typically get upgraded to, if it’s available.

Alas, both Park Suites were occupied at the time of my visit, which took place during “Silver Week” in Japan. This string of two public holidays within one week makes it a very busy time for domestic travel.

Nevertheless, the hotel had still done us a favour by upgrading us to the seventh-floor King Room with View. 

Park Hyatt Kyoto – Lobby lounge
Park Hyatt Kyoto – Lobby lounge

From here, we were escorted to our room by the attendant, where we completed the formalities and checked in to the room.

In-room check-in is a common practice at many high-end hotels worldwide, and especially here in Kyoto. I recall getting the same treatment back at The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto when I had stayed there a few years ago.

As we made our way to the room, I took note of the hotel’s very unique layout. The property is spread across two separate buildings, both occupying a single elevated ridge within the Higashiyama district.

We took a set of elevators that whisked us up to the fifth floor of the main building, and from there, a covered outdoor path briefly led us into the second building.

Park Hyatt Kyoto – Elevators
Park Hyatt Kyoto – Covered outdoor walkway

Both buildings overlook an interior courtyard, which in itself is occupied by a neighbouring restaurant, Kyoyamato. The restaurant is independently operated, but is still affiliated with the hotel.

The second building begins on the fifth floor, with two additional floors above that play host to more guest rooms. Ours was located on the seventh floor of the second building, in Room 712.

Park Hyatt Kyoto – Hallway
Park Hyatt Kyoto – Room 712

Upon arriving at the room, we were informed that the Park Hyatt Kyoto also hosts a Champagne hour between 5–6pm for its guests in The Living Room. This is exclusive for Hyatt Globalist members, as well as guests staying in the hotel’s suites.

Unfortunately, we missed the Champagne hour that evening, but it’s something that would have been nice to experience as a Globalist staying here.

Once we completed check-in, the attendant offered to walk us through the features of our King Room with View.

Park Hyatt Kyoto – King Room with View

Since we arrived at night, we didn’t fully take in the floor-to-ceiling views just yet. However, upon waking up the following days, seeing the views of Higashiyama through the expansive windows was certainly an awe-inspiring moment.

Furthermore, since we were on the top floor of the building, we had a sloping roof, which gave us the feel of a larger indoor space.

Park Hyatt Kyoto – King Room with View floor-to-ceiling windows
Park Hyatt Kyoto – King Room with View Higashiyama view

At 45 square metres, the room is large enough for a comfortable stay while still feeling cozy. Light Tamo wood is used throughout the room, serving as a midpoint between the modern metal framing and traditional Japanese touches.

Upon entering the room, there is a pantry area on the right. We found a Nespresso coffee maker here, as well as a number of minibar beverages and snacks.

Park Hyatt Kyoto – King Room with View entrance & mini-bar area
Park Hyatt Kyoto – King Room with View coffee maker & mini-bar

There’s a seating area that features a cushy couch with a myriad of fluffy pillows. A quilted armchair sits next to a modern coffee table at the foot of the bed, where a welcome gift of grapes awaited us.

Park Hyatt Kyoto – King Room with View living area
Park Hyatt Kyoto – King Room with View welcome gift

To the right of this seating area, a large flat-screen TV is mounted to the wall.

The king bed sits against the left-hand wall, accompanied by two different bedside tables on either side. One is more modern and darker, while the other is wooden and attached to the wall.

Park Hyatt Kyoto – King Room with View bedroom
Park Hyatt Kyoto – King Room with View bed

The bathrooms are opulent, with more Tamo wood contrasting a dark polished Juparana granite. This was notably a glossier surface compared to the honed finish used back at the Hotel The Mitsui Kyoto.

Park Hyatt Kyoto – King Room with View bathroom
Park Hyatt Kyoto – King Room with View bathroom
Park Hyatt Kyoto – King Room with View vanity

The space featured a vanity with double sinks and a typical Japanese-style wet room. The wet room contains a shower and a striking soaker tub embedded in the marble, while the toilet is separate from the space.

Park Hyatt Kyoto – King Room with View wet room
Park Hyatt Kyoto – King Room with View bathtub
Park Hyatt Kyoto – King Room with View toilet

Moreover, the bathroom was fitted with Le Labo toiletries, a Park Hyatt signature. 

Park Hyatt Kyoto – King Room with View

Although we didn’t get a suite, I didn’t have any complaints about the room. The square footage was perhaps a little limited, but the beautiful warm Japanese finishings and mesmerizing views made up for it. 

Park Hyatt Kyoto – Higashiyama House

I also had a chance to tour a few of the other room types during my stay.

The Higashiyama House is a specialty suite, two steps above the standard Park Suite that Globalist members can expect to get upgraded to if available. (The Ninenzaka House, a premium suite, is positioned between the two.)

As a non-standard suite, it would definitely take a fair bit of “suite-talking” or an exceptional stroke of luck to be upgraded to this suite. A paid upgrade would be a more likely route to spending a night in this suite. 

Nonetheless, it’s a stunning space, inspired by the mountains of Kyoto and boasting the same relaxed atmosphere across its living and sleeping areas.

Park Hyatt Kyoto – Higashiyama House bedroom
Park Hyatt Kyoto – Higashiyama House living area
Park Hyatt Kyoto – Higashiyama House walk-in closet

There are floor-to-ceiling windows on two sides of the suite. One is on the far end of the living space, and then another window leads into the primary bedroom.

The bathroom is similar to the King Room with View; however, the sinks are separated, and the bathtub is larger and circular. 

Park Hyatt Kyoto – Higashiyama House bathroom

Park Hyatt Kyoto – Pagoda House

The Pagoda House is the Presidential Suite here at the Park Hyatt Kyoto. It’s a massive space that doubles as a venue for exhibitions and small events.

Park Hyatt Kyoto – Pagoda House living area & entertaining area

Here, you’ll find floor-to-ceiling views on not one, not two, but three sides of the suite.

Park Hyatt Kyoto – Pagoda House bedroom
Park Hyatt Kyoto – Pagoda House living area
Park Hyatt Kyoto – Pagoda House dining area & living area

Furthermore, the space features a private kitchen for food preparation, as the Pagoda House is often used for private dining.

Park Hyatt Kyoto – Pagoda House private kitchen

The bathroom has a similar layout to the Higashiyama House, with subtle differences, such as the sinks kept on the same counter.

Park Hyatt Kyoto – Pagoda House bathroom

Park Hyatt Kyoto – Breakfast

At the Park Hyatt Kyoto, Globalist members are given complimentary daily Western breakfast for two as their elite breakfast offering.

If you’d like to have a separate Japanese breakfast catered by Kyoyamato, the restaurant next door that’s closely affiliated with the hotel, then you’ll have to pay a surcharge of ¥3,000 ($30 CAD).

Frankly, I was quite disappointed by this. I was surprised that the more authentic Japanese breakfast option was the one subject to a surcharge, especially for the hotel’s top-tier guests.

We still begrudgingly paid for the Japanese set meal to give it a try, but as a Globalist member who’s experienced plenty of generosity from hotels around the world on account of my elite status, I’d put this down as a fairly significant mark against the hotel. 

Breakfast is hosted in Kyoto Bistro, located near the hotel’s entrance. If you’ve ordered the Japanese breakfast, it gets prepared in Kyoyamoto’s kitchen before being served here.

Park Hyatt Kyoto – Kyoto Bistro entrance
Park Hyatt Kyoto – Kyoto Bistro seating

The starter was quite tasty. A jelly eggplant dish was served in an eggplant-shaped bowl, which we thought was quite amusing.

Park Hyatt Kyoto – Jelly eggplant at Kyoto Bistro

Following this, an elaborate Japanese bento box is presented, with grilled miso cod as the main item.

Park Hyatt Kyoto – Bento box at Kyoto Bistro
Park Hyatt Kyoto – Bento box at Kyoto Bistro
Park Hyatt Kyoto – Bento box at Kyoto Bistro

Additionally, I enjoyed nibbling away at various side dishes and accompaniments to my fish, rice, and miso soup across this two-layered bento box.

Park Hyatt Kyoto – Breakfast dessert at Kyoto Bistro

Like most Japanese breakfasts we indulged in along this trip, the meal was delicately balanced, with the salty and umami flavours of the individual items pairing well with the rice.

Despite the quality of the meal, though, the fact that we had to pay a $30 surcharge as Hyatt Globalist members did rub me the wrong way.

Park Hyatt Kyoto – Dining

In addition to Kyoto Bistro, an all-day dining venue, Yasaka, is located on the fourth floor. Like the traverse to the hotel’s second building on the fifth floor, you’ll pass through the outdoors briefly, and you’ll then arrive at the restaurant.

(Side note: take a peek at the link chains hanging from the roof structure, which consolidate the flow of water when it’s raining outside. How elegant!)

Park Hyatt Kyoto – Walkway to Yasaka

There are two teppanyaki dining rooms, both of which offer views of the Higashiyama area and the Yasaka Pagoda, the last remaining structure of a sixth-century temple.

This landmark can be seen from most of the views from the hotel, including our very own King Room with View.

Park Hyatt Kyoto – Yasaka seating
Park Hyatt Kyoto – Yasaka seating
Park Hyatt Kyoto – Yasaka seating

If I had more time at the property, I would’ve loved to try out a teppanyaki sitting for lunch or dinner here at Yasaka with the serene views in the distance.

Park Hyatt Kyoto – Bar

One highlight of the Park Hyatt Kyoto that we didn’t miss out on was Kohaku, the hotel’s bar, which is also situated on the fourth floor.

Kohaku was one of the most impressive hotel bars that I’ve ever had the pleasure of enjoying a drink in.

The space is highly exclusive and intimate, with just 10 seats overlooking Higashiyama and the Yasaka Pagoda, and a few additional seats on the side.

Park Hyatt Kyoto – Kohaku seating
Park Hyatt Kyoto – Kohaku seating

When my partner Jessy and I first went, we were the only guests at the bar.

It was so quiet that you could hear a pin drop, and with just us and the bartender, it almost felt like we were enjoying a drink in our own private viewing room at one of Kyoto’s most beautiful landmarks. 

Furthermore, the drinks were elaborately prepared, and were well-balanced and smooth. We savoured each sip as we took in the stunning surroundings.

A cocktail here at the Kohaku bar starts at ¥2,310 ($22 CAD), so the amazing experience here doesn’t come cheap.

Park Hyatt Kyoto – Cocktails at Kohaku

However, the exclusive dimly-lit atmosphere, combined with the dark woods and leather textures of the space, made for an unforgettable ambiance.

A drink at Kohaku was indeed one of the highlights of our stay, and I’d wholly recommend you stop by the bar at sunset or in the evening – especially if no one else is around.

Park Hyatt Kyoto – View from Kohaku

Park Hyatt Kyoto – Other Facilities

The fitness centre is located on the third floor of the main building, and was a very aesthetically pleasing space. The gym equipment is scattered across many nooks of this Japanese-style hallway.

Park Hyatt Kyoto – Fitness centre
Park Hyatt Kyoto – Fitness centre
Park Hyatt Kyoto – Fitness centre

There’s everything you’d need for a great workout here, from new cardio equipment to free weights. Furthermore, headphones, water, fruit, and towels are available for guests.

Park Hyatt Kyoto – Fitness centre
Park Hyatt Kyoto – Fitness centre

At the end of the hallway is where the spa and onsen facilities can be found. There’s a hot pool, a cold pool, a steam room, a sauna, and a changing area.

Park Hyatt Kyoto – Spa entrance

These facilities are separated by gender, but are communal otherwise, so there’s a chance you’ll be sharing the baths with other guests.

Park Hyatt Kyoto – Spa change room
Park Hyatt Kyoto – Onsen area

In our case, we essentially had the onsen to ourselves while we were there. It was nice to hop back and forth between the cold plunge pool and the hot bath and truly indulge in the experience.

In keeping with the guest rooms, the onsen was beautiful, with Japanese wood columns contrasting the polished granite of the pools.

Park Hyatt Kyoto – Onsen

It’s worth noting that if you have tattoos, you may actually be asked to leave if you end up sharing the facility with other guests, as there’s still some negative connotations surrounding tattoos in Japan today.

In addition to the gym and spa facilities, the Tea Lounge is located on the fifth floor of the main building, and you’ll pass by this area quite frequently as you make your way across the ridge to the second building.

Park Hyatt Kyoto – Tea Lounge
Park Hyatt Kyoto – Tea Lounge

The Tea Lounge is a small communal space with grab-and-go bottled water all day and tea available to order in the afternoons. However, it didn’t seem as though anyone was ordering.

The Living Room is situated near the check-in desks, and serves as a communal space in the hotel where guests can gather. This is where Champagne hour is hosted for Globalist members and suite guests.

It’s a brightly illuminated space with a stunning open fireplace and comfortable armchairs dotted around large live-edge tables.

Park Hyatt Kyoto – The Living Room

Upon arrival, all guests are treated to a choice of welcome drink, to be served in the Living Room (we actually didn’t get around to having ours until just prior to departure).

I opted for a cappuccino, while Jessy sipped on a glass of wine.

Park Hyatt Kyoto – Welcome drink
Park Hyatt Kyoto – Welcome drink

Lastly, I’ll also take this moment to comment on the beautiful aesthetics of the Park Hyatt Kyoto.

Throughout the property, there are a myriad of hallways and corridors mixed within stunning garden paths that all smoothly blend together through floor-to-ceiling windows.

Park Hyatt Kyoto – Outdoor walkway
Park Hyatt Kyoto – Walkway

Many of the rocks in the gardens were actually sourced from the Colorado home of the Pritzker family, the owners of Hyatt.

Park Hyatt Kyoto – Garden

Furthermore, even the “in-between” moments of our stay, such as waiting for the two sets of elevators en route to our room, left us impressed by the sleek and minimalistic décor surrounding us.

Park Hyatt Kyoto – Elevators

The predominant theme of that décor is the placement of traditional Japanese touches in contemporary settings, such as a bonsai tree standing boldly alone in an otherwise empty entrance space.

Park Hyatt Kyoto – Bonsai tree

Conclusion

The Park Hyatt Kyoto is an outstanding property, and one that I’d certainly recommend adding to your list of aspirational hotels.

Our stay was luxurious from beginning to end, centring around a seemingly constant view of Yasaka Pagoda through the floor-to-ceiling windows throughout the property, from our humble King Room with View to the sprawling hallways to the intimate Kohaku bar. 

My only gripe would be the surcharge for the Japanese breakfast, even for top-tier Globalist members, which I found to be unnecessarily stingy on the hotel’s part.

Otherwise, this high-end hotel is well worth trying out to experience Kyoto’s traditional-style Higashiyama district up close, especially given its excellent redemption value on World of Hyatt points. 

 

 

2 Comments
  1. Ed Chan

    I don’t think you can reach Park Hyatt Kyoto from Itami Airport in 25 minutes (from Itami Airport to downtown Osaka like Umeda, yes, but not to Kyoto.

    1. Ricky YVR

      Yep, my mistake there – about an hour’s car ride.

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