Two nights at Motonago was our big splurge for our two-week Japan trip... twice as expensive as the other hotels we stayed in. But it was a great experience, and I'm glad we included it!
The building itself doesn't radiate beauty or luxury in the usual ways that expensive hotels often do: the floors are simple tatami mats, the corridors are plain and undecorated, apart from communal sinks. If you didn't know better, you'd think it was a budget hotel at first glance.
But what makes this wholly different from Western hotels is the service: you're being waited on hand and foot, bowed to and attended to on a very personal level. The in-room kaiseki dinner was a big highlight: excellent food, excellent service. Every time you return they're ready with your slippers and offer you in-room tea service. A private bath is prepared for you each evening in the beautiful wooden tub. Your room is transformed and bed is prepared each evening with great comforters. The fresh wood smell permeates.
Apparently most ryokan have small rooms and windows: our room was very spacious, and had a nice pine tree outside the large window. In-room toilet was handy for late night, while we preferred the much nicer (and always empty) communal toilet across the hall.
Internet is missing here, apart from an ancient laptop available for use in the lobby, but that's a feature, not a bug: it's nice to be off the grid for a few days!
And finally, the location is amazing: right in the heart of so many beautiful temples, streets, and shops. Wandering after dinner was very memorable. We stayed in 3 different areas of Kyoto and this was the nicest, no doubt (though it's certainly full of tourists).
So for me, the uniqueness of the experience and the attentiveness of the staff really made the stay special, and a great romantic component of our honeymoon.
- Also Known As:
- Motonago Hotel Kyoto
- Motonago Hotel
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