Kyoto is a city ingrained with stories and millennia of history. A visit to Kyoto encourages any visitor to reevaluate their own histories, tales, and ultimately themselves. The ancient capital is a geographical palimpsest written with words, culture, and a desire to make sense of the periods and eras of Japanese history which make it so fascinating and magnetic to tourists, both domestic and international.
In the Nakagyo district, a few minutes' walk from Kamogawa River, you'll find a panoply of quaint cafes, wine bars, and stylish locations fit for the visitor who likes the good things in life. Kyoto has seen a spate of new hotel operations opening in the city of late, mainly to cater to the increase in tourists in the last decade or so. In June 2021, the Marriott group opened a collaborative venture with Sun Frontier Hotel Management Co., Ltd. to establish a brand-new space named Hiyori Chapter Kyoto Tribute Portfolio Hotel.
With the charming concept, "Welcome to the story of Kyoto," the latest addition to the city's hotel scene brings a healthy amount of nostalgia and intriguing fusion of east and west in a space that emanates sophistication and character. The hotel lobby, ostensibly the face of the operation, is beautiful with cultured wooden beams, subtle lighting, and space for relaxing. It also plays host to the hotel restaurant, patisserie, and cafe named Matsunari which serves guests everything from breakfast to dinner with sweets all day long. The array of sweets at Matsunari are a deliberate mixture of Japanese wagashi with European notes such as yuzu, mochi, and chocolate. The breakfast buffet has everything a traveler requires from toasted sandwiches, homemade yogurt drinks, and Japanese sweet eggs sandwiched between thickly cut bread.
The compact but perfect little bar at Matsunari is a nice addition to the lobby area. With a selection of nihonshu such as locally brewed Nanzan, Ki No Bi gin (which has its main space just across the road), and Kingsbury whisky from Scotland but created especially for Kyoto, it's a soothing way to begin or end your night and a means to make new friends.
The lobby is the front cover and opening pages to the Hiyori Chapter Kyoto Tribute Portfolio Hotel. It's essentially the foreword. With a beautiful wall of maps and stories (named Chapter Factory) illustrating to guests about nearby stores and spaces, each area has a page with a QR code that sends guests to Google Maps so they can locate the stores mentioned. If you fancy an onigiri, a trip to a local restaurant, then point and shoot at the curated wall of information. It's such a delicate but important touch that more hotels really should be doing. Gone are the days when hotels wanted to entrap you into their own surroundings for your stay. This hotel is all about Kyoto, Nakagyo, and visitors experiencing everything that the city has to offer.
As you would imagine, the guest rooms are stunning. Delicately balanced with wooden design, modern furnishings, and Wi-Fi, suitably placed sockets, flat-screen television, and bathroom with a spectrum of amenities and accouterments. Beautifully designed, comfortable, and spacious, the hotel has really gone the extra mile to ensure guests receive the best stay possible. The hotel facilities also include a fitness center and sento (Japanese bath).
Nakagyo is the ideal spot in Kyoto to experience shopping, nightlife, and arts and crafts as it is historically a location that has hosted many of the city's shokunin or artisans. Explore the myriad nooks and crannies of this area of Kyoto and be sure to explore the backstreets as you will almost certainly find a temple, shrine, or spot that will become special to you and will be part of your Kyoto, your story, your chapter and your journey, which is everything that the Hiyori Chapter Tribute Portfolio Hotel wants you to achieve on your visit to one of Japan and the world's most enchanting places.