Staying at Hotel Granvia Kyoto is like being in the eye of a storm. It is strategically located on top of one of Japan’s busiest stations, but a sense of calm prevails when you step into the lobby just meters away from the train station’s central exit.
It has also demonstrated Omotenashi, or the art of Japanese hospitality, by catering for the needs of all its guests. From Christian wedding chapels, Shinto shrines and Halal friendly cuisine and Muslim prayer rooms, it is the first hotel in Kyoto to be certified by the Malaysian Halal Corporation, under its "Halal for all" program which demonstrates world class hotel and culinary standards for all its guests.
The check in process is calm and most staff speak good English. As this is a large hotel with over 500 rooms, it can get crowded if there is a large tour group checking in or out at the same time. While it is unlikely that all 500 guests will check in at once, this is not the kind of hotel where you rush around. Instead, take in the ambience in the lobby relax at the hair salon, or watch the city light up at night from the bar. The check in time is 3 pm and check out is 12 pm, however you can check in earlier or check out later for a 30% surcharge which will buy you up to 3 hours. There is no Wi-Fi at the lobby though.
The rooms are some of the most spacious for a hotel in Kyoto, with a large living area and a separate bath and shower area. While it does not have the traditional ryokan like feel, the earthy understated tones give a feeling of calm and elegance. The North facing rooms facing Kyoto Tower have the best views. If you have a room facing Kyoto Station and would prefer a quiet room, as for a room on a higher floor and those that are located some distance from the elevator. You would not want to stay too far from the elevator though, as this hotel has a huge footprint and you will end up spending a lot of time walking to and from the elevator.
Some of the rooms do have a cigarette smell, so ask for non-smoking room if you can. There is a Club Granvia lounge however its offering is fairly limited in relation to food offerings. The fitness center on the other hand, is open to all guests, features a lap pool that you can actually get a decent workout in, unlike some places where the pool resembles a large bath. There is a daily fee of 1,050 yen, however it means that it is fairly quiet and you don’t have to queue up for the facilities. Likewise the buffet breakfast is excellent, however it can get crowded during peak hours and I would recommend going to one of the a la carte restaurants instead. The Japanese menu is particularly noteworthy.
Alternatively, Kyoto station has a number of good restaurants, including Ramen Alley, an eat street above the station. Aoi Soba offers traditional dishes at a cheap and cheerful price, while Pontoiru gives you the experience of trying fusion pasta with chopsticks. The Man in the Moon Pub is a fun place to enjoy a wide selection of beer and spirits while watching the latest sports tournament.
As this hotel is associated with Japan Rail, special discounts are available through the Shinkansen Tour, a package combining bullet train travel and a stay at this hotel. Alternatively, you can book this hotel directly by clicking the hotel bed icon on the top right corner next to the lead photo, with rates starting from 20,001 yen for 2 people.