One of the highlights for families when visiting Japan is exploring the ancient city of Kyoto. Famous for its iconic Buddhist temples, Shinto shrines, and royal palaces, the city is a must-see for those interested in history and architecture. Furthermore, the city is well known for its traditional houses on stilts, specialized dining, and the geisha female entertainers. For families wishing to explore the city, the Westin Miyako Kyoto Hotel is an excellent option.
What Makes it Family Worthy?
This five-star hotel with its luxurious 499 rooms is located at 1 Higashiyama-Ku Awada Chika-cho. Perched up a small hill its somewhat secluded location provides a peaceful refuge for travelers while still relatively close to the city’s subway system.The property runs a complimentary shuttle service to the downtown section of Kyoto for visitors who need it.
Also, the hotel is only a ten-minute walk from the Nanzen-Ji Buddist temple dating all the way back to the 13th century.
Though the venue primarily caters to business travelers, it does an excellent job catering to couples and families as well.
The hotel’s public areas were decorated in neutral hues with light wooden furnishing giving its lobby and dining halls a classic ‘Old World’ vibe. Plush and ample seating, as well as various spots to work on laptops, helped create a welcoming feel for all travelers.
We received a complimentary upgrade to a two bedroom suite, which was greatly appreciated.
The views overlooked the nearby gardens, decorated in the Zen style an iconic Japanese tradition. The spacious quarters decorated in muted greens and grays had a full living room area with a velvet plush sofa, two armchairs, two tables along with a flat-screen television. Furthermore, it boasted a separate station with tea and coffee supplies and clean glasses provided.
We thought that the video doorbell at the entrance to the suite was a great safety feature.
Our bedroom, the parents’ room, boasted a large king sized bed with two nightstands on each side and a modest sitting area with a desk and chair for furnishings. Furthermore, it had a dresser with large drawers with a TV set on top and a separate closet.
Our sons’ room featured two single beds with accompanying nightstands bolted to the wall. This feature was apparently because of all the earthquakes in Japan. Just like in our room, they had a velour lounge chair, a work desk, and a flat-screen TV sitting atop a large chest of drawers.
The only difference between the two rooms was that our sitting area had two live plants as is typical of most Japanese hotel rooms.
Complimentary kimonos, pajamas, slippers, and bathrobes were provided in each room.
Another important feature of the suite was that each of the room had a separate thermostat prominently displayed on the wall. This feature allowed us to adjust the temperature to suit our tastes and needs.
The suite featured two separate marble tiled bathrooms, one for our sons and one for us parents.
Our bathroom was slightly bigger than our kids’. It included a tan speckled granite countertop vanity, a full tub, and a separate enclosed shower with a handheld showerhead. The room also had a Japanese-style plug-in commode separated by a glass door.
Our kids’ bathroom had a similar set up with the granite countertop, tub, and separate Japanese-style toilet, as well as a similar shower enclosure.
Both bathrooms offered top of the line Bulgari amenity kits that included soaps, shampoos, and conditioners. Besides the main amenity kit, the also hotel provided a box that contained some much-needed travel essentials, from toothbrushes and combs to shaving razors. We appreciated the metal baskets in each of the bathrooms where we could place wet towels instead of leaving them lying on the floor.
We found the executive lounge in this hotel somewhat lacking.
The actual room was on the small side and had little seating available, which made it quite unpleasant to relax after a day of touring. Moreover, it seemed that the staff only allowed a strict number of appetizers to be sampled each visit, a restriction we had never experienced before.
While disappointed by the executive lounge, we did find comfort in the lavish daily breakfast buffet, which we considered an excellent value.
A wide variety of fruits, juices, cereals, yogurt, and meats were available. Travelers could help themselves to scrambled eggs, mashed potatoes, cooked vegetables, or even fish stew from the buffet. Numerous condiments were provided for buffet goers to enhance the various entrees.
We saw separate stations set up for rice, soup, homemade tofu, and dim sum. A basic salad bar was likewise available, and guests could choose from several different dressings. There also was a superb selection of meats, bread, some cheeses, cakes and various types of jams to accompany them.
The only thing that we found uncomfortable was the fact that the breakfast buffet was hugely popular and often too crowded the days we were visiting.
The hotel had a full spa and skin care salon available as well as an indoor and outdoor pool. For the active travelers, there was an outdoor tennis court to practice their swings.
Guests seeking a quieter past time could walk the picturesque 40-minute walking the trail and explore its wild bird sanctuary or find tranquility in the hotel’s three Japanese style gardens.
Families with little kids will be excited to discover that the hotel provided a small separate room close to the lobby with a play area for the younger kids to enjoy.
The free WiFi available throughout the entire facility was reliable and fast.
Autism Travel Tips:
- We found the Japanese gardens, as well as the walking trail, perfect to help kids with autism relax during their stay.
- Both rooms had tubs with safety bars so that disabled persons will have no trouble entering or exiting the bath.
- Due to the large size of the suite with multiple doors, parents to kids with autism that wander off should bring stick on alarms to alert them if the main door to the suite is opened.
- Parents of children with autism that suffer from pica should inform the front desk and request the live plants be taken out for the duration of the stay.
- Parents should pack night lights to help everybody navigate the room in the dark.
- It is advisable to bring bath mats for the shower area to prevent kids from slipping.
- Parents should explain to their children the plug-in Japanese toilets, so they won’t unnecessarily press buttons and break them.