Kyoto is a top tourist destination in Japan for locals and tourists alike; if you find yourself in Japan, chances are you’ll end up passing through Kyoto sooner or later. Sometimes it can be difficult to find a hotel in a big city which is both comfortable and reasonably priced – two things which can be found at the Palace Side Hotel.
A stylish restaurant with open-air dining on the deck that greets you on arrival to the hotel; the spacious lobby is arranged with plenty of comfy seats for relaxing in after your journey with an international daily paper in your hand. If you’ve come from a small Japanese city (where almost no-one speaks English) don’t be too surprised when you’re greeted in perfect English by the staff behind the check-in desk. The Palace Side Hotel is used to international guests and so most of their staff speak at least a few words of English, with many of the front desk staff being highly skilled.
At the Palace Side Hotel, room rates are competitively priced and get cheaper the longer you stay for. Prices are fixed according to whether you stay for one or two nights, 3-5 nights, 6-29 nights, or the super cheap option for long-term guests staying 30 nights or more. Prices are per room, with extra charges for additional guests. For a single room, prices range from 4,200 yen to 6,000 yen per night, plus additional costs if you want to upgrade from a single bed to a semi-double bed. For a double room, prices range from 7,000 yen to 9,800 yen per night. For a twin room, prices range from 6,300 yen to 9,800 yen per night, depending on whether you want a room with or without a sofa. Finally, for a double or twin room with a small kitchenette, prices range from 8,200 yen to 11,800 yen per night.
The rooms are simple and fairly spacious, with small, clean bathrooms and comfortable beds. At this price, you’d be hard pushed to find something nicer in a big city like Kyoto.
Parking spaces are available for guests with cars (1,200 yen per day) and you can also hire a bicycle for competitive daily rates (or use it for free if it’s returned within the hour). The Cafe Fermata on the ground floor is open daily (breakfast costs 1,200 yen, or 1,100 yen if booked in advance.) In the lobby you can find a free internet booth as well as the community lounge.
On the second floor is the community kitchen if you fancy eating in after a day traipsing around and seeing the sights. There are several meeting rooms available for hire with a capacity for up to 80 people in the room, with ‘banquet’ dining options available. You can also make use of the laundry room on the second floor.
Other facilities include a small art gallery, Thai Massage room (booking required, one guest at a time) and events such as free Japanese classes in the lobby (details on the website.)
The best thing about the Palace Side Hotel is the location. As indicated in the name, the hotel is located directly opposite the Kyoto Imperial Palace. It’s a wonderful feeling to leave your hotel room and, less than one minute later, to be strolling around the large, peaceful gardens of the Palace Park. Entry to the Imperial Palace itself is by advance appointment only, but the grounds of the park are extensive and there is much to see, including the old walls and doors with thatched roofs that surround the palace.
Aside from the Imperial Palace, there are dozens of amazing things to see in Kyoto and the Palace Side Hotel is a great starting point for any day trip. Just a 3-minute walk from the Marutamachi Station, it’s easy to get out and about and see the sights of the city. If you fancy seeing Kinkakuji (The Golden Pavilion – a top tourist destination) then one of the best ways to get there is by hiring a bike directly from the hotel.
The Palace Side Hotel is great value for money, in an excellent location, and of a quality not usually found in hotels of this price range. When you’re used to staying in cheap B&B’s or capsule hotels, the Palace Side Hotel will feel like a luxurious retreat – I thoroughly recommend this hotel (which has won the TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence) to any traveller in Japan – particularly those who don’t speak Japanese and would really appreciate the English language skills of the staff there!