Is The Hyatt Place Kyoto Worth A Stay?

by Shelli Stein

The Hyatt Place Kyoto, Japan, can be hit or miss, depending on what you’re aiming for. It’s an unusual and very different Hyatt Place property from those you’ll experience elsewhere. During my ten night stay I observed many things I’d like to point out to you. In this review, besides my customary descriptions of the hotel and rooms, I encourage you to pay attention so that your expectations are met and you’ll not be confused or disappointed.

Hyatt Place Kyoto Backstory

The hotel is owned and managed by a Japanese hotel management group, FJ Hotels. Here’s a quote to learn more about the company.

“For more than half a century, we have been involved in the hospitality business in Fukuoka and in the management of hotels including Grand Hyatt Fukuoka,” said Kunihiko Kiyohara, president of FJ Hotels. “We look forward to operating Hyatt Place Kyoto, with its prime location facing one of the city’s main avenues, Karasuma-dori in the middle of Kyoto.”

That means the hotel is a franchise and hotel employees are not Hyatt employees, though they do get some similar benefits to Hyatt employees.

Hyatt Place Kyoto reception

Hyatt Place Kyoto Location

The hotel location is a bit off the path for typical Kyoto tourist hotels, but worked well for me. By the time I walked everywhere I averaged 6-7 miles a day.

The Hyatt Place Kyoto is located in central Kyoto at the southwest corner of the Kyoto Imperial Palace and close to Nijo-jo Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The hotel has access to Marutamachi station on the Karasuma subway line and is about 10 minutes from Kyoto station by subway or car.

Pro tip about the subway system: If you don’t have a Kyoto subway system card, the machines only take cash.

Pro tip for pedestrians in Kyoto: Be careful while walking on the sidewalks. Though there are indeed bike lanes in the streets, very few, if any, riders use them. This topic could turn into a rant, but for now let’s leave this as a warning about how tricky and dangerous it can be walking around Kyoto.

Hyatt Place Opening, Hyatt Category Changes, and Guest Profiles

The Hyatt Place Kyoto opened in 2022. Not the best year to be opening a hotel due to the pandemic and lack of travelers in Japan.

The property opened as a Hyatt Category 4 hotel. Then it was downgraded to Category 3, and as of this year is a Category 2. Categories are generally based on one year average room rates and Japan was slow to open to tourism after the pandemic.

Hyatt Place Kyoto front desk

Those of you who may have stayed at the Hyatt Place and spent 15,000 Hyatt points a night may be miffed to hear this news or happy because you have another stay planned and rates have dropped considerably.

Now the average rate is maybe $150 USD a night depending on season. Spring and fall are the busy seasons in Kyoto. Winter is too cold and summer too hot to entice many visitors. As an interesting aside, Kyoto is the hottest area of Japan during the summer.

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The hotel maintains about 70% occupancy rates during the off season and can get as high as 90% during the busy seasons.

As to the makeup of guests, typically 80% of the guests are Hyatt members and 80% of guests are from the United States. For a high percentage of guests, it’s a first time visit to Kyoto.

The average stay is 3-7 days. I observed many tour groups and families in house.

How Breakfast Works At The Hyatt Place Kyoto

One of the policies at Hyatt Place properties that draw guests to the hotels is that breakfast is free for all guests. This too was the policy at the Hyatt Place Kyoto when it opened.  But not any more!

Hyatt Place Kyoto dining room

Hyatt Place Kyoto spacious dining area

As of summer 2023, breakfast at the hotel is only complimentary for Hyatt Globalists. I tried to get an answer as to why this change was made but it wasn’t forthcoming. I guess we can say, “follow the money!”

Thirty percent of guests are now paying for breakfast. It costs 2000 JPY if booked with your reservation and 2600 JPY if not taken with a reservation. That’s per person. Kids under twelve pay 1200 JPY. That’s between $13 and $17 USD per person per day.

You might be asking what’s for breakfast? Many have heard it’s also not your typical Hyatt Place breakfast. That’s very true! It leans towards Japanese foods with rice, curry, pickles, fish, miso soup, and assorted Japanese style salads.

There are also western food options with eggs, cereal, fruit, breads, and fresh salad. I love salad for breakfast!

For me breakfast worked well. I was able to take food away with no issue and there were plenty of salads to choose from. Fish for breakfast……..yes, please!

The egg preparations were complicated and confusing for guests. The egg station had a chef and a sign said you could order omelettes. People kept asking for an omelette filling but only plain egg omelettes were offered.

The hotel breakfast staff is quick and gracious despite the crowded hours and big crowds of guests all appearing at the same time.

What Do Guests At The Hyatt Place Kyoto Complain About?

Both Hyatt members and guests who have heard about the usual Hyatt Place free breakfast complain breakfast is not free.

People complain that the rooms are small. We’ll get to my thoughts on this in a minute.

Hyatt members and Hyatt members with elite status are not given room upgrades. I think this one is a bit tricky. The staff will tell you there are no upgrades, yet you can read online about upgrades and might even know someone who stayed at the hotel who was given an upgrade.

There are no upgrades per se, but the hotel staff does know who the Globalists are, and if possible assigns them rooms on the top floors. Globalists do still get a late checkout time.

People complain that rooms are not ready when they arrive.

Guests also complain about the room magnet system being too complicated. For designating whether or not you want service there are three magnet options. You put the magnet on your door so housekeeping knows your request. I’ve never seen anything quite like this system before. I just told the front desk manager I didn’t want service at all and if I did I’d personally ask for it. That worked well for me.

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Guest Rooms At The Hyatt Place Kyoto

The rooms are mostly the standard king bed category that you’ll see online. I am not including photos of the rooms because they match what you’ll see online.

Because the hotel is so new, it is very clean and modern. I didn’t see any aging issues at all in the hotel. I liked the interior design of the rooms with the light wood. Yes, the rooms are small.

The room cleaning system seems a bit strange. I noticed that while housekeeping is cleaning, they will often have more than one guest door open besides the one they are cleaning. As people walk by they can see into the room. Struck me as odd to be able to walk down the hall and see into occupied rooms.

The Hyatt Place is popular with families. Because of the small room size though, families often need to take more than one room. However, there are rooms with twin beds and couches that pull out.

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How Was The Service At The Hyatt Place Kyoto?

During my stay the hotel had some supply issues. They ran out of lids for coffee cups and the coffee machines broke. They keep two coffee machines in the lobby so guests have access to complimentary coffee during the day.

There were no coffee machines in the rooms. There was instant coffee and a kettle.

Free coffee is a nice idea, right? Maybe, maybe not.

Hyatt Place Kyoto Nespresso Machine

Hyatt Place Kyoto Nespresso Machine

Many  people have never seen a Nespresso machine before and didn’t know how to use one. Maybe a more universal style machine would keep the havoc I saw at bay 🙂

The hotel elevators were quick. The lobby was well lit and there are plenty of spaces to spread out for a work  session or to have meetings.

Off the lobby is a small gym and laundry facility.

Housekeeping was good with offering supplies and prompt and attentive to whatever guests need.

The hotel water machine on each floor is a good idea. You fill your own bottle. This makes total sense and I wish more hotels had these machines in place. If you needed ice, it was easy to grab when you filled water bottles.

When I spoke with hotel management I suggested the property could use a Guest Experience person. The hotel is busy, especially with groups coming and going. The staff spoke little to no English. With the guest profile including mostly Americans and English speakers, having a dedicated Guest Experience staff member would go a long way towards alleviating the long lines at the front desk. It would also provide what I think would be a much appreciated service.

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Would I Stay At The Hyatt Place Kyoto Again?

Good question. I’m leaning toward a yes. Even though it’s not a typical Hyatt Place, I had a good stay. Nothing was bad, just different. If different is okay by you, then you’ll enjoy the property.

Lovely Kyoto day

Lovely Kyoto day

There are three Hyatt properties now in Kyoto, a Regency, a Park Hyatt, and now the Hyatt Place. The Hyatt Regency is in a totally different area of Kyoto. The Park Hyatt is in the thick of it for tourists.

As a Category 2 property on points the Hyatt Place is a great value. If you’re a Globalist the value is even better because you still get the complimentary breakfast. I didn’t mind the location at all because it got me out and walking a lot! For me that’s always the best way to enjoy a destination.

If what I’ve written here seems like a good fit for your needs, by all means you’ll enjoy the Hyatt Place.  Let me know if you’ve stayed here and how the hotel worked out for you.


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Naoyuki May 18, 2024 - 2:09 pm

You said “The hotel location is a bit off the path for typical Kyoto tourist hotels, but worked well for me.” The reason it worked well for you is because the location, in my opinion, is very good. I would say that it is better than the locations where most of the foreign tourists flock to. It is literally near the middle of the old city limits of Kyoto, and access to subway is the key. If I were to pick a hotel in Kyoto just based on location, I would seriously consider this one. By the way, I was born in Kyoto and my parents still live there.

Shelli Stein May 18, 2024 - 5:16 pm

Thanks, Naoyuki,for adding to the conversation about the hotel location. I agree on the location. It also worked well for me because I love walking and don’t at all mind long walks every day. I think all the Hyatt hotels in Kyoto have unique locations, so I’d recommend them all.


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