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I find that Japan is not a place many people head to for their holidays, so this hotel review might seem a touch random, but on the off chance that you are ever passing by the old Japanese capital of Kyoto then try and stay at Hoshinoya.
When MAD booked this on the recommendation of Conde Nast's Traveller magazine, we had no idea it was such a famous hotel in Japan. It is an updated version ( in a good way) of the traditional ryokan guest house with more modern architecture and comfy beds.
The hotel is in a small suburb of old Kyoto, Arashiyama, from where you take a boat up the jade green Oigawa river to land at the very discrete hotel perched on the river bank. It is surrounded by maple trees, all glowing red and amber in the autumn sunshine. The service is quite spectacular, this being the forte of the Japanese, I doubt we'll ever get such sincere attention in a hotel anywhere else in the world.
There is little to do but admire the harmonious link between land, architecture and nature (we spot monkeys and tiny deer at the water's edge) and of course eat. The food is amazing, our Japanese style breakfast of salmon, local Kyoto vegetables (they're famous for quality) poached in miso broth and rice was the highlight of the holiday, despite how it sounds written down....
This is not a cheap place, but I bet it's one of the best hotel experiences you will ever have, and that from a girl who's travelled (5 star) quite a bit. Some pictures.....
...where even the maple leaves seem to fall in an artistic manner.
The amazing colours of the trees