Hotel Review: Ibis Styles Kyoto Station

On a recent stay in Kyoto, Japan we stayed at the Ibis Styles Kyoto Station for 5 nights.  Overall this would be classed as a budget hotel in Japan, but was absolutely perfect for our needs, centrally located, clean and full featured.  I’ve broken the hotel review down further below.

Location

The hotel is located directly on the South side of Kyoto Station.  Getting out of the station when we arrived wasn’t easy – you need to head for the pedestrian walkway on the 2nd Floor at the West end of the station.  Don’t go above the 2nd floor, or you’ll have to come back down again.  Once on the pedestrian walkway,  the hotel is located right at the end, easily visible and across the main road.

The hotel is located slightly outside the main city centre, but we found that Kyoto station has everything you could need, including many food courts, shopping centres and supermarkets.  The hotel has a taxi rank for MK Taxis (a private company but we found them much better than normal taxis – most drivers also speak English well) right underneath it.  The main taxi rank for the station is across the road.

The station complex contains an Isetan department store.  If you’ve never been before, go to the B2 level for beautiful food to take away, or the 11th floor for the restaurant floor.  There is also a food court and supermarket on the south side of the station and a shopping centre (Cube) on the north side, also with another food court.  We ate in the station most evenings and were never spoilt for choice.  Restaurants do get busy around 6-7pm and most have queues outside, although these tend to move quite quickly.

Access to transport is great, as the station has a number of rail lines (including the Haruka Express to Kansai Airport), along with a subway station.  We found it a great location overall!

Hotel and Check-in

The hotel is pretty new overall and has been built in the last couple of years.  It’s located on a busy road, but with the windows closed its silent, even with Shinkansen High Speed Trains leaving across the road.  Check in was efficient and all staff appear to speak good English and helped answer our questions.

Room

First let’s address the obvious, Japanese hotel rooms are generally pretty small compared to European or US standards!  After staying in a number of hotels in Japan this is something you get used to – but as someone who is nearly 190cm tall (6’3″) there are sometimes issues.  The Ibis rooms are no different – there’s not much room once you have a bed, desk, TV and chair to walk around!

The rooms are well decorated and very clean.  They are cleaned daily and stocked with toiletries (including razors and toothbrushes), nightwear, a fridge, tea and coffee facilities and a hairdryer – everything we needed.  The hotel gave 2 bottles of complementary water each day as well, something I’ve not seen too often!

The beds are comfortable, I would have personally liked plumper pillows, but that didn’t stop me sleeping well.  The rooms have aircon, that converts to heating in winter.  As we travelled in March we only had heating, so you need to open the window for fresh air.  Our room faced Kyoto station, and being on the 8th floor we got a great view of the hustle and bustle.  It seems like a Shinkansen train arrives about every 5 minutes – we never got bored of the view.

The bathroom is fully functional, but even more tiny than the room!  The shower is good and it has a small (but very deep) bathtub if you prefer.  The toilet is the fancy Toto Japanese electric version, complete with bidet and heated seat!  You can barely get one person stood up in the room though – that’s just how small (but perfectly formed) it is.

Breakfast

We were booked on bed and breakfast and had breakfast around 9am each day.  The hotel suggests that breakfast gets very busy between 8-9am, but only on one day did we have to wait for 2 minutes until a table was cleared.  The breakfast room is small, located on the 2nd floor, but has a full buffet selection – everything from bread, cereal, juices to Japanese fish, vegetables, rice and miso soup.  There should be something for everyone, and we didn’t get bored over 5 days!

Overall

Overall I’d definitely stay in this hotel again should we come to Kyoto.  Location was great for us, and the hotel has everything you could need at an affordable price.  We all know the star system for hotels is broken, and this Ibis only gets 2 stars.  What you might not get in terms of swimming pool or bar, is made up for in clean, comfortable rooms that don’t break the bank.  Definitely worth a stay!

Top Tips

  • Ask for a room on the higher floors facing the station to see the buzz of Kyoto station every day.
  • Go for breakfast around 9 if possible, its much less busy.
  • If you’re getting a taxi, use the MK Taxi stand under the hotel.
  • Eat out in Isetan or the shopping centre food courts, something for everyone and well frequented by locals and travellers alike!

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