A modern ryokan in scenic Kyoto
First impressions count for a lot, and the one you’ll get at Suiran, A Luxury Collection Hotel doesn’t disappoint — to get here, you’ll walk down a narrow cobbled riverside street alongside Old World boats and pass under a thatched gate into perfectly manicured Japanese gardens.
Located in the scenic district of Arashiyama on the far western side of Kyoto, Suiran is a traditional hotel with 39 guest rooms. This intimate setting allows you to experience authentic Kyoto hospitality for which the city is known.
Set alongside the Hozu River, the hotel is a picture-perfect example of historic Kyoto architecture, and yet still has all the conveniences and comforts a modern traveler wants.
It is a beautiful mix of a traditional Japanese ryokan, or guest house, with wooden accents, shoji screen doors and polished onyx furnishings, while other parts of the hotel have a contemporary Western feel.
Our Inspector’s Highlights
• The location cannot be beat. Suiran has a scenic riverside spot in the peaceful Arashiyama district. There are many popular temples, gardens and other attractions are near by, but the Kyoto hotel remains an oasis of calm and quiet.
• Suiran has two open-air onsen (hot spring baths) with body-healing properties and wonderful views of Arashiyama. Many of the guest rooms and suites also have their own private outdoor baths for you to soak in at your leisure.
• Staff is impeccably mannered and friendly, from the warm welcome at check-in, to the kimono-clad host who escorts you to your room and explain its finer points. The ryokan-style accommodation means there is a very personal touch throughout.
What to Know
• Pay attention to the room details when booking, as the various guest rooms have many different kinds of perks and amenities. For instance, some have traditional tatami floors or riverside views. Worth the upgrade are rooms with private outdoor onsens.
• Suiran Kyoto is in a great spot for visiting Arashiyama’s varied attractions, including the numerous UNESCO-listed temples, gardens and shrines, river cruises on the Hozu River, and the Sagano Bamboo Forest. The latter is often crowded in the daytime, so make the most of the hotel’s location and go there at dawn or dusk for a quiet, enchanting visit.
• The luxury hotel is on the western edge of Kyoto and a bit of a distance away from many of the city’s other main attractions. Buses and trains are simple to use and are 30 to 40 minutes from central Kyoto; taxis are much quicker. Suiran also offers a complimentary transport to and from Kyoto station on arrival and departure (be sure to make a reservation).
• There are nine types of rooms and suites, and all feature the very best of Japanese design and comfort. Each guest room has a unique theme, from the deep blue motif of a moonlit river in the Suigetsu rooms, to the neutral colors and minimal elegance of the tatami-floored Yuzunoha accommodations.
• Bathrooms are large, sleek and stylish affairs with Japanese-style fittings, luxury amenities and invigorating showers.
• All rooms are equipped with a flat-screen TVs, fast Wi-Fi access, minibars and are fully air-conditioned.
• The bottom floor rooms have lovely private gardens, while upper rooms feature balconies with mountain and/or garden views.
• The boutique hotel has its own Meiji-era style restaurant, Kyo-Suiran. The building in which it resides was originally constructed in 1899 and has an authentic indoor/outdoor Japanese aesthetic.
• Kyo-Suiran house favorites include teppanyaki using excellent local ingredients and Kinshu, a seasonal, 10-course dinner. Diners get a view of Arashiyama’s green hills and meandering river.
• The riverside terrace Café Hassui is an idyllic place to while away a few hours while indulging in matcha-filled sweets and afternoon tea.