Travel Review: Westin Miyako Kyoto Hotel

wes1427po-33592_xxFor Labor Day weekend, we enjoyed a few days in Kyoto, Japan. We chose to stay at the Westin Miyako Kyoto hotel. In retrospect, we wish we had booked a traditional Japanese ryokan. While the rooms at the Westin were clean and comfortable and the location within walking distance to a train station and several things we wanted to do, the hotel policies were a little oppressive.

Rather than trying to cram our family of four into one room, we paid extra money to book two rooms with breakfast, clearly stating on the reservation that it was for two adults and two children. Our confirmation email reiterated the appropriate number of rooms and guests and that it “includes daily breakfast for each guest.” However, the hotel staff tried to convince us that our children were not included. They told us it was going to be an additional $20 per child per day for our children to have breakfast with us. After speaking with multiple individuals and arguing that they should honor their policy in the confirmation email, they finally relented and allowed our children to eat with us as promised by Starwood. However, it was a frustrating way to begin our stay.

They also advertised a pool as an amenity, but when we arrived, we were told it would cost an additional $5 per person each time we wanted to use the pool. The front desk staff and concierge were of little to no help when we asked them about transportation, things to see and do, shows, tours, etc. They provided minimal answers to direct questions without offering suggestions or providing much helpful information other than one expensive tour company’s offerings. Fortunately, I had done my homework before we left and had already mapped out much of what we wanted to see and do.

There’s an American saying about being “nickel-and-dimed to death.” We had the general impression that guests were not well looked after at the Westin Kyoto and that every time we wanted to do anything at the hotel, a hand was out asking for more money. It was certainly not the service or policies we were accustomed to receiving at Starwood properties, and we definitely wouldn’t stay there again on our next visit to Kyoto.

After my recent stay at the Hyatt Regency in Osaka, Japan, the Westin Kyoto was a huge disappointment in comparison.

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