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St. Regis Osaka or Ritz-Carlton Kyoto

St. Regis Osaka or Ritz-Carlton Kyoto

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Old Jul 15, 17, 11:54 am
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St. Regis Osaka or Ritz-Carlton Kyoto

Hey folks,

I'm planning an upcoming stay at either the St. Regis Osaka or Ritz-Carlton Kyoto. I was originally planning on the StR, but the RC forum seemed to really enjoy the Kyoto property. My experience with luxury hotels is limited though, so I was hoping to hear from folks with some more experience with me. A few notes that may help in your recommendation:

1. I've spent a night at a Ritz-Carlton before (in Atlanta), but I'm completely new to the St. Regis brand.

2. I've got SPG/Marriott Gold. I'll be staying during the peak season, so I don't expect much in terms of elite recognition (and I know I won't get breakfast at either brand as a gold).

3. I know they're in two different cities, but I'm willing to spend more time in transit if it means a superior hotel experience.

If you've been to either or both properties, or otherwise want to add anything, I'd love to hear what you have to say.

Last edited by Beltway2A; Jul 15, 17 at 12:00 pm
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Old Jul 15, 17, 12:00 pm
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In that whole area, my personal preference is for the Intercon Osaka. Between these two hotels, answer is it depends. Which city will you spend time in and what are you going to do there? While the two cities are not that far apart, it does take traveling time
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Old Jul 15, 17, 12:04 pm
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Originally Posted by HKTraveler View Post
In that whole area, my personal preference is for the Intercon Osaka. Between these two hotels, answer is it depends. Which city will you spend time in and what are you going to do there? While the two cities are not that far apart, it does take traveling time
Unfortunately, this is a points redemption, so I'm limited to SPG and Marriott properties. As to activities, I'm keeping the schedule light. The only must-dos are Dotonbori and Shinsaibashi in Osaka, and Fushimi Inari in Kyoto. Otherwise, I'm happy to go with the flow, and check out whatever is practical.
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Old Jul 15, 17, 1:39 pm
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We will be staying 2 nights at the RC Kyoto (after 5 nights at the SPG Luxury Collection Suiran) AND 3 nights at the StR Osaka in May 2018. (We also have 3 nights first at the SPG Luxury Collection Prince Gallery Kioicho Tokyo.) Don't know if that's too late to help or not? We are using SPG points for all stays.

If you are trying to get some Japanese culture, I'd have to recommend Kyoto over Osaka. I'm a huge fan of StR, but I also am aware that the RC Kyoto is a particularly celebrated RC property. That being said, the Suiran property may be even more celebrated--and a rarity to be able to stay using points!

Don't be afraid to stay at the Luxury Collection Suiran in Kyoto over the RC Kyoto. That choice should be about whether you prefer a more traditional luxury Western hotel (RC Kyoto) vs a hybrid luxury Western hotel with Japanese luxury ryokan (Suiran).

Last edited by bhrubin; Jul 15, 17 at 3:57 pm
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Old Jul 15, 17, 3:08 pm
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Thanks for the suggestions bhrubin. My stay will be in August 2017, so I'm happy to let you know about my experiences before you go as well.

You make a good point about the Suiran. I'll be heading to Kansai from a ryokan, so I would actually prefer a somewhat Western experience. Suiran's location within Kyoto also isn't particularly appealing to me.

Like you, I've heard that the RC Kyoto is quite celebrated, though I haven't been able to sufficiently figure out why. Service is supposed to be great, though I understand that's the case for all of the properties that you mentioned. Luckily in my case, I was able to secure points reservations at both properties, so I'm fortunate in that I'm deciding which to cancel.
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Old Jul 15, 17, 3:59 pm
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Originally Posted by Beltway2A View Post
Thanks for the suggestions bhrubin. My stay will be in August 2017, so I'm happy to let you know about my experiences before you go as well.

You make a good point about the Suiran. I'll be heading to Kansai from a ryokan, so I would actually prefer a somewhat Western experience. Suiran's location within Kyoto also isn't particularly appealing to me.

Like you, I've heard that the RC Kyoto is quite celebrated, though I haven't been able to sufficiently figure out why. Service is supposed to be great, though I understand that's the case for all of the properties that you mentioned. Luckily in my case, I was able to secure points reservations at both properties, so I'm fortunate in that I'm deciding which to cancel.
So go with your gut and enjoy, based on whichever is closest to the sights you most want to see! Having been to both almost 30 years ago, I'm most looking forward to seeing Kyoto and Nara again. But I'm also looking forward to a steak dinner in Kobe and a day trip to Mt. Koya--both of which will be from Osaka, most likely.

I eagerly will look forward to your review of either after you return.
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Old Jul 15, 17, 7:19 pm
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Originally Posted by Beltway2A View Post
Unfortunately, this is a points redemption, so I'm limited to SPG and Marriott properties. As to activities, I'm keeping the schedule light. The only must-dos are Dotonbori and Shinsaibashi in Osaka, and Fushimi Inari in Kyoto. Otherwise, I'm happy to go with the flow, and check out whatever is practical.
Have you also considered the Marriott in Osaka? It's pretty nice, especially if you like to have a view.
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Old Jul 15, 17, 7:27 pm
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Originally Posted by makrom View Post
Have you also considered the Marriott in Osaka? It's pretty nice, especially if you like to have a view.
One would assume if the OP is asking in the Luxury Forum that a Marriott isn't appropriate. Not to mention that a Marriott isn't going to compare with a StR or RC.
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Old Jul 15, 17, 9:59 pm
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Originally Posted by makrom View Post
Have you also considered the Marriott in Osaka? It's pretty nice, especially if you like to have a view.
Hey makrom, I appreciate the suggestion. I'm usually at Courtyard type properties, and did consider both the Courtyard Shin-Osaka as well as the Marriott, but for this particular trip, I'm looking to try something more luxurious. So, as bhrubin noted, the Marriott isn't being considered at this time.
So go with your gut and enjoy, based on whichever is closest to the sights you most want to see! Having been to both almost 30 years ago, I'm most looking forward to seeing Kyoto and Nara again. But I'm also looking forward to a steak dinner in Kobe and a day trip to Mt. Koya--both of which will be from Osaka, most likely.

I eagerly will look forward to your review of either after you return.
Thanks! I think I'm currently leaning towards the St. Regis. The idea of a butler is intriguing to me, and it's 3,333 (or 10k MR) points cheaper. The praise the RC seems to get got me considering the other option.
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Old Jul 15, 17, 10:17 pm
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Originally Posted by Beltway2A View Post
Thanks! I think I'm currently leaning towards the St. Regis. The idea of a butler is intriguing to me, and it's 3,333 (or 10k MR) points cheaper. The praise the RC seems to get got me considering the other option.
We stay at many StR properties, as you can see from my numerous expert reviews herein.

We love butler service, but not everyone gets it. Since you mentioned often staying at Courtyards, I thought I'd offer this basic advice:

(1) Butler service involves a team of butlers. Once you understand that and don't expect a single butler for your stay, it's a better expectation.

(2) I always ask the butlers to unpack and pack for me. I love it, even when I only have a carry on. My husband usually doesn't, as he prefers to pack and unpack on his own...unless he has a lot of luggage!

(3) Don't be afraid to get to know the butlers! We often kid around with them, sometimes click enough to ask them about their families, their job paths, the social scene in the area, highlights of the area, popular items in hotel restaurants or from room service, etc.

(4) Be sure to enjoy daily coffee/tea service (complimentary). It's wonderful. Just call and ask!
(5) Anything else you may like, other than concierge stuff, don't be afraid to ask your butlers. If we've gotten to know any, we might ask for recs for more local restaurants that aren't as often recommended by the concierge, recs for local beaches or stores they recommend that other guests have enjoyed.

Otherwise, having butler service isn't all that different--just a bit more personalized IME, sometimes a lot more personalized. It's like a First Class cabin crew: sometimes they are awesome and you really click and get to know them, and other times they are very good but you don't really click beyond that.

I will tell you that my experience and research suggests that the StR Osaka isn't as amazing among most StR properties worldwide in the same way that the RC Kyoto is supposed to be amazing and among the best RC properties. And I say that as one who loves StR more than RC.

Last edited by bhrubin; Jul 15, 17 at 10:48 pm
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Old Jul 15, 17, 10:42 pm
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Originally Posted by Beltway2A View Post
Hey folks,

I'm planning an upcoming stay at either the St. Regis Osaka or Ritz-Carlton Kyoto. I was originally planning on the StR, but the RC forum seemed to really enjoy the Kyoto property. My experience with luxury hotels is limited though, so I was hoping to hear from folks with some more experience with me. A few notes that may help in your recommendation:

1. I've spent a night at a Ritz-Carlton before (in Atlanta), but I'm completely new to the St. Regis brand.

2. I've got SPG/Marriott Gold. I'll be staying during the peak season, so I don't expect much in terms of elite recognition (and I know I won't get breakfast at either brand as a gold).

3. I know they're in two different cities, but I'm willing to spend more time in transit if it means a superior hotel experience.

If you've been to either or both properties, or otherwise want to add anything, I'd love to hear what you have to say.
RC Kyoto blows that StR out of the water. The difference is the Japan experience with StR being in the middle of Osaka. A very urban experience. Meanwhile, RC Kyoto is in a quiet part of Kyoto along the river. Still accessible to the shopping and some tourist sites. The service, facilities and outlets are superior at the RC.
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Old Jul 16, 17, 5:55 am
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I stayed at the St Regis Osaka a few years ago. It was the most enjoyable hotel stay I've ever had. It's right near the big food district in Osaka, which is world class, and very close to the entrance to the shopping arcade, which leads to the legendary Dotonburi. Osaka is my favorite city in Japan - I love the food - it's the same legendary quality as in Tokyo, but cheaper - and the vibe is totally different from Tokyo.

I found the hotels in Kyoto (including the Ritz) to be a bit of a letdown. Kyoto itself is marvelous, but the hotels are generally subpar, even by Japanese standards.

I would choose the StR Osaka.
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Old Jul 16, 17, 9:05 am
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Having stayed at both hotels, I can tell you that RC Kyoto Hotel is the more luxurious one with better hardware. Software at both hotels are fine and you can't really go wrong with either. StR Osaka is probably better suited for your though as none of the sights you want to see are in Kyoto. Fushimi Inari shrine is a good 30 mins away from RC Kyoto and if you are not seeing other sights there, I am really not sure why you would stay in Kyoto. Shinsaibashi is an easy 10-15 mins walk from StR Osaka
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Old Jul 16, 17, 1:07 pm
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Thanks for your input Aventine, BSBD and HKTraveler. From what you've said, it seems like I'll stick with the St. Regis Osaka. Perhaps I'll make a visit to the Kyoto property when I have more to do in Kyoto.

We stay at many StR properties, as you can see from my numerous expert reviews herein.

We love butler service, but not everyone gets it. Since you mentioned often staying at Courtyards, I thought I'd offer this basic advice:

(1) Butler service involves a team of butlers. Once you understand that and don't expect a single butler for your stay, it's a better expectation.

(2) I always ask the butlers to unpack and pack for me. I love it, even when I only have a carry on. My husband usually doesn't, as he prefers to pack and unpack on his own...unless he has a lot of luggage!

(3) Don't be afraid to get to know the butlers! We often kid around with them, sometimes click enough to ask them about their families, their job paths, the social scene in the area, highlights of the area, popular items in hotel restaurants or from room service, etc.

(4) Be sure to enjoy daily coffee/tea service (complimentary). It's wonderful. Just call and ask!
(5) Anything else you may like, other than concierge stuff, don't be afraid to ask your butlers. If we've gotten to know any, we might ask for recs for more local restaurants that aren't as often recommended by the concierge, recs for local beaches or stores they recommend that other guests have enjoyed.

Otherwise, having butler service isn't all that different--just a bit more personalized IME, sometimes a lot more personalized. It's like a First Class cabin crew: sometimes they are awesome and you really click and get to know them, and other times they are very good but you don't really click beyond that.

I will tell you that my experience and research suggests that the StR Osaka isn't as amazing among most StR properties worldwide in the same way that the RC Kyoto is supposed to be amazing and among the best RC properties. And I say that as one who loves StR more than RC.
I appreciate all the help, bhrubin, you've really helped me understand what to expect. I'll do some further reading with your St. Regis reviews. The unpacking and complimentary coffee service sounds wonderful, I'm definitely going to enjoy that.
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Old Jul 16, 17, 11:28 pm
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i have stayed in StR in Osaka. It is a great hotel. Room service food was not good at the time, but other than that it was very good.

To give you a comparison I stayed in the train station Hotel Granvia in Kyoto, which is nowhere near the quality of StR but I would still choose anywhere in Kyoto over Osaka. Kyoto has so much culture and so many things to see.

Go with Kyoto, you won't be disappointed.
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