We had a hard time getting a room at this historic hotel. When I first called, emailed and faxed about eight months in advance, I was told there was nothing available. But then I got a Japanese colleague involved, she called a travel agent and we immediately were given what they said was the best room in the house ( we wound up in room 122 with great views). We said we didn't want it as it was too expensive, were told we had a free upgrade but then were charged way more than we expected (could have been our fault for not clarifying things). We were also offered a free dinner by the manager (he was a colleague of a colleague) but it wound up being put on the bill and we didn't want to give offense by saying anything so we paid up.. My advice is get everything in writing and make sure you understand the exchange rates.
Otherwise we loved it. The location is up a steep hill (there are stairs you can use if you don't want to walk up the drive way) but many rooms have gorgeous views of the mountains and the Kanaya is only 10 minutes walk to all the main sites. There are little paths on the hotel property, including one which leads up a pretty hill right behind the hotel. We had nice walks in the early morning before the temples were open (they are very crowded, may be best to go late afternoon).
The staff is helpful and friendly though not everyone speaks English. On the first day we went to the on-sen ( hotsprings) and had the place to ourselves. We ate in both the Japanese restaurant and the French one which they are very proud of. We preferred the Japanese, especially the local trout and delicious shabu shabu. But the dining room is really a good example of fusion architecture and very picturesque.
We loved our room on the second floor of the annex. Twin beds are the norm and the decor is definitely circa the seventies. But it was cozy and comfy and had a great view. Best of all, many of the rooms have arm chairs facing the windows so you can gaze at the mist in the morning, the snowy peaks and the changing of the leaves. We would definitely come back.
If you need to send email, just ask and they will bring up cables to your room. It's quite fast though sometimes flickers off.
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