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“Spirit expands”

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Hoshino Resorts L'Hotel de Hiei
Ranked #130 of 396 Hotels / Ryokan in Kyoto
Reviewed 5 January 2017

This is one of those Japanese attempts at cross-cultural connection-- when it hits, it hits deeply; when it misses, it's still good.

French-ish cuisine on a mountaintop overlooking a two-million year old lake.

This is one of the properties of the Hoshino group. Idea of the group is to acquire distressed properties, and through operational excellence, turn them around. This hotel certainly doesn't disappoint. Four things are exceptional: ambience, staff, cuisine, nexus for larger experiences.

1) By ambience, I mean location and size. Spectacular location high on Mt. Hiei NE of Kyoto. Spectacular views to the west and south of Lake Biwa. Small number of guest rooms, around 30, mean high level of attention to guests. Rooms well-appointed. Deep silence here. Public areas airy and welcoming.
2) Staff: welcoming and professional. Hard to overstate level of graciousness and hospitality.
3) Cuisine: French technique, local ingredients. A real effort to source locally, from eggs to veggies to fish and meats. They found a way to defuse funazushi, one of the harshest foods ever devised! Bread baked onsite. Only gripe: no butter on the table, which no French kitchen would forgive! High tea, dinner, breakfast included with room price.
4) Nexus: From an onsite lecture about tea cultivation and production, to an opportunity to visit nearby Enryakuji, a 1200 year-old temple, and listen to monks chanting their morning sutra, this group tries to make the hotel not only a place of great hospitality and luxury, but a sincere nexus of experience with the local community.

Not cheap, but well worth it, with connections to other places of deep meaning such as Ishiyamadera, the site where the (female) author of the world's first novel, Genji Monogatari, composed her masterwork.

  • Stayed: January 2017, travelled with family
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Thank Andrew C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hoshino_Resorts, お客様担当マネージャー at Hoshino Resorts L'Hotel de Hiei, responded to this reviewResponded 26 February 2017

Dear Warden R,

Thank you very much for taking time to review Hoshino Resorts L’Hotel de Hiei. We are so pleased to hear that you could enjoy staying at our hotel, especially meals made of local ingredients. Your comment is much appreciated as it allows us to continue to improve and offer the experiences expected.
Hoshino Resorts has 35 hotels and ryokans around Japan. Should you travel in another place of Japan, we hope you visit one of our various hotels and enjoy your holidays!

Guest Relations Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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1 - 5 of 122 reviews

Reviewed 15 November 2014

The hotel located at middle of the Hieizan drive way. The cost of road chiket was paid from hotel at check out time. Autum leaves are half of red in drive way. Late of November is good for " Momijigari".

  • Stayed: November 2014, travelled with family
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3  Thank OZK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 April 2014

The hotel is a charming spot on Mt. Hiei with nice, quiet views of the country side. It's a good retreat from the city, but I give it only 3/5 stars mainly because I beleive they can offer greater value provided the price they charge. Here is my assessment:

PROS: Nicely appointed rooms, and very nice staff. I was very impressed that when I missed my appointment for pick up by the hotel shuttle, the hotel reimbursed my Y4500 taxi fare to the hotel. That was very generous and unexpected. The rooms are very quiet and the hotel has charm of a mountain retreat. Likely a very good spot for banquets, weddings, or other special events.

CONS: The hotel is far away from everything, requiring you to take a shuttle at fixed times. The shuttle needs to be reserved 24 hours in advance, which is fairly inconvenient for a travellor who's looking to take a break from schedules. However, I think a significant issue is that the hotel has no food or dinner service. We arrived into Kyoto from the Tokyo SHinkansen around 9, and headed straight to the hotel expecting to eat a light dinner before bed. However, upon arrival, the hotel lacked any food outside a vending machine. Even fruit or ramen was unavailable, let alone anything close to a proper meal. Again, for a hotel of this cost, I would expect better options. Further, the breakfast did not offer much selection, and I was disappointed the eggs ran out without replenishment during the breakfast. Staff did not serve anything - even water - it was all self service. Finally, I wish they had options for beds larger than twin.

One final compliment is that the staff in general are very nice and accommodating (I wanted to check out one day early, and was able to do so without any problem).. However, I do believe the price is too high for the level of service.

  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank hvnair
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
L_Hotel_de_Hiei, マネージャー at Hoshino Resorts L'Hotel de Hiei, responded to this reviewResponded 9 May 2014

Thank you for coming and staying in our hotel.
We greatly appreciate your praise messages about the staff's hospitality.
However we are so sorry that access and meal were inconvenience for you.
Based on your valuable opinion, we continue to make our service improvement.
We hope that you will come to our hotel again.
Thank you so much for your opinion.

L'hotel de Hiei
Front desk manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 April 2007

L'Hotel de Hiei is not exactly conveniently located, but that should by no means keep anyone away. On the toll road that winds through Mount Hiei, bordering Kyoto and Shiga Prefectures, this hotel simply cannot easilly be topped. It is both architecturally pleasing and in harmony with the surroundings, despite being quite purely European in design.

I was fortunate enough to choose L'Hotel de Hiei for my wedding reception held in March 2007 and have no regrets at all. In the span of three months, with the cooperation of the hotel's bridal coordinators, we put together a truly unique and thus personal dinner event that appeared to have thoroughly pleased our guests.

The hotel conducts no more than one wedding and/or reception a day, meaning that the day is dedicated to one couple's desires. There is no sense of being on a wedding factory conveyor belt - all too common in Japan's larger venues. Yet in terms of cost, fees were very similar to those charged elsewhere.

As for food, both the reception dinner menu which we designed together with the France-trained chef, and the standard breakfast buffet the next morning were exceptional. The chef incorporated all of our favorite foods into the customized dinner menu. And at breakfast, the same degree of care went into preparing the buffet dishes as well as the warm items delivered to each table direct from the kitchen.

Guest rooms, just 20 in all, come in three types. All are very tastefully furnished, have a beautiful view, and the latest bath amenities. The only shortcoming (for couples prefering a cozy night) is that all rooms feature twin beds only. Each is big enough for two, but just barely!

Finally, the staff - all of whom have French 'middle' names - go out of their way to make each guest feel special.

Transportation to L'Hotel de Hiei requires either a private car, taxi, or a schedule that matches the limited bus service available from downtown Kyoto.

  • Stayed: March 2007, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank AHMShiga
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 weeks ago
Google Translation

  • Stayed: November 2017, travelled with family
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Thank mokomoko2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hoshino Resorts L'Hotel de Hiei

Address: Ipponsugi Hiei, Kyoto 606-0000, Kyoto Prefecture
Region: Japan > Kinki > Kyoto Prefecture > Kyoto
Free Parking Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Suites
Hotel Style:
#33 Luxury Hotel in Kyoto
Price Range: €328 - €545 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Hoshino Resorts L'Hotel de Hiei 4*
Number of rooms: 29
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Close to the summit of Kyoto's sacred mountain, this auberge welcomes with splendid views of Japan's largest lake Biwa, and creative French cuisine that integrates time-honored local ways of preparing the harvest of Shiga's fresh waters and fertile plains. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
l Hotel De Hiei

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