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.
- 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
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- l Hotel De Hiei