Thats right, Kyoto Ritz gives you soap with solid gold flakes in it! It takes two months to make a bar and it has a fragrance to remind you of Kyoto. So that pretty much sums up the height of Japanese hospitality in Kyoto. This is the gold standard, the bar that shows what can possibly be achieved in terms of hospitality in the world. The best part was I got it all without spending a dime at the Ritz. (just $95 with Chase).
This was where I spent my two free nights as a benefit to the Chase Ritz-Carlton Rewards card. The room was at the time of booking JPY 118,000 ($987.37) a night. The benefit for the card is for 2 free nights a tier 1-4 Ritz Carlton hotel. My brother suggested I spend it with him at the Kyoto location of which is the newest of the tier 4 that opened in 2014.
The initial booking was for a Deluxe room that was upgraded to a Riverside Luxury room due to my Gold Rewards status also given with the card membership. So the annual fee of $395 (not waived since I got the card after joining the Navy) got me a $1974.74 room! The $395 included a $300 travel benefit that can be used for anything travel related. I used it to upgrade my wife on United, leaving $95 of actual cost. Now this is an annual fee, but the free night benefit was for the opening of the account.
So what does $1000 a night buy you? Lets look at the hotel, it is brand new and overlooks the Duck River in Kyoto:
Excellent pool facilities where they make you wear a swim cap, they tell you it’s a work or art that you become part of. There is a steam and dry sauna there as well. Free bike rentals and tours, plenty of activities and the most excellent customer service I have ever had. They some how all know your name and greet you as such every morning.
Everything in the room is displayed like a museum piece, there is an automated coffee dispenser (Nespresso) as well as a similar machine for tea. Plenty to do for cheap too, as in buy food from an outside bakery and enjoy in room with the free coffee and tea service.
Now they got me suckered in, I went ahead and booked $300 a night at the Ritz in Seoul, and used my club level upgrade cert to get into the all inclusive food and drink club level for my birthday. I will tell you how that goes.