What do you call a hotel that feels like a home you always wanted, offers the most wonderful service one can imagine, treats you like a long-lost friend and is located so conveniently that you can pretty much walk to most must-see places? Hotel Mume.
I stayed there many moons ago but going by its all 5-star rating on Tripadvisor, not much has changed. Still the best hotel a traveler can ask for in Kyoto! Hotel Mume is a boutique hotel with just 7 rooms, each inspired by nature. You could take a pick between wind, moon, butterfly and the best of them all — the flower room, which is actually a suite. Lucky me, I got upgraded to the Flower suite. The room was spacious and while the furniture was traditional, the bathroom was just as high-tech. Of course, it came with the most technologically advanced toilet seat possible. Which, by now, you expect from any Japanese hotel worth their salt. But what took my breath away was the bathtub overlooking a stream!
And yet, the most wonderful aspect of Mume is its owner Hisako Shibata who has beautifully and painstakingly decorated the entire hotel by picking up antique pieces from around the world. She loves to take you on a tour of the place and her face lights up if you ask her about a particular decorative item. Please do that if you ever go there. That’s if you manage to take your eyes off the gorgeous flower arrangements throughout the hotel.
Oh what do I say about the service, it’s almost as if they get a rush by treating you fabulously. It’s the small things. I am a Lacto Ovo vegetarian (vegetarian who eats eggs) so they ensured that I got my breakfast sorted. You put edible flowers on my silken tofu, made sure the eggs weren’t runny and offer a different homemade made jam with freshly baked bread every day? Awww, I love you forever!
Mume also encourages its guests to mingle with each other and for that, they have a happy hour at the bar – drinks and snacks are complimentary. Yep! Such a pleasant departure from other hotels who love to charge you for every little extra service. Power tip: The staff actually managed to get us a reservation at Harise, a 350-year-old restaurant at a very short notice!
Lastly, the location is just perfect too! You can simply stroll around the Gion district and walk to most tourist attractions in Kyoto. I’m telling you this is not a hotel, Mume is actually an experience.
Oh but before that, check out Where To Stay In Singapore!
Charu Gaur is the founder/editor of Runway Square. Don’t ask her to meet over tea or coffee. She’s currently working on her selfie game which recently went for a toss. Tips are welcome.