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Booking room for 4 in Kyoto and Singapore

Booking room for 4 in Kyoto and Singapore

Old Jan 28th, 2006, 01:07 PM
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Booking room for 4 in Kyoto and Singapore

Can anyone suggest a good online site to use in booking a room for a family of 4? We are thinking of going to Kyoto and Singapore this summer.

I tried www.asiarooms.com, but the rooms usually seem to be single, double or triple.

(For Europe, we discovered www.venere.com, but they don't cover the Far East. At venere, you can specify 4 people and it will do a search to come up with all available hotels with rooms for 4 people.)
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Old Jan 28th, 2006, 02:10 PM
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I don't know about Singapore, but I do know about Japan. With some exceptions, like Disney and Universal Studios area hotels, you won't get a room for 4 people.

How old are your kids? Most places allow children under 6 to stay for free. Some places allow older children up to 12 to stay for free. In just about all cases, there is a charge for an extra bed, and only one extra bed is allowed per room. Hotel rooms are furnished with either 2 twin beds or one double bed. Nicer hotels have slightly wider twins and kings.

From our experience in a variety of hotels over the years, you won't fit 4 people in a business hotel room, regardless of their age. You can hardly fit 2 people. Places like Hilton, Hyatt, Westin, Ritz Carlton...you will be able to fit 4 people if you book a twin room with an extra bed and one child sleeps with one parent and the other parent gets a bed...of course, this only will work if we are talking about little kids. Nicer hotels, too, will have interconnecting rooms, where business hotels will not.

You might want to consider Japanese style rooms. Though hotels have a few, they are the most expensive rooms in the place. Try looking at minshuku and ryokan, get a feel for them, and see if you might like to stay in that style.

Booking sites tend to be more expensive than booking directly in Japan, and as you've found, you will not be able to specify your special needs. Many, many hotels are also not listed on any booking sites, so you are severely limiting your choices by trying to use one. If you can advise what your budget and style preference is, I'm sure you'll get some concrete recommendations.

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Old Jan 28th, 2006, 03:16 PM
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Our kids are 11 and 13. We usually stay in a mixture of hotels, usually ranging USD$100 to USD$250. I'm expecting to spend on the higher end in Japan (and could go higher if necessary).

We are trying to arrange a 10 week trip this summer, so are trying not to go all out and will incorporate some cheaper nights to make the trip more affordable. Planning 1 week in Singapore and 1 week in Kyoto and possibly 2-3 days in Tokyo.

We like hotels that are typical of the area we are visiting, although occasionally will stay at a typical American-style hotel for a break.

I would love to stay at a ryokan. It seems that they will cost more like USD$350-400 per night for 4 people. Is that correct? Maybe we could try this for 2 nights and find a less expensive hotel for the other 5 nights in Kyoto.

At a regular hotel, it sounds like the most likely option in Japan would be to book 2 rooms, possibly interconnecting. Could you suggest something appropriate in Kyoto? Maybe on the cheaper end, to offset a couple of pricey nights at a ryokan. Also, we like to be central, not commuting from the suburbs.

Thanks so much for any suggestions!
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Old Jan 28th, 2006, 03:59 PM
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I understand your desire to experience hotels that are typical of the area. In Japan, this is a bit of a dichotomy. Japanese people tend to stay in "western" style hotels for the most part. A ryokan or onsen hotel is a special occasion kind of stay, usually over a holiday period, and is not a sightseeing trip but the ryokan is the destination in and of itself. You might try one night in a really special place to have that sort of experience.

In Japan, a real ryokan will cost you upwards of $150.00 per person per night with dinner and breakfast included. Both children may get a discount. They usually do discounts for under 3 free, pre-elementary school (under 6) often free or very cheap, elementary school (through grade 6, or under 12) about 1/2 price, and often for junior high school age as well (under 15).

There are many places that use the word "ryokan" in their name but they are not ryokan at all, but more like a guesthouse. They offer relatively inexpensive tatami rooms for sleep, and sometimes for an extra charge breakfast and maybe dinner. They do not offer the special service or atmosphere of a real ryokan, which is an experience in and of itself.

You might try the Westin Miyako, the Okura, or the Granvia. http://www.itcj.or.jp/ has some inexpensive places all over Japan. There are business hotels all over the place, and they are certainly "local" but I really don't think they would be great for a family. We don't stay in them with our family.

Since only a handful of ryokan actually have English websites, you might find this booking service useful. It is by no means comprehensive, but it's a good start. http://www.japaneseguesthouses.com/index.htm

Something you may want to consider. Summer is unbelievably hot in Japan. Swealtering. I'm not sure when you'll be in Kyoto, but if it's in July or August, brace yourself. I think you will want a place with a pool. There are few outdoor pools, but indoor pools are just as good. We've found that sightseeing in the morning before it's too, too hot works pretty well. We all appreciate a pool in the afternoon. You could also plan to shop in the afternoon, enjoying the air conditioning. Plan to taxi from place to place in Kyoto, as it's easy and pretty cheap, considering you are 4 - you can squeeze 3 in the back and one in the front and pay about the same as you would for bus/subway tickets but have none of the stress of finding the bus stop/subway station and waiting for the right one to come along.

If you are in Japan in mid-August, it is obon time and many people have vacation time. Trditionally, it is the time to return to your home and pay respect to your deceased family members. Nowadays, more and more, people do the obon thing for one day, then go overseas or head to the mountains for some heat relief. So, at that time, city hotels often have obon special rates that are very reasonable. These rates don't appear on the English websites or booking sites, but can be booked directly by calling or e-mailing and asking for special rate plans.
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Old Feb 4th, 2006, 07:40 AM
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Thank you KimJapan! Your advice is very much appreciated.

I am thinking of staying at the Granvia in Kyoto. And then a ryokan for 1 or 2 nights. The Granvia has family rooms and triple rooms (with 1 extra bed) that will hold 4 people. As you said, those options do not come up on the web booking site. I will contact them directly to check on prices and availability. (I hope someone there will understand English. I assume they will.)

On the weather, I made an excel file of the June, July and August temperatures in all the place we'd like to visit (we're going for 10 weeks in Asia and Europe). Since it showed us that Kyoto was HOT, we are planning to go there first, in mid-June. Singapore will be hot too, but the temperature doesn't change from June to July, so it doesn't seem to matter when we go there.

The Granvia also seems like an 'easy' place to stay, with easy food nearby. Probably a good place to camp out for a couple of days and overcome exhaustion from pre-vacation planning and jetlag.

One more question - I saw a post a long time ago with suggestions for classes and cultural activities (in Japan, I think it was Kyoto). I can't seem to find the web site now. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to find 1-3 hour activities that pre-teens would find interesting, and would give them exposure to the Japanese culture?
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Old Feb 4th, 2006, 08:30 AM
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The Granvia is a good location for a hotel in Kyoto and seems like a nice place to stay. We stayed at the Japanese style rooms at the Westin Miyako last year which would fit four of us. Hard to find rooms that will fit a family of four outside of North America and Australia/NZ. I should also note that there is a laundromat a short taxi ride away from the Westin. It is quite hot everywhere in Asia during the summer and you will find that you need to do laundry fairly often to keep up with the need to change clothes often.
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Old Feb 4th, 2006, 02:09 PM
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Good idea to get to Kyoto first in June. It will be much cooler than July and August. In August, we tend to flee Japan...and have been several times to Bangkok then and it's cooler/less humid in Bangkok. That about says it all.

The Granvia will be good I think. It's attached to the station, a shopping center, and loads of restaurants. It will be very easy to take taxis, buses, subways and of course trains from there.

You might find e-mail to hotels easier to manage than telephone. Often, telephone calls are difficult, as even if they speak English, it is difficult to communicate without gesture and facial expression. I have several friends (Japanese) with whom face to face is no problem in English, but phone is another story. e-mail is easy...and there is less chance of confusion.

I know that a poster here, emd, found some great crafty experiences in Kyoto. You could search on her name and kyoto maybe an it might come up. The search engine here is lousy, but sometimes it works

Our daughter enjoyed Boso no Mura in Narita town (where Narita airport is) They had a lot of hands on type things that we participated in. http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...7&tid=34665996

Are you planning on including time in Kanazawa? That's where I live...so I can easily recommend things here, but Kyoto I don't know so well.
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