Nara's Grandest Hotel (that is totally affordable!)

A while back, I posted an article about a fascinating hotel in Hakone called the Fujiya Hotel.  Steeped in history with fascinating architecture, a host of famous visitors, and convenient location, the Fujiya Hotel was one of the greatest Western Style hotels I've stayed at in Japan.  But there are plenty of others like it throughout Japan.  Today, I want to introduce you to the grandest western hotel in Nara, the simply named:

Nara Hotel

When you go to Nara, there are many attractions, but none as important as Nara Park, which is home to the Todai-ji, the Kasuga Taisha, a number of other temples and museums, those deer that like to harass you for osembe, and just one hotel: (you guessed it) the Nara Hotel.
Founded in 1909, the whole purpose of the Nara Hotel was to host the most prestigious guests.  The rooms featured all of the modern amenities (even incorporating steam heating in 1914), and have lived up to its original mission, hosting the likes of Edward VIII of England, Helen Keller, Albert Einstein, Pope Paul VI, and the Dalai Lama.

Intimidated?  Well, my wife and I didn't have a chance to be intimidated because we happened to stumble upon this hotel through a discounted booking.  With a spacious room and absurdly cheap rate, we were not expecting much more than an adequate place to lay our heads.  

Imagine our surprise when we walked up to this entrance...

Or when we saw this interior...

Or when our room looked like this...

Finally we looked up the history of the place and realized just the gem upon which we had happily stumbled.  

Nara Hotel offers spacious rooms at middle of the road rates, especially if you can reserve through discount booking sites.  I do recommend reserving at least half board for meals since (1) Nara Hotel serves delicious food in exquisite settings, and (2) there are not many places to grab an easy meal within walking distance of the hotel (it is located in a massive park, after all).

So if you are looking to travel to Nara, I say zehi, do yourself a favor and look for a room at the Nara Hotel--you will be glad you did!

(cover photo courtesy of Flickr User Hideki Yoshida)

Mike B