Orbite Bar, Kyoto Hotel Granvia

It’s the kind of room where you are invited to keep your own bottle of whiskey—if you have the good fortune to be that regular here. I wish. While in Kyoto, it’s my favourite place to relax and write. With its subdued lighting and copper-brown palette, the décor is quietly and warmly rich. Inviting and enveloping like the den of your dreams.

Orbite Bar in Kyoto Hotel Granvia. Photo credit to hotel website.

Orbite Bar in Kyoto Hotel Granvia. Photo credit to hotel website.

Now, I don’t spend my travel dollars sleeping in high-end Japanese hotels. I prefer clean and economical business hotels located near railway stations (with numerous amenities included) for a bargain price. But those have cramped rooms and overly-bright common areas designed for quick transitions.

To drink, read, rest or write; spaces in Japan’s luxury hotels are much more comfortable. In addition to the plush seats, beautiful interiors and impeccable service (albeit at slightly higher but well-worth-it prices than at chain coffee shops), the people-watching is fabulous. Sometimes, too, you’ll find an art show or cultural display in part of the lobby. Bonus.

Orbite’s bartender is polished and attentive without hovering or rushing you out, no matter how long you linger. In fact, intending to have just the one drink I arrive at 5:00, the start of happy hour (which ending at 7:00 is actually two) when drinks, like the time, are two for one. I am still writing with no sense of the passage of time at 6:59.

I have one last sip of an 18 year-old single-malt left in my glass when the solicitous bartender materializes at my elbow, bows and asks whether I wouldn’t like another glass. For the remaining minute the second drink is still free. Would I like him to bring another?

Oh–would I? Why, yes. Of course. Thank you. How very kind. How silly not to take advantage of such a fine vintage, the service or the pleasure for no good reason. Kampai!

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