One of the most famous places to stay in Nara (and with a front-desk staff eager to please), the Nara Hotel sits like a palace atop a hill overlooking several ponds. Built in 1909 in the Momoyama Period style of architecture and similar to Japan's other hotels built around the turn of the 20th century to accommodate the foreigners who poured into the country following the Meiji Restoration, it's constructed as a Western-style hotel but has many Japanese features. Photographs of visiting imperial family members adorn the walls. You have your choice of accommodations in the old section of the hotel with its wide corridors, high ceilings, antique light fixtures, fireplaces (no longer in use), and comfortable old-fashioned decor, or in the new addition, which opened in 1984 and offers larger modern rooms and verandas overlooking the old town. I prefer the atmosphere of the older rooms: Those facing the city are less expensive than those in the new wing, while the higher-priced ones have a view of the pond or park.
- © Frommer's 2013
- Very Highly Recommended 2010