When it comes to choosing a hotel in Kyoto, you’re spoiled for choice. There’s everything from the recently opened Ritz Carlton (where apparently the most expensive room is over 1 million yen per night – nearly $10,000 US) to hostels and rooms on Airbnb (obviously much more reasonable).
The primary foreign hotels in Kyoto are the Hyatt Regency Kyoto and Ritz Carlton. They’re both high-end hotels who cater to foreign tourists. I’ve eaten at both and the level of English is quite good, and I know that the Hyatt has several foreigners on staff (not sure about the Ritz). The location of the Ritz is actually pretty good (river views), whereas the Hyatt’s isn’t as good. Either way, both are likely to be good options.
There are a lot of mid-range hotels. They’re mostly Japanese hotels, including the ANA Crowne Plaza Kyoto (this was an ANA hotel before the tie-up with Intercontinental Hotels). Hotels in this range should be around 20,000 yen per night. Tons of these hotels can be found on travel sites (such as Expedia, Orbitz, or Agoda).
For those who want hotels on a budget, there are also business hotels. I’m from the US, and a hotel room for $80 or $90 in a major city is definitely something I would avoid – not so in Japan. These hotels usually have small rooms, but have some free food in the morning and free wi-fi (or PCs in the lobby). English skills here can be quite lacking. Common business hotels are Toyoko Inn, Heart On Hotel and APA Hotel. Expect rates under 10,000 yen per night.
Hostels (and Airbnb) are also an option. Prices and quality can very widely, so be sure to check out reviews and pictures. Often times a few hundred yen extra can mean a big difference in quality. I know of some Airbnb places where the owners take out the guests and show them around (for free). As always, checking reviews is quite important here.