The DNA: Temples, shrines, tea ceremony – plus tacos, DJs and craft coffee. Kyoto has received the definitive hipster upgrade with the arrival of Ace Hotel Kyoto – Asia’s first Ace – in a historic building renovated by Kengo Kuma, with 213 guestrooms, three restaurants, maximalist artworks and modern Japanese craft touches. Part renovation, part new-build, the hotel spans the new Shin-Puh-Kan complex, housed in a landmark 1926 building by modernist master Tetsuro Yoshida – an elegant monolith of bricks and large windows, formerly Kyoto Central Telephone Exchange and the city’s oldest shopping centre. The expansive brick building has been renovated top to bottom by Kengo Kuma and Associates plus long-time Ace collaborators LA-Based Commune Design. Added to the mix is a brand new building, complete with a signature Kuma-style angular gridded façade, a modern riff on Kyoto’s traditional wooden latticed housefronts. Inside Japan meets the US: a hip industrial atmosphere and maximalist artworks are layered with Japanese craftsmanship, from the oversized ceramic pots and hand-hammered copper doughnut-shaped front desk in the lobby to the bright retro-tinged textile patterns sitting next to turntables in the guestrooms.
Accolades: Condé Nast Traveller Hot List 2021
✅ free Wi-Fi • size matters: 213 rooms & suites (30-98m2) (323-1,055 sq ft) • hotel opened: 2020 • architecture: Kengo Kuma • interior design: commune • on-site parking (charged) • pets allowed on request • 24-hour front desk • wheelchair accessible