Vibe: Heritage and contemporary creativity stand in playful contrast throughout this new, 9-suite hotel.
Area: Overlooking the serene Shirakawa River in Kyoto’s historic Gion district.
The DNA: The Shinmonzen façade ticks all the boxes of a traditional Kyoto machiya townhouse, from the low-rise symmetry of its dark timber to its curved roof tiles. Inside however, the atmosphere is unexpectedly modern: raw concrete and vertical wood. Dreamt up by hotelier Paddy McKillen, the hotel is the far-flung little sister of Villa La Coste, the sleek temple to modern art and architecture in southern France. The nine suites are spacious and contemporary, with either Western-style beds or low-rise futons on tatami, all with private balconies overlooking the river, planted with Irish moss and Provençal-style jasmine. Soon to open are a restaurant by chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, designed by New York-based Stephanie Goto; a street-front patisserie; and a basement spa with a resident reiki master.
Suite-Me-Up: You can’t go wrong with any of the 9 suites. In stead, choose a native accent material. In Japanese philosophy, natural materials like bamboo, lacquer, silk, even stone, are full of dynamic life, providing a connection to the divine.
✅ free Wi-Fi • size matters: 9 suites (40-80m2) (431-861 sq ft) • hotel opened: April 2020 • architecture: Tadao Ando • interior design: Rémi Tessier • bathroom amenities: custom organic Villa La Coste/The Shinmonzen ❌ no parking available • no pets allowed • 24-hour front desk