Kyoto is a major city in Japan, located on the southern side of the country. The city is known for its rich history and long-standing culture. It boasts ample historical attractions that are designated as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. In this article, we have hand-curated a list of the 10 best boutique hotels in Kyoto that offer an exceptional stay.
Aman Kyoto is one of the most luxurious boutique hotels in the city. Located on the northern side, the secluded 5-star hotel is quietly nestled in a forest, offering unmatched tranquility. Designed by Kerry Hill Architects, it is housed inside multiple black timber-clad buildings.
The hotel presents just 26 exclusive guest rooms and suites. They are designed meticulously with a minimalistic wooden palette, which is popular amongst traditional Japanese ryokans. Inside, you will also deluxe bedding, find floor-to-ceiling windows, tatami flooring, a tokonoma (alcove), a Hinoki Japanese bath, free internet access, and more.
A major highlight of Aman Kyoto includes its rejuvenating outdoor and indoor onsen (hot spring), which is a major part of Japanese bathing culture. You will also find two exceptional restaurants inside the hotel. Taka-An presents an exquisite degustation menu, while The Living Pavilion offers home-cooked Kyoto-style cuisine and comforting Western dishes .
Ace Hotel Kyoto
Ace Hotel Kyoto is one of the most exciting new boutique hotels in the city. The renowned boutique hotel brand has finally arrived in Japan and it is nothing but spectacular. Opened in June 2020, the 4-star hotel occupies a heritage warehouse-style building, formerly the headquarters of a telephone company in the 1920s.
With the help of Japanese architect Kengo Kuma and LA studio Commune, the hotel brings a playful contemporary charm to the interior. The open area features a modern industrial design with heavy use of brass and wooden materials, complemented by quirky furniture.
The hotel boasts 213 guest rooms and suites, which showcase an eclectic crossover of East and West. You will find custom Pendleton blankets and Gibson guitars being paired with Japanese furnishing and artwork by local artists. They are also equipped with plush bedding, a Japanese soaking tub, uka toiletries, a Tivoli radio, and more.
Besides, you will have access to a modern 24-hour gym with comprehensive machines and free weights. The culinary experience at Ace Hotel Kyoto is also exceptional, with multiple quality eateries on-site. For instance, Kōsa is a seasonal farm-to-table restaurant, while Piopiko specializes in contemporary tacos and vibrant cocktails.
Node Hotel is one of the best boutique hotels in Kyoto with a distinct personality. The 4-star hotel is situated inside a slim concrete and glass building, designed by Japanese architect Seiichiro Takeuchi. Much like its facade, the interior showcases a grey industrial theme with concrete walls, exposed ceilings, and metal frames.
You will also find tons of unique artwork throughout the rooms and open areas. The hotel is almost like a private gallery, featuring different works from renowned artists such as Gerhard Richter, Eddie Martinez, and Barry McGee.
The same industrial aesthetic is used throughout the 25 guest rooms and suites. You will also find different textures being incorporated into its furnishing. The dark wooden bed frame, quilted blanket, and textured carpet further elevate the personality of the room. There is also a restaurant & bar on the ground floor, serving a variety of drinks and meals.
Garrya Nijo Castle Kyoto
Garrya Nijo Castle Kyoto is one of the newest boutique hotels in the city that opened in June 2022. Located in the heart of Kyoto, the luxury 5-star hotel is situated inside a contemporary building inspired by traditional Japanese castles and villas. Ample greeneries are also being incorporated, which offer a rare tranquil inside the city.
The hotel’s 25 oversized guest rooms and suites are designed elegantly with a white and wooden theme, complemented by pops of red throughout. Besides, the floor-to-ceiling windows offer an expansive view of the lush garden. The rooms are also equipped with sophisticated furnishing, a TV, coffee & tea facilities, and free internet access.
Garrya Nijo Castle Kyoto also features a quality restaurant on-site. Singular is an innovative restaurant that specializes in contemporary French cuisine. You will find different unique dishes that showcase an exquisite mix of French and Japanese ingredients.
Marufukuro is one of the best storytelling boutique hotels in Kyoto. The 5-star hotel is set inside a 1930s art deco building, formerly the headquarters of Nintendo.
The historic interior has been preserved to showcase the iconic story of Nintendo. The hotel has also incorporated a new annex beside the original complex, designed by renowned Japanese architect Tadao Ando.
The hotel presents 18 guest rooms & suites across the old and new wings. They are each designed uniquely and meticulously. The heritage rooms feature a nostalgic design with colourful touches, while the new rooms embrace a modern monochromatic design. Inside you will also find bespoke furnishing, plush bedding, oltana bath amenities, and more.
Besides, you will have access to a lounge & library with different books, artwork, and installations that reflect the history of Nintendo. For meals, Carta is a refined restaurant that specializes in contemporary Western cuisine using seasonal produce and traditional Japanese seasoning. There is also an intimate bar counter with an array of drinks.
HOTEL THE MITSUI KYOTO
HOTEL THE MITSUI KYOTO is another luxury boutique hotel with an elegant modern charm. Designed by iconic Hong Kong designer André Fu, the 5-star hotel showcases a quietly luxurious aesthetic with ample use of wooden and marble materials. Inside the lobby, you will find a high ceiling with views of the serene garden in the center.
The hotel boasts 126 spacious guest rooms and suites. Inspired by traditional Japanese tea room, they are designed with a dark wooden theme alongside dark green touches. Some rooms also come in the traditional tatami style. The each feature exquisite artisanal furnishing, a stone bath tub, a writing desk, a TV, Bose sound system, and more.
A notable highlight of the hotel includes its thermal spring, a natural onsen pool with water sourced from the hot spring below the property. Besides, you will have access to a modern 24-hour gym with state-of-the-art equipment. There are also three dining & drinking venues on-site. We particularly like TOKI, an innovative French restaurant.
MOGANA is one of the best-designed boutique hotels in Kyoto. Set inside a narrow building near Nijo Castle, the luxury 5-star hotel is sleek, minimalistic, and contemporary. The hotel presents 23 oversized guest rooms, all designed meticulously with a monochromatic tone.
The rooms come in either a black, white, or wooden theme. They all feature different hand-curated in-room amenities, such as Shigeta toiletries from Paris and Osaka-crafted sandals by MATOU. There is no TV but you can borrow a projector (which is even better). Another major standout of the includes the Japanese-style bath crafted by black granite. MOGANA may look plain at first sight, but its attention to detail is what makes it stand out.
Breakfast is served directly to your rooms, so you don’t have to worry about sleeping in. The ingredients used in the dishes are all grown in the Awajishima area, a coastal city known for its rich produce. You will also find a bar on the second floor with a wide selection of drinks.
Roku Kyoto, LXR Hotels & Resorts
Roku Kyoto, LXR Hotels & Resorts is a secluded boutique hotel in Kyoto. It is hidden on the foothill of a mountain, surrounded by acres of greeneries. Led by BLINK Design, it showcases a modern take on traditional Japanese resorts. The buildings referenced the historical architectures around the region, while the interior features crisp wooden furnishing.
The luxury 5-star hotel presents 114 guest rooms and suites. Designed with a similar wooden theme, they feel warm, cozy, and sophisticated. You will also find modern furnishing, sumptuous bedding, a stone bathroom with bathtub, digital keys, free internet access, and more. Most rooms feature a view of the Tenjin River or the Takagamine foothills.
Besides, the hotel features an outdoor onsen-thermal pool alongside a 24-hour fitness center with lush mountain views. You will also find multiple dining & drinking options that accommodate different culinary preferences. Chef’s Table is an upscale restaurant with a French-inspired menu, while All-Day Dining is a more relaxed venue with a seasonal menu.
RC Hotel Kyoto
If you are a minimalist, then RC Hotel Kyoto is a boutique hotel that should be on your radar. Located in the residential district of Yasaka, it occupies a rustic concrete building, which has been an apartment complex for over 50 years. After a series of loving restorations, the hotel revived the property with a raw industrial charm.
The hotel offers just 9 minimalistic guest rooms across three floors. Each floor has a dedicated theme, including vegetation, handicraft, and art. Echoing its facade, the rooms are primarily designed with a raw aesthetic, featuring exposed concrete walls and vintage wooden furnishing. You will of course find all the basics you need as well. There are no restaurants on-site, but there is a bar serving a variety of local Kyoto beers and sakes.
The Screen is an eclectic concept boutique hotel in Kyoto. Located in the city center, the 4-star hotel is housed inside a contemporary stone building. It offers 13 unique guest rooms and suites, each designed individually by a domestic or international designer.
For instance, the design of Room 102 by Naoki Ishibashi (the one pictured above) revolves around traditional tatami tea rooms. On the other hand, some rooms feature a much more modern and minimalistic design. They are also equipped with comfy bedding, KORRES toiletries, a TV, a Nespresso machine, free interent access, and more.
The Screen features two dining venues and a bar on-site. BRON RONNERY is the hotel’s signature restaurant that specializes in contemporary French cuisine. For more casual options, the cafe lounge is open all day serving a variety of light meals. You will also find a lounge bar on the rooftop with beautiful views of Kyoto city.
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