The Ace Hotel Kyoto is an interior-lovers paradise – hidden inside a former telephone office

The Kengo Kuma-designed hotel is a cocktail of Japanese craftsmanship, rainbow decor, and modern-day minimalism

Bedroom in Ace Hotel in Kyoto
(Image credit: Yoshihiro Makino)

What happens when a Los Angeles-based design studio and an esteemed Japanese architect join forces? We get the Ace Hotel, the freshest contemporary haven amid the city's cool Downtown neighborhood. 

Crafted and curated by iconic architect Kengo Kuma and California's Commune Design, this Kyoto kingdom is the first hotel unveiled by the Ace Hotel chain in Asia – and they have set the bar extremely high for all future endeavors. 

While Commune Design is celebrated for its holistic work across creative industries worldwide, Kengo Kuma is best-known as the lead architect for the Tokyo Olympic Stadium. Together, they created a maze that combines traditional Japanese craftsmanship with colorful home decor and laid-back minimalism in a wholly unique setting. 

Reception in Ace Hotel, Kyoto

(Image credit: Yoshihiro Makino)

Nestled in Kyoto's old Central Telephone Office, which was designed by modernist architect Tetsuro Yoshida in the 1920s, the hotel draws from its twentieth-century features to showcase its history – in the most stylish way possible. 

Key original assets include exposed brickwork, arched windows, and high ceilings crowned with stylish brass light features. Alongside the former office building, Kengo Kuma designed a new space with a statement-gridded façade that mirrors the design of Kyoto's machiya townhouses. 

Bedroom in Ace Hotel, Kyoto

(Image credit: Yoshihiro Makino)

While we are inevitably in awe of Ace's architectural splendor, the hotel's interiors are equally as inspiring. In the same way that the buildings blend the beauty of Kyoto's past with modern design, the interiors also follow suit. 

The rooms combine wooden Japanese furnishings with quirky features that bring the room into the present day – including freestanding bathtubs, (not so mini) minibars, and a vinyl player – complete with an unrivaled record collection.  For modern bedroom ideas, we could do far worse than follow Ace's stylish lead. 

Record player in Ace Hotel, Kyoto

(Image credit: Yoshihiro Makino)

Beyond the boutique guest rooms and lobby, Ace has a verdant courtyard that is warmed by the distant buzz of activity from the nearby Nishiki Market. We're also taking urban garden ideas from this curated sanctuary that acts as an oasis in the heart of the city. 

Plus, this isn't only a hangout for interior and architecture lovers – but art lovers too – thanks to its adjoining art gallery. 

Urban garden in Ace Hotel, Kyoto

(Image credit: Yoshihiro Makino)

There are also three restaurants, including Mr. Maurice's Italian and the chicest taco joint in the city. The hotel is also home to Japan's first Stumptown Coffee Roasters Coffee Shop because, of course, it's not morning in Kyoto without coffee. 

Restaurant in Ace Hotel, Kyoto

(Image credit: Yoshihiro Makino)

Discover more about Ace Kyoto and reserve a room online at acehotel.com/kyoto/.  

Megan Slack
Megan Slack

Megan is a News Writer across Future Plc's Homes titles. She has a background in national newspapers in the UK and has experience in fashion and travel journalism, which she previously practised whilst living in Paris and New York City. Her adoration for these fashion capitals means she particularly loves writing about contemporary styles and trends for Livingetc.