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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Discover more about Ace Kyoto and reserve a room online at acehotel.com/kyoto/ (opens in new tab).
Megan is a News Writer across Future Plc’s homes titles, including Livingetc and Homes & Gardens. As a News Writer, she often focuses on micro-trends, wellbeing, celebrity-focused pieces, and everything IKEA.
Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and expansive collection of houseplants.
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