Although we’re not likely to be hopping a flight to the Asian continent before year’s end, Japan is far atop our list for when we once again get our wings—keeping in mind that they have decisively fended off the coronavirus. And having already done sufficient time in Tokyo, exciting new hotel openings in Osaka and Kyoto have us already plotting out our next visit.
The latter, just a 30 minute train ride from the former, is the Japanese city of our daydreams: historic architecture, contemporary cool, a thriving music scene, and bleeding edge fashion. And now it has a strikingly designed new hotel, which is likely to become a magnet for the the city’s culture vultures. Indeed, the recently opened Node Kyoto (a member of Design Hotels) is dark, enigmatic and, most of all, uncommonly stylish.
It is also an “art hotel” that actually knows something about art. Indeed, rather than some willy nilly collection spring from someone’s indifferent marketing plan, the 60+ pieces on display carry some genuine heft, including those by Gerhard Richter, Barry McGee, Bernard Frize, Tomoo Gokita, Shinro Ohtake, Nobuyoshi Araki and Yukimasa Ida. The Node is also laid out to resemble the private home of your best friend art collector—you know, the one who makes you jealous every time you visit.
Of course, that friend’s impeccable taste extends to every corner of the house. To wit, the dark, brooding lobby, which has an almost raw, Corbusian feel, yet is also welcoming and cozy—made more so by the genteel, on-site library. Elsewhere, metal-coated ceilings create a unique aesthetic dialogue with aged white oak flooring, and marble/iron custom furnishings by Seiichiro Takeuchi, the Kyoto-based, Tadao Ando trained architect who also designed the five story reinforced concrete and glass construction that houses the hotel. Additional design pieces come by way of India, Sweden and Germany, while enigmatic lighting by local artist Junpei Ohmori puts a visceral touch on the decidedly equivocal atmosphere.
There are just 25 rustic-industrial rooms, as well as a gorgeous, double-height bar looking out over floor-to-ceiling windows and a nearly 20-foot high living wall. And well, the Node is just a short walk from both the Nishiki Market, and the Kyoto International Manga Museum—both of which are obviously not to be missed.