The Design Hotels group has filled a gap in Kyoto with its chic boutique hotel The Screen.
As the leading tourist destination in Japan, Kyoto has no shortage of hotels. Almost all of them, however, fall into one of several narrow categories - western style hotel, "business" hotel (budget hotels that are mainly single rooms), or Japanese ryokan (inn) - the only variation being cost and rank.
The Screen is something different.
Located just south of the Imperial Palace on Teramachi Street, a tree-lined street full of shops and restaurants, it is a high-end boutique hotel with just 13 distinctive rooms.
Each room has been designed by a different designer, among them Jotaro Saito, Sam Liu, and others.
Though the building is uber modern, there are many references to Japan and its culture. For example, wagasa (Japanese umbrellas) have been remade into lampshades that decorate the lobby.
This is not a backpacker type place. Rooms start at $430. Coffee in the elegant restaurant cafe set us back 983 yen ($9).
Just below Marutamachi on Teramachi
From Keihan Marutamachi Station, a seven-minute walk. Exit the station, cross the bridge that spans the Kamo River. The first large intersection is Kawaramachi Street. Cross this street and continue straight. When you come to the Imperial Palace, this will be Teramachi Street. Turn onto Teramachi and walk south, away from the Imperial Palace. The Screen is on the right.
From Marutamachi Station, on the Karasuma subway line, walk 10 minutes east along Marutamachi Street. The Imperial Palace will be on your left. At Teramachi, turn right. On the right side.
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Wednesday, December 10, 2008