Four Seasons Hotel Kyoto opens
In the shadow of Higashiyama Mountain in the temple district of Japan’s ancient capital, a modern oasis of serenity and style opens the doors to a city that is both beautiful and mysterious, breathtaking and inspiring. This is Four Seasons Hotel Kyoto, secluded amid a five-acre 12th century pond garden, yet just moments from key centres of business, culture, history and natural wonders.
“Kyoto is one of the world’s most alluring cities, but she can be shy in revealing her secrets – our mission at Four Seasons is to help our guests discover her wonders and experience all the city has to offer,” says General Manager Alex Porteous, who leads the 270-person team at the intimate hotel with 123 rooms and 57 Hotel Residences in the historic Higashiyama District, close to downtown.
To help guests immerse themselves in Kyoto’s traditional culture as well as its cutting edge innovation, Four Seasons invents the Experience Creator. Hana Morioka was born in the city, and remembers seeing Shakusuien, the ikeniwa (pond garden) as a child, long before the Hotel was built around it. Her mandate is to secure the many keys to the city that will take Four Seasons guests places even locals don’t know about.
“We have prepared many surprises already, and I am excited to begin putting together custom programs that satisfy each guest’s personal curiosities and interests,” says Hana.
Guest rooms – including 13 suites – are designed by Hirsch Bedner Associates to showcase views of the pond garden, Myoho-in Temple and surrounding neighbourhood. Traditional elements such as shoji panels, polished woods, locally crafted Kyoto-style fusuma screens and urushi lacquerware are paired with modern at-one’s-fingertips technologies. Selected accommodations, including the lavishly appointed Presidential Suite, also have balconies. At 245 square metres indoors plus additional furnished outdoors space, the Presidential Suite is one of Kyoto’s largest. All guest rooms and suites feature the signature Four Seasons Bed.
The Spa at Four Seasons Hotel Kyoto is grounded in the Japanese aesthetic of enso, connecting mind and body. A menu of ceremonious rituals, results-oriented therapies and indulgent journeys are performed by skilled therapists in one of seven treatment rooms, including a couple’s suite. Of special note are skin care treatments using Tatcha, a luxury brand inspired by the 200 year old style guide called Miyakofuzoku Kewaiden.
The Spa complex includes sauna, steam and whirlpool; a full-service beauty salon; state-of-the-art fitness centre; and 20 metre indoor pool.
The new Four Seasons Hotel Kyoto is the sister property of Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Marunouchi, suggesting an opportunity for travellers to experience the ancient and modern capitals of Japan in Four Seasons style. The company recently announced plans for a third hotel in Japan, in Tokyo’s Otemachi business district.