BEST of the BEST 2014 | Journeys | Hotels: The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto

The traditional Japanese inn, or ryokan, takes a contemporary turn at the new Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto (+81.75.746.5555, www.ritzcarlton.com). The 134-room property, which opened in the former imperial capital in February, sets an authentic scene with meditative waterfalls, washi paper artwork, bonsai gardens, and other elements of the Meiji architectural style. More international in flavor are the hotel’s amenities, among them an Italian restaurant, a French patisserie, and a seven-treatment-room spa. Guests retire to one of the establishment’s 134 rooms, which are adorned with calligraphic artworks and blessed with floor-to-ceiling views of the Kamo River and the Higashi­yama mountain range. For a true ryokan experience, dine on traditional kaiseki cuisine at the Ritz-Carlton’s Mizuki restaurant. ($730–$10,000).  

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