FrontRunners: Inn Style
A modern interpretation of a traditional Japanese ryokan, or inn, the Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto (www.ritzcarlton.com), debuted in February along the former imperial capital’s Kamo River. The 134-room retreat’s vantage allows for expansive views of the Higashiyama mountain range and convenient access to the shops, geisha houses, and teahouses in the city’s Gion and Pontocho districts. Inside the hotel, customary Meiji-style architectural details include metal latticework, washi paper artwork, and a peaceful courtyard with a four-story waterfall. Bonsai plants, calligraphic artworks, and light wood furnishings adorn the 134 guest rooms and suites, which include the Tsukimi Suite with its private moon terrace. In a break from tradition, the Ritz-Carlton offers an Italian eatery and a Pierre Hermé–helmed patisserie. Guests in search of an authentic Japanese meal can dine at Mizuki, where kaiseki cuisine is prepared using the traditional method of five flavors, five colors, and five cooking techniques.