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Private Preview 2014: Fitting Inns

Jackie Caradonio

Set among emperors’ palaces and Shinto shrines, the ryokan (inns) of Kyoto, Japan, have long been the preferred rest stops in the former imperial capital. Inside the inns, simple accommodations—separated by rice-paper walls and furnished with futons and tatami mats—provide guests with an authentic, if ascetic, Japanese experience. This ancient tradition will take a luxurious turn in February, when Kyoto welcomes its first Ritz-Carlton hotel. Located along the Kamogawa River, the 134-room Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Kyoto, promises to be a modern (and significantly larger) alternative to the ryokan. The low-rise structure has been designed according to the Japanese ideals of miyabi, featuring Meiji-style architecture and an interior courtyard. In addition to the Ritz-Carlton, travelers to Kyoto will soon have another contemporary interpretation of the ryokan: Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts has announced plans to open a 123-room property next year on a 5-acre site in the city’s Higashiyama-ku district.

The Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Kyoto, +81.75.746.5555, www.ritzcarlton.com; Four Seasons Hotel Kyoto, 800.819.5053, www.fourseasons.com