Starwood’s Suiran emulates a traditional Japanese inn and adds a few Western touches.
Why Go: Suiran, a Luxury Collection Hotel opened on the western edge of Kyoto in March, adding to the growing number of luxury-hotel options in the city (including last year’s debut of the Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto). The 39-room hotel features ryokan-style accommodations. However, Starwood guests do not sleep on tatami mats; the surroundings maintain a traditional sense of place but with ample Western luxuries. In guest rooms (from $690, double occupancy), furnishings tend to sit low to the ground, with mattresses resting on short platforms instead of box springs, and floor chairs populating the sitting areas.
What to Expect: Suiran is located on the banks of the Hozu River in the hilly Arashiyama district. The hotel takes up part of the Tenryu-ji Temple grounds, one of 17 UNESCO heritage sites in Kyoto, and was converted from the ryokan Rantei that was formerly used by the Japanese government to host important guests. Two existing historic buildings on-site, Enmei-kaku and Hasshoken, have been renovated and converted into a restaurant and a café, respectively. The guest rooms offer unparalleled natural vistas that change dramatically with the seasons. The hotel also offers a private spa service, including in-room treatments and two treatment rooms appointed with Japanese-style open-air baths. Guests can venture into central Kyoto by rickshaw, train, or flat-bottomed boat for various sightseeing tours in the city.
How to Get There: The hotel is about an hour’s drive from the Osaka International Airport. It can be reached in about 15 minutes by train or taxi from Kyoto Station—a main hub in this city without an airport. (starwoodhotels.com)