Élysée Collective is pleased to announce the launch of Aman’s third resort in Japan, Aman Kyoto, scheduled to open on 1 November, 2019. Situated in a hidden garden close to Kinkaku-ji Temple (Golden Pavilion), the resort, with 24 rooms and two two-bedroom villas, draws on the country’s ryokan (traditional inn) and onsen (hot spring) concepts to provide an authentic yet contemporary Kyoto sanctuary surrounded by nature. Unlocking the secrets of Japan’s ancient Imperial capital, Aman Kyoto and its secret garden are just a stone’s throw from the city’s 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, yet feel a world away.
Exemplary in its simplicity, the resort is an architectural masterpiece brought into being by Kerry Hill Architects, who designed both Aman Tokyo and Amanemu. Consisting of a series of standalone pavilions, each with a distinct function, Aman Kyoto includes separate Arrival, Living, Dining and Spa Pavilions, four Guest Pavilions housing 24 guest rooms offering leafy seclusion with garden-or-stream views, and two separate Pavilions overlooking the forest canopy housing a pair of two-bedroom villas of unparalleled luxury.
The intimate scale of the pavilions, with their considered detailing and careful placement within the garden, respects, on one hand the simplicity and appropriateness of traditional Japanese architecture, while on the other allows these contemporary buildings to exist and breathe with the landscape. Calm is always evident; a guest here is free to wander, contemplate and explore.
Each of Aman Kyoto’s 24 guest rooms and two villas is a contemporary reimagining of the traditional ryokan. Strikingly minimalist in their design, the rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows framing the spectacular natural surroundings, tatami mats covering the floors, and tokonoma (alcoves where items for artistic appreciation are presented) providing a subtle focal point. The interiors are spacious and light-filled – ingeniously crafted to foster peace, relaxation and contemplation.
The colour palette for interiors is neutral, complementing the work of local artisans: handmade raku tile panels grace the Living Pavilion and custom-made ceramic tiles decorate the restaurant. The ofuro bathtubs in each guest room are made of hinoki cypress wood, native to central Japan. All furniture pieces, including traditional Japanese lanterns, have been custom-designed and are exclusive to Aman Kyoto. Carefully selected artefacts, whether vases, artworks or antiques, have been individually selected for each space, celebrating the refined aesthetic and creative values of Japan.
Aman Kyoto’s signature restaurant in the Dining Pavilion will be a landmark addition to one of Japan’s most celebrated gastronomical regions. Showcasing Japanese haute cuisine, multicourse dining experiences will make use of the finest hand-picked local produce. The convivial Living Pavilion with its central fireplace and glass doors opening onto the zen (ornate stone garden) will be no less inspired. Home-cooked Kyoto obanzai-style cuisine will be served throughout the day, and guests can also enjoy afternoon tea and reserve bamboo picnic hampers to be enjoyed al-fresco in the garden or forest glades. The garden itself is ideal for outdoor events, from small private dinners and functions, to weddings, yoga and mindfulness sessions.
The natural spring water that flows near Aman Kyoto is central to the philosophy at the resort’s Aman Spa, and something of great rarity in the region. Traditional onsen bathing facilities, using the water from a local spring, deliver relaxation and healing in their purest forms, while a range of treatments tap into Japan’s plentiful natural apothecary – including Kyoto green tea, Tanba kuromame (black beans), local saké, and cold-pressed tsubaki (camellia) oil.
The distinctive and enthralling journey that Aman now presents in Japan includes Aman Tokyo, a sleek sanctuary at the top of the Otemachi Tower in the bustling megalopolis that is Tokyo, to the calm and serene hot-spring resort of Amanemu on Ise Shima’s Bay of Pearls, and as of 1 November 2019, the culture-laden ancient Imperial city of Kyoto.