23rd - 24th December 2014
Kyoto is one of the most visited cities in the world and the hotel industry in Kyoto is definitely aware of that. Over the years, I have seen more and more hotels popping up around the city and some of more prominent one in recent years are the The Ritz Carlton Kyoto designed by Nikken Sekkei located next to the Kamogawa and the exclusive upscale Hotel Kanra by UDS. With so many hotels around, the competition is rather intense. Some stood out with their affordable rates but others go for character.
One of the hotels that we stayed as a splurge since it was our last night in Japan was Anteroom Kyoto. It cost us 6900 JPY for a Semi-Double if you book directly with them. It is located around Kujo Station, south of Kyoto Station and was a former student dormitory that was renovated and turned into a rather fascinating hotel (and apartment) by UDS 株式会社, a design firm based in Tokyo.
The concept behind the apart-hotel is to gather both residents and visitors from around the world in a space that brings together the “art and culture expressing the essence of contemporary Kyoto”
Hence Anteroom Kyoto is not only a hotel or apartment but also a space to share, a place to mingle and a gallery to open perspectives. During our stay, an exhibition entitled “Daydream with Gravity” featuring works by artists such as Itagaki Kenji (板垣賢司), Nishigami Shōhei (西上翔平) and Yokoyama Yūichi (横山裕一) were on display at the gallery space known as Gallery 9.5 that welcomes you as you enter the hotel’s lobby.
We had a pleasant surprise at the counter when we were upgraded to a spacious and comfortable Twin Room from our original Semi-Double.
Another feature of the hotel is their seasonal breakfast served at Anteroom Meals (1000 JPY ea.) which include a bowl of Salad with a variety of toppings and dressings, a bowl of soup, yoghurt, juice, coffee or tea and pita pockets.
For our breakfast it was an Egg and Ham Mayo Pita Pocket and a Bacon with Tomatoes and Mozzarella Pita Pocket which was really good. The salad toppings were amazing as well. The pumpkin chips and crispy tofu skin were kind of new to me.
I really loved the aesthetics in both the room and the common areas of the hotel. Despite the quirkiness in some of the art works or decor, every thing seemed to come together nicely, the gardens, the sculptures, the furniture...
The living-room atmosphere of the common areas where once in while we might encounter a resident artist or designer also have areas providing ample privacy and cosy corners to chat with friends. In short, this is a really nice place.
The hotel also provides bicycles to cycle to Kyoto Station. Location-wise, while some might find the location inconvenient, I appreciate the tranquillity Anteroom Kyoto provides, away from the action in Sanjo or Shijo areas. The neighbourhood around Kujo is rather pleasant, think of scenes of kids playing along the streets after a baseball match, aunties patronizing a Korean shop that makes their own kimchi and finding a really generous ramen stall called Tai-ei Ramen (大栄ラーメン).
7 Aketacho Higashi-Kujo Minami-Ku