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Noku Kyoto Is a Hotel That Perfectly Balances Classic and Modern

Every hotel seems to think that they know that the little details are what make a stay special. But so few follow through on that seemingly simple concept. Noku Kyoto is one of the (single-digit) few that we’d suggest actually gets the little things right in a unique (literally) and memorable way.

It starts right when you breeze through the stone-laden lobby entryway, thanks to an exceedingly warm array of staff smiles behind the front desk. Welcome to Japanese hospitality – it’s even more impressive than you’ve heard.

But it’s truly the thoughtful touches in every room that set Noku Kyoto apart from personality-devoid ‘world-class’ hotels. Functionally, individually wrapped Q-tips might seem questionable, but it makes Noku feel distinctly and endearingly Japanese. However, the inclusion of a deodorant spray for clothes in every room closet makes you wonder why this hasn’t caught on with more hotels – doesn’t just about everyone exercise while traveling and essentially nobody do laundry while traveling? And, most impactfully, dispersed throughout Noku Kyoto’s 81 rooms you’ll find charming art pieces hand-picked by the hotel owner’s wife and delicately placed in glass showcase boxes (below). It’s a small yet perfect flourish of design and hospitality.

The room designs feel special too, minimal in decorative accoutrement (apart from the above) and tasteful in their elegant furniture design. There’s a hint of Scandinavian design philosophy in the birch wood color palettes and subtle accent lighting, unsurprising considering Japan’s and Northern Europe’s mutual respect for quality design. It all comes together to imbue Noku Kyoto with a classic-yet-contemporary atmosphere.

If there’s anything that you should spend 100% of your time on in Kyoto, it’s drinking and eating. Kyoto is the #1 city for beef consumption in Japan but just about any food will blow you away. The freshness of the produce and the quality of the meat in Kyoto makes Rome feel like an NYC bodega; throw in ultra-intimate cocktail bars and Kyoto is a chill hedonist heaven off Tokyo’s beaten path.

Best of all, Noku Kyoto is a skip and a hop from the best of the best. We’d recommend Shuto Yanagino for mind-blowing bar design, Hafuu for its melt-in-your-mouth wagyu beef and Bar K-Ya for a mojito so fresh you’ll wonder how mint could taste so minty.

With locations in Osaka and the Maldives, and with Phuket set to open in 2020, Noku owns the mid-sized hotel market on some of Asia’s best off-the-radar destinations. But it’s the attentive mastery of those little details that makes each one worth visiting – why not hit all of them?