The Screen Kyoto

640-1 Shimogoryomae-cho, Teramachi Marutamachi-sagaru, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto

The Screen is one of Japan’s few concept boutique hotels, and truly stands out in Kyoto, where most hotels are boring city hotels or super expensive ryokans.

Each of The Screen's 13 rooms and suites was designed individually, which means you have a hodge-podge of design concepts. From Upper East Side NY, complete with chandeliers and rather drab furniture (room 401) to contemporary Japanese (room 101), the hotel literally has something for everyone—just hope you don’t get room 403, which has a bed shrouded in a curtain (but maybe that’s your thing). We like room 301, a simply designed space with lovely wood paneling and large windows overlooking the Shimogoryo Shrine.

All rooms feature Bose stereos, iPod docks and 42in plasma TVs—and very cool bathroom amenities from New York City, called Sula. They even have beds by Simmons, as if the hotel did not already try hard enough to be Western in style. The Screen also boasts a guest-only Sky Lounge on the 5F and a hybrid French/Japanese restaurant with a disastrous name, Bron Ronnery (the food is better than the name!).

The Screen may not look too central on a map of Kyoto tourist attractions, but it's located in probably our favorite area of the city: Upper Teramachi Street. Here you'll find affordable antique shops, French-style bistros and a more casual and local Kyoto pace. This is an area where Kyoto citizens would like to live (and so would we!). You are also at the southeast corner of the Kyoto Imperial Palace grounds, which has plenty of public green spaces and of course the palace areas.

A short walk from the hotel is Cafe bibliotic HELLO, one of the more charming and cozy cafes in all of Kyoto. It features top-rate espresso-based drinks, an attached bakery and a McIntosh sound system with real vinyl LPs playing throughout the day.

Room 304

The hotel does have a bike rental service, and we urge you to take advantage of this—but request a booking in advance, as they only have a limited number.

The Screen does both Western and Japanese breakfasts

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