Ace Hotel, a boutique hotel chain headquartered in Portland, is making its first foray in the Asian market with the opening of a hotel in Kyoto next year. The 213-room Ace Hotel Kyoto will be the main part of the historic Shinpukan redevelopment. With architect Kengo Kuma leading the project’s design, the hotel will incorporate the existing building’s early 20th century architectural elements with contemporary styling. The building is the perfect fit for the hotelier’s brand which focuses on reviving and repurposing older and more character-filled buildings.
Shinpukan was built in 1926 as the former Kyoto Central Telephone Office. It was designed by architect Yoshida Tetsuro (1894-1956), a pioneer of what is called ‘teishin-kenchiku’ – a modernist architectural style seen in many of the communications, post office and public works buildings built across Japan in the early 1900s by the former Ministry of Communications and Transportation. It later became the Kyoto West Annex Building for the Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Public Corporation (now NTT West). In 2001, NTT converted the building into a shopping mall. The retail complex closed in early 2016 ahead of NTT’s planned redevelopment.
NTT was considering a number of international hoteliers for the project but chose Ace Hotel because they both shared a vision of a hotel that would allow a close connection with the local community. The ‘Ace Hotel Effect’ is also expected to boost the surrounding neighborhood, creating a lively district that will attract more restaurants, shops and activities for residents and tourists alike.
The redevelopment project will include a 7-storey building with a total floor area of 26,000 sqm (280,000 sq.ft). The basement and ground floors will be restaurant and retail, with Ace Hotel occupying floors 2 to 7. The historic building’s facade fronting onto Karasuma Street be preserved with retail on the ground floor and hotel rooms on floors 2 and 3. Room rates are expected to have a wide pricing range, similar to other Ace Hotels.
The hotel is located 1 kilometer east of Nijo Castle, 1 kilometer south of the Kyoto Imperial Palace, and will have direct access to the Karasuma Oike subway station.
Source: Nikkei Business Publications, April 6, 2018.