In a recent presentation I attended, John Wee Tom, co-owner of Toronto's Templar Hotel, explored how designer hotels use natural material, subdued lighting, simple color palettes and clean, uncluttered lines to create a restful ambiance.
With the class and cool of Simon Templar from TV's The Saint, this 27-room boutique hotel incorporates Swiss and Japanese influences. The stonework and railings reflect the design of Hotel Therme Vals.
With low beds and tea sets on bedside tables, guest rooms are reminiscent of Japanese ryokans. Onsen Spa in a minimalist Japanese garden will soon open.
Guest room phones have been replaced by iPads which also have a music playlist and control room amenities. Bath tubs are extra long ensuring comfort for tall guests.
Guests have 24-hour access to Monk Kitchen, an open concept kitchen and dining venue. At this permanent chef's table, guests feel like a private chef is preparing cuisine on demand from fresh ingredients sourced daily. Groups can arrange cooking demos and hold meetings in the dining venue or upstairs lounge. Skylights and an outdoor glass bottom pool brings the light in.
KAI Hakone, Japan
KAI Hakone, a 50-room eco-friendly ryokan, has an onsen with an open wall that provides views of the surrounding forest. There are 6 room categories including tatami rooms with low-frame double beds and Western suites.
Cuisine is classic kaiseki. The lounge, available for meetings during the day, is transformed into Yosegi Chaya’s teahouse in the evening.
The "saussurea spa" uses herbal preparations to promote relaxation and healing.
The world-famous Therme (baths with water from a thermal spring) is accessible via skywalk from the main building of this 140 room hotel. Nobel prize winning architect Peter Zumthor used stone blocks, Valser quartzite slabs and glass to create a modern design. Accommodation is available in 4 buildings.