Boutique design hotels for the discerning staycationer

Despite the current shortage of international tourists to Tokyo, many new hotels, originally hoping to host an Olympic rush, have had no choice but to open. With so many beautifully designed and reasonably priced, perhaps now is the time for Japanese residents to enjoy a stay. “On: Design” discovers four new establishments offering unusual stays.

Rooms at the Toggle Hotel are two-tone, each with furniture to match the two-tone palette.

Toggle the hotel

A refreshing departure from the ever-popular minimalist white palette, Toggle Hotel brings a touch of vibrancy to the concrete jungle of Suidobashi. Its bright exterior made up of alternating bands of yellow and gray, inspired by the markings of the freeway adjacent to the building, only hints at the range of colors found inside.

Designed by Klein Dytham Architecture, each level of the hotel is two-tone from floor to ceiling. Twelve colors are used in six combinations – from a light blue and cheerful yellow to a dark purple and beige. Even the left and right sides of the hallways are different colors, each leading to matching two-tone bedrooms.

While the two-tone color block is its most distinctive feature, the hotel’s concept focuses on providing spaces in which guests can easily “switch” between work and leisure modes. Most of its rooms have high bunk beds or daybeds, matched with furniture that can double as mini-desks or coffee tables.

There are other design quirks as well, including triangular corner rooms with window views that make guests feel like sleeping in the middle of the freeway, and a gray laundry room divided by a yellow sitting area. sunny which is so nice, worth it to relax there while the dryer is running. Fans of Japanese design will also recognize famous brands scattered throughout the hotel, including Karimoku New Standard furniture, Kinto glassware, and most notably, signage and graphics by Shun Kawakami from Artless Inc.

The abstract and monotonous artwork in Daisuke Motogi's “Framed Function” room for BnA_Wall can be removed and used as furniture.
The abstract and monotonous artwork in Daisuke Motogi’s “Framed Function” room for BnA_Wall can be removed and used as furniture.


The BnA (Bed and Art) project supports artists in Japan by creating Airbnbs and boutique hotels dedicated to the presentation of their works. BnA’s modus operandi is to allow artists to develop their own ideas by being inspired by the architecture of each space, sometimes even modifying the rooms at the request of the artists. In return for the design of the guest rooms, the artists receive a share of the profits from the reservation of the rooms. The latest addition to the hotel business is BnA_Wall, a refurbished head office of the textile company Nishijin in Nihonbashi with 26 unique rooms.

The result is a collection of very different immersive experiences, from Yoshirotten’s sparse and minimalist “Float” meditation room, saturated with colorful lighting, to Magma’s kitsch “Hardcore Game Room”, decorated with comedic references to the games of company and a row of basketball hoops. .

Of particular note is the “Framed Function” room, for which architect and designer Daisuke Motogi created abstract works of art that can be removed from walls and used as furniture. The sculptural piece above the bed doubles as a set of cylindrical cushions; a monotonous black image turns out to be a serving tray; and a large matching rectangular work can be attached to a geometric frame to form a side table.

Another “On: Design” favorite is Kanto Iwamura’s “An Urban Nest” bedroom, inspired by the outdoor nooks and crannies that intoxicated citizens sometimes find themselves sleeping at night. Here, the bed is raised to create a hole to slip into underneath, while the raw concrete steps and industrial piping make it look like the client has found refuge in a neglected alley in the city.

The Kaika Tokyo hotel's art storage area features artwork that guests can view through its wire fence.
The Kaika Tokyo hotel’s art storage area features artwork that guests can view through its wire fence.


Kaika Tokyo of The Share Hotels is also linked to art. Similar to the BnA project, The Share Hotels is renovating old buildings across Japan into budget boutique hotels with public spaces to help foster a relationship with the local community.

Kaika, in the Sumida district of Tokyo, is a hotel located in a 54-year-old warehouse. While the upper floors were converted into guest rooms, sections of the first and basement were reserved as warehouses for contemporary galleries including Nanzuka, Voilld, and Yoshimi Arts. Some artwork is placed around the hotel and in a shopping gallery on the first floor, but guests are encouraged to look through the wire mesh of the storage areas to see other pieces.

As a foil to contemporary artwork, Kaika maintains a warehouse aesthetic that spans the living room and hallways, with wooden crates used as display tables and signage. Other benefits of the design include a showcase of fine art available for purchase, traditional Japanese handcrafted tableware at the bar, and rentals from the stylish Tokyobike brand.

K5 rooms have beds that can be hidden by an indigo-dyed curtain that wraps around like a vaporous column.
K5 rooms have beds that can be hidden by an indigo-dyed curtain that wraps around like a vaporous column.


Designed by architects Claesson Koivisto Rune and built by ADX, K5 is another building renovation and local revitalization project. Housed in an old 1920s bank in Nihonbashi, it combines the building’s original Western-style Modernist concrete facade with 20 impeccably styled rooms, while opening its library-bar, cafe, and restaurant to locals and residents alike. walk-in visitors.

The interior is a fusion of contemporary Scandinavian design and Japanese craftsmanship, all imbued with a hint of nostalgia. Expect ADX Japanese woodwork in dark tones, retro-style, teardrop-shaped tiled hallways washi paper pendant lights, curved plush minimalist furniture, richly colored textiles, and plenty of oversized potted evergreens. An unusual design signature are the floor-to-ceiling cylindrical curtains that surround each bed. Hand-dyed in indigo and translucent, they are a striking feature that gives guests a little more privacy at night.

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About Mohammed B. Hale

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