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Benesse House Hotel

Benesse House is a unique fusion of modern architecture and art that has a growing legion of worldwide fans. Designed by Japan’s most famous architect, Tadao Ando, the hotel successfully marries art, architecture and nature in a stunning environment.

Guests have a choice of four separate hotel areas in which to stay: Oval, Museum, Beach and Park. Suites in the Oval section are above the main Museum and are accessed by a private monorail. Guests here and those staying in the Museum rooms also have the special privilege of being able to wander the museum late at night – in their pajamas should they wish – while it’s almost entirely empty of other visitors; a true ‘Night in the Museum’ experience!

Benesse House has two excellent restaurants, serving Japanese and French cuisine but we highly recommend reserving tables for dinner long in advance of your stay as spaces are limited and outside of the hotel, there is almost nowhere to dine out on the small island.

The staff at the hotel speak good English and are extremely attentive of guests’ needs. There’s a shuttle bus which visits some of Naoshima’s art installations as well as taking guests to and from the ferry port. Several of the installations can be visited on foot from the hotel but we also recommend renting electric bikes, which offer a great way to explore the island.

All the hotel’s rooms have floor to ceiling windows offering fantastic views; Oval, Museum and Beach rooms look out over the beautiful Inland Sea, while the Park rooms overlook the art filled gardens. The six luxurious Oval suites feature private terraces with views of the sea and the mountains in the distance, as well as stunning murals inside. Artwork by famous artists adorns the walls of all rooms; what is displayed in which room is described on the hotel’s website. While the rooms and Suites in Oval and Museum are the most expensive options, I think families particularly will enjoy the Beach suites, which are right on the water’s edge. For lovers of contemporary art, a stay at the Benese House Hotel is a must-do when visiting Japan!

Reviewed by Robin