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Benesse House

Listed under Unusual Places to Stay in Okayama, Japan.

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Photo by flickr user tsukasa.tanemura
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Built on an island, the fist thing that you see of Benesse House is a massive pumpkin crouching bewilderedly on the end of the pier. This is the first piece of art of many to follow, in fact a stay at Benesse House is really a stay at an art museum, but it’s also a boutique hotel. The owner has carefully selected works by a dozen or so international artists and rising Japanese art stars and displayed them around the grounds and house in a way that invites you to touch and mull over. In fact if you find you’re thinking about a piece of art in the dead of night you’re welcome to have a look at it then as well, the important thing for the owner is that you have time to ‘listen to them speak to you’.

The buildings of the hotel are in the same architectural family as the lair of a Bond villan, all hard edges tapering into the natural surroundings, with lots of glass and stone slabs. The main building is part burrowed into the cliffs, yet is still open to the sky allowing floods of natural light to illuminate the paintings.

Not a museum in a hotel or quite a hotel in a museum, the art flows into each room, as if it’s an art lovers tastefully decorated house.

By the time you arrive on the island you’ll be calling it a pilgrimage, Naoshima isn’t exactly local to the nearest airport in Osaka.

Benesse House Website.

Written by  World Reviewer Staff.

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