Benesse House is Naoshima’s most famous contemporary art museum and one of the best contemporary art museums in the world. Hosting artwork from the likes of Andy Warhol and Bruce Nauman (to name but a few) Benesse House is a building that delights with what is on offer inside; but equally the complex (Designed by famed architect Tadao Ando) is just as striking. What has all of this got to do with hotels? Well, you can sleep here too; and we’re not talking on the gallery floors, we’re talking unique rooms that reflect the amazing aesthetics of the whole complex.
Naoshima is an island that is delicately perched in the Seto Inland Sea. Being an island, the best way to reach this peaceful isle is by catching a boat or ferry from Uno. You’ll most likely arrive at Miyanoura port and from here it’s just a 10 minute car ride over to Gotanji; the home of Benesse House.
Renowned architect Tadao Ando designed each of the four buildings that house hotel guests; Museum, Oval, Park, and Beach. The sleek, minimalist rooms of Museum allow you to stay close to the famous artwork that Benesse displays, whilst each of the 10 rooms on offer house famous works by artists who are featured in the main galleries. The six rooms in Oval are neatly perched on a hill at the highest point in Benesse House and boast soothing views of the Inland sea through floor-to-ceiling windows. Park, the most populated of the buildings, treats guests to views of the Shikoku Mountains and contains restaurants, lounges and various shops and art spaces. The Beach building’s rooms come equipped with private terraces providing panoramic views of the sea and offer more spacious accommodation suitable for families.
WHY WE LIKE IT
Benesse House offers the discerning traveller something different; namely, the chance to stay in a beautifully designed museum complex. To be surrounded by priceless pieces of art as you drift off to sleep, whilst through your window the majestic Shikoku Mountains or the Seto Inland Sea provide a feast for the eyes, is an utterly original experience. What’s more, all of Benesse House’s rooms are works of art in themselves; calming pastel, pale colour schemes and rich and bright wooden furnishings preserve that contemporary feel without abandoning tradition and comfort. Most of the galleries only lay a short walk away from your room as well, so you can access the galleries in off-peak hours, long after the crowds have disappeared home. And after a day (or an evening) of wandering through the galleries, you can always book in for a treatment at the spa…