Benesse House, Naoshima

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If you’ve always wished you would stay in a gallery overnight, the Benesse House can make this happen.  Part contemporary art museum, part minimalist hotel – the property is also an architectural triumph.  Simple but gracious concrete, wood and glass constructions help to create a number of airy spaces – for enjoying art, as well as a sound night’s sleep.

The various buildings that make up the hotel are dispersed over the incredible Naoshima landscape, with the main ‘Museum’ building looking down over the azure Inland Sea.  This houses both the world-class gallery itself (open in the day to the public) and 10 of the guest rooms, with exclusive access after hours.  All hotel rooms – regardless of location – have a similarly modern and relaxing finish to them.  Neutral colours, light wood furnishings, each with a unique work of art upon the wall for your eyes only.

Away from the main gallery, the ‘Oval’ building, atop a hill and reached by monorail, is more exclusive still – with just half a dozen rooms, the building itself a work of art that few will ever see.  The majority of guests will stay in the ‘Park’ building – surrounded by lush green lawns, dotted with vividly coloured sculptures and looking out to the water.  Our personal favourite though is the ‘Beach’ building – which is true to its name, mere steps away from the lapping waves… a particularly serene place to sleep after a day of soaking up the art and culture of this magical island.

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