Tucked away in rural areas of Japan are luxurious yet minimalistic lodges known as ryokans, which are dedicated to providing guests with a serene experience. These special inns traditionally feature matted rooms, communal areas, hot springs and many other beautiful amenities. I first stayed at a ryokan when I visited Japan in 2018, and when I was planning my recent trip to Mexico City I was intrigued by the idea of seeing how this cultural experience would hold up halfway across the world from where it originated. Here, I’m spilling the tea about my stay at the RYO KAN Mexico City hotel, Latin America’s premier ryokan location.
From the moment you go to book your stay, you’ll notice that the room accommodations at RYO KAN are not your average hotel suite. With just 10 rooms to choose from (each room’s floor plan and list of amenities are available online), this unique getaway provides guests with a truly intimate atmosphere that drastically contrasts the regular hustle and bustle of other popular hotels within the city. While you can certainly get a sense of what your room will be like from the hotel’s website, nothing replaces the first impression of walking into RYO KAN and being transported into a world of traditional Japanese decor filled with modern twists.
The entire hotel is adorned with Instagram-worthy wooden facades and sleek white furnishings, creating a clean countryside look much like the traditional ryokans in Japan. Mexican culture is fused into the Japanese design via natural locally sourced materials such as terrazzo, oak, and bejuco vine gauze that are used throughout the hotel architecture. Each guest room offers a peaceful and minimalistic vibe, but with innovative tech features such as lighting, audio, blinds, and television that can all be controlled from a touch screen in the room or from a mobile app.
Such a calming space wasn’t created in vain or simply for aesthetic. The neutral colors and soft materials provide a purposeful landscape that is meant to foster relaxation for guests. From reading nooks, a Japanese garden, and the Library (a communal workspace area), to modern Japanese style jacuzzi baths and Mexican style spa treatments on the Onsen terrace, there are so many available amenities to help guests unwind during their stay. Japanese tea is served all day in the welcoming area, and some guest rooms even come equipped with tatami mats to mimic the traditional setting for tea ceremony gatherings (known as “chanoyu”).
Unlike many other upscale hotels, the RYO KAN provides guests with a complimentary breakfast daily—but this isn’t your average continental breakfast. Rather than serving greasy foods and oversized plates, RYO KAN focuses on promoting a healthy start to the day with fresh produce, light pastries, and refreshing juices. The hotel’s Little Tokyo location within Mexico City provides guests with endless options (including both Mexican and Japanese cuisines) for lunch and dinner, and the concierge is happy to create each guest an omakase (meaning “I leave it up to you”) itinerary of dining selections.
Though the property was absolutely stunning, it is worth nothing that there are still a few small kinks being worked out, which is to be expected with any new hotel. Most notably, the guest rooms are only equipped with Dyson fans rather than air conditioning, which may not do a sufficient job during the hot summer months. However, this didn’t get in my way of decompressing during my stay and taking in all that the beautiful site had to offer. Compared to the ryokan I stayed at during my trip to Japan, Mexico City’s seems right on par in keeping the spirit of this tradition alive while offering some perfect local touches to make it a unique experience.