Four Seasons Hotel Kyoto ( has opened just in time for sakura (cherry blossom) season.

Located amid five acres of 12th century pond gardens in the historic Higashiyama district (close to the Kiyomizu-dera Temple and Kyoto National Museum), the hotel offers 120 rooms and suites along with 57 residences by US hospitality design powerhouse Hirsch Bedner Associates (Grand Hyatt Dubai, Ritz-Carlton Galaxy Macau and St. Regis Rome)—we love the vast, tea house-style open room fronts overlooking the garden.

Head to the spa for treatments that include tatcha, a form of skincare inspired by geisha. Other facilities include an indoor pool and four dining venues including a beautiful sukiya (tea house) in the garden.

Room rates start at JPY75,000 (B23,215) for a deluxe courtyard room and go up to a spacious 245-sq-meter presidential suite at JPY1.2 million (B371,453).