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A photograph of a hotel in a forest

Aman Kyoto scoops coveted Hotel of the Year award at AHEAD Asia 2021

Dezeen promotion: built within a secret garden and surrounded by forest, the Aman Kyoto designed by the late Singapore-based architect Kerry Hill was crowned Hotel of the Year at this week's AHEAD Asia awards.

Following on from last week's MEA awards ceremony in Dubai, AHEAD – which stands for the Awards for Hospitality Experience and Design – revealed its Asia 2021 winners during a virtual awards ceremony. The event celebrates striking new hospitality projects from across Asia.

A photograph of guest-rooms at Zannier Hotels
Guestrooms at the Zannier Hotels' Bãi San Hô

This year, Japanese hotels were particularly successful with The Aman Kyoto taking home the prestigious AHEAD Asia Hotel of the Year award, as well as an award for the best resort.

Part of the Aman resorts group – a Swiss-headquartered multinational hospitality company that has 33 resorts, hotels and private residences in 20 countries – the Aman Kyoto is built in a secret garden at the centre of a forest and a stone's throw away from the golden Kinkaku-ji Temple.

A photograph of a window looking onto a snow-filled landscape
The lobby ad public spaces at the Park Hyatt Niseko Hanazono

It was renowned Australian architect Kerry Hill's final project for Aman before he passed away in 2018.

The judges praised the hotel for its simplicity and the way it seamlessly blends into its surrounding environment. The panel described it as "an exceptional creation that has embraced and enhanced the existing forest garden where it is located".

A photograph of the forest around The Aman Kyoto Resort
The Aman Kyoto Resort is surrounded by forest

Also in Japan, Claesson Koivisto Rune's Hotel K5 Tokyo, which is located in a former bank building, took home the Hotel Conversion award, while the Park Hyatt Niseko Hanazono ski resort by BAR Studio was awarded the Spa and Wellness and Lobby and Public Spaces awards, praised by judges for its warm ambience.

The Lijiang Hylla Vintage Hotel, designed by Guantang Design was the biggest winner of the night scooping three awards including the New Concept, Landscaping and Outdoor Spaces and Hotel Newbuild awards.

A photograph of the Hotel Newbuild
The Lijiang Hylla Vintage Hotel was the biggest winner of the night scooping three awards

Located 2,400 metres above sea level within a spectacular mountainous landscape within the ancient Naxi kingdom, the Lijiang Hylla Vintage Hotel was praised for the way it blended in with its surrounding environment.

Built using reclaimed and local materials, the judges appreciated the way its natural and sustainable approach linked its past with a forward-thinking philosophy.

The judges felt that the project's success rested on "the manner in which it blurs the lines between the natural and constructed environments", describing it as an "absolute original, dreamy, nothing like it in Mainland China.

A photograph of the Bar Club Lounge
Too High Bar is the highest bar in Hong Kong

Other winners included Zannier Hotels' Bãi San Hô – a luxury beach resort located in Phu Yen, Vietnam, which took home the Guestrooms award. Built using local materials and finishes, the hotel's 73 free-standing villas are made up of different room typologies inspired by diverse vernacular styles.

Two hotels belonging to the Rosewood hotels and resorts group also took home awards from the ceremony.

The landscaping and outdoor space of Lijiang Hylla Vintage Hotel
The landscaping and outdoor space of Lijiang Hylla Vintage Hotel

With its two outdoor lap pools, a private gym, wraparound landscaped gardens and magnificent harbour views, Harbour House on the 57th floor of the Rosewood Hong Kong won the Suite award while the Rosewood Guangzhou won in the Bar, Club or Lounge category for its opulent Too High bar on the 107th floor – the highest bar in the city.

To learn more about the AHEAD Awards, visit its website.

Partnership content

This article was written by Dezeen for AHEAD Awards as part of a partnership. Find out more about Dezeen partnership content here.