It’s all about the (creative) details: from architect-designed beds to a world-class collection of contemporary art.

The simplicity of the SSH concept flows easily throughout the hotel, thanks to Shigeru Ban overseeing the design of every detail, both inside and out – from statement lighting and bespoke furniture, right down to the minimal metal sweep of the door handles and the discreet electricity sockets.

Nature is a constant focal point. Stepping inside the sunlight-filled retreat, the purity of the clean-lined structure is tempered by warm expanses of cedar wood and an ever-changing tableau of forest views through the windows. Ban’s signature use of paper is found in the elegant rolls of his tube and birch plywood Carta chairs; the bespoke cardboard tube bed headboards; the amenity carts in the bathrooms; and the minimalism of his circular Paper Taliesin lamps.


It’s hard to resist slowing down. The 11 guestrooms are meditative havens of natural wood, high ceilings and simple furnishings, each with a private balcony or garden. Echoing the building’s curvilinear form, wooden desks flow beneath windows, alongside industrial-style lighting and bespoke white bedding and towels by world-class Ploh.

Relaxation comes in countless forms – perhaps reading a book on a balcony among the treetops or soaking in a window-side bathtub. Rooms are grouped into three clusters, each with an art-filled living room, a simple kitchen and direct access to the central Grand Room.


Woven into the fabric of SSH is the theme of “social hospitality” – as reflected in the Grand Room, the heartbeat of the hotel. A semi-circular space filled with natural light, an abstract Hiroshi Sugimoto photograph sits alongside a fireplace, seasonal flower arrangements and a sociable dining table.

The Library is a place of quiet retreat. Here, guests can sip rare Karuizawa whiskies and leaf through hundreds of art and architecture books (or vintage superhero DC comics).


Scattered intimately throughout SSH No.01 is a world-class collection of contemporary art and crafts. Japan’s radical avant-garde 1950s Gutai movement is one creative thread – from the raw calligraphic paintings of Yasuo Sumi to the Zen-inspired circles of Jiro Yoshihara. Other highlights include the bold geometry of Günther Förg and an exquisite collection of centuries-old tea bowls.

  • Empire State Building, Hiroshi Sugimoto

  • Grid Painting, Gunther Förg

  • Untitled, Kim Tschang Yeul

  • Magi 913, Yasuo Sumi

  • Work C.p. 96 Masaaki Yamada

  • Soleil Levant, Imai Toshimitsu

  • A collection of 16 antique Raku chawan tea bowls from the Edo period in 19th century

  • The Ink Garden, Zao Wou-Ki


An undulating cedar wood structure winds organically through the forests of Karuizawa.