Kitoki Retreat Project, Bowen Island

Kitoki Retreat Project, Bowen Island

Location: Bowen Island
Year: 2020
Custom Builds
Architect: Jon Reed

Bowen Island’s stunning natural beauty is an ideal location for the newly-opened Kitoki Inn. This Japanese-inspired bathhouse and retreat centre offers bright, modern cabins and an open-air bathhouse, which encourage visitors to relax and rejuvenate.

The team at Kennedy Construction transformed a bare property into a stunning minimalist boutique hotel, building a main house, three guest houses, a bathhouse with hot tub and hydrotherapy shower, and an outdoor fireplace all in a cohesive style. 

Everything from roads and services to the well and septic system had to be built and installed, and the land reshaped to create an idyllic retreat surrounded by soothing forest paths meandering around the 12-kilometer long island.

In August 2021, Vogue Magazine featured the project, describing Kitoki Inn as a “ryokan-inspired rainforest escape.”

The Kitoki Inn was inspired by Japanese bathhouses and customized for Bowen Island’s rugged beauty

Co-owners Mitsumi Kawai and Rob Leadley were very involved in the project design and build, and currently take on the bulk of hosting and operations duties at Kitoki Inn. The project was inspired by a trip to Japan where Kawai and Leadley walked along the famous Philosopher’s Path and stayed in a Japanese onsen, which are inns with bathing facilities around hot springs throughout Japan.

The design from lead architect Jon Reed from Measured Architecture perfectly captures the rustic location and brings in traditional elements using shape, style, and building materials. Each building was designed to fit the property and features beautiful exterior cedar siding, interior cedar walls and ceilings, and custom wood furnishings.

In order to give guests the sense of being in a personal oasis throughout their stay, the cabins are staggered and the large windows are designed and placed for maximum light and privacy.

Kennedy Construction specializes in projects on Bowen Island

Andrew Kennedy and his crew have completed several other projects on Bowen Island, such as this unique custom build, so are familiar with its unique ecosystem and the challenges of building in a small, remote location.

While this yearlong project had a hard deadline because Kitoki Inn was taking bookings ahead of opening in July 2021, the crew was able to finish right on schedule despite the challenges brought on by global supply chain shortages. In January, when they learned the windows would be delayed they were able to work around the issue and then pick up the pace once they arrived so they could still meet their deadline.

Being part of the project from start to finish, having good relationships and connections with local tradesmen and suppliers, and buying local wherever possible helped make this project a huge success. The result is a picturesque getaway in the heart of Bowen Island, which is booked out for the next year.

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