It Looks Like “White Lotus” Season 3 Will be Set in Kyoto

A source close to Mike White dropped a scoop on LAMag that confirms what the hit HBO show’s creator has been hinting at in interviews

There is no known cast or script yet, but one of the most important and very likely details about season 3 of The White Lotus can be revealed: The drama and intrigue will play out in Asia and most likely in Japan, according to a source close to the creator of the series. And if we follow the clues, the logical choice for the hit show’s next location is Japan’s cultural capital, Kyoto.

While many mysteries float around the HBO series (did Greg set Tanya up in Sicily? Did Ethan and Daphne have sex?) Season 3’s location is of particular interest to fans. The travel-porn aspect of the hit show is as much an attraction as the violent intrigues and sexual dalliances. It’s as if the question for viewers is not so much, “Where will The White Lotus go next?” as it is, “Where do we get to go next with The White Lotus?”

Season one was a mid-pandemic adventure to Maui, allowing the locked down and sun-starved audience to pant at flatscreens percolating with tan bodies, turquoise waters, and palm-dappled trysts. Season two moved the action to luxe Taormina, Sicily with larcenous side trips to renaissance palazzi and a rice-balleria on a cobblestoned strada. Such lush settings only made fans more eager to learn precisely where the series’ next body will turn up.

“Mike really wants to set it in Japan. He’s trying to figure this out. It might not work, but definitely Asia,” the source told LAMag. 

This jibes with other hints. After season 2’s finale, White told Esquire, “I think the third season, it would be maybe a kind of satirical and funny look at death and eastern religion and spirituality.” And prior to season 2’s premiere, White mentioned in a Deadline interview that there was a character he might bring back because “maybe you can’t go to Japan,” without her. 

Well, if it’s going to be Asia for the third go-around, we can begin to speculate which luxury hotel will house season 3’s antics. Kenneth Shapiro, the longtime editor and publisher of the trade publication TravelAge West, who knows pretty much every luxury hotel property south of the North Pole, says that for a five-star hotel with enough capacity for a Hollywood crew, gorgeous spaces, a visible connection to Eastern religion, and a preference for Japan, there are a few choice options, but one city feels like the clear pick: Kyoto. 

It’s the Kyoto Four Seasons that stands out ahead of all other options—particularly knowing that the first two seasons were shot at properties operated by the Four Seasons chain. It also has an ample 110 rooms and suites. “In Kyoto, you get all the shrines and the geisha culture and old Japan feel, but with a lot of luxury properties,” Shapiro says. “Japan is super popular right now and the city is big and modern enough to accommodate filming.”  

The less likely hotel options (that are worth a mention so we perhaps look smart later on) are some others in Kyoto and in other locations around Asia. “Maybe Miyajima Island where there’s a famous Torii Gate, but there aren’t luxury resorts big enough,” Shapiro adds. “They do have a lot of classic Ryokans. The most photo-worthy in Kyoto is the Aman—really stylish, but it only has 24 rooms and a couple of suites.”

Other potential locales (and this is pure speculation) include the Taj Lake Palace Udaipur, India—truly a shimmering pearlescent fantasy on stilts (seriously, take a look); Thailand’s Four Seasons Koh Samui, a lovely resort popular with the kind of clueless practitioners of vacation colonialism that White skewers; and the Four Seasons Resort Bali, a lush and luxurious resort that’s on the beach, just like the pristine accommodations seen in seasons one and two. And perhaps White and the Lotus team have now done enough of that? Who knows. Finally, there’s the Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle in Thailand: “A really unusual mountain-jungle setting, but maybe not so easy to film there,” says Shapiro.

An HBO spokesperson declined to comment to LAMag about future locations for The White Lotus. However, if help is needed, we’ll be happy to work as one of their location scouts. 

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