The Prince Akatoki London
Lux Nomade checks in to London’s contemporary Japanese inspired hotel.
I arrived at The Prince Akatoki after a heinously long journey from the other side of the world, sleep deprived and delirious. While London’s old school hotels (the likes of Claridges and Dukes, resplendent in heritage charm) might have made me feel more immediately English, and the trendy set (an outpost of Soho House, The Hoxton or the recently opened The Twenty Two) might have instilled a sense of big-city excitement, the sense of calm that came over me as I checked in to Marble Arch’s Japanese inspired hotel was exactly what I needed.
Through heritage stone pillars, sleek glass doors open up to a sparkling foyer – all shiny stone and wooden features in light, neutral tones. A silver drinks trolley bearing a rotating selection of sake, juice, infused water and champagne sits adjacent to the reception desk, and the team are quick to ensure that guests have a drink in hand before attending to other, more formal business.
The 82 room hotel – formerly The Arch London – opened in 2019 as a Japanese inspired take on the luxury London hotel and a member of the always-excellent Small Luxury Hotels of the World group. The result is an immaculately presented, contemporary space inside a charming heritage shell.
In my room on the fifth floor, I was greeted with a loaded fruit plate and a selection of mochi balls which sat beside a welcome note and a bottle of sparkling sake. Panelled sash windows flooded the room with light, and the street below was postcard-perfect.
My friend met me at the hotel and we took a walk through Regents Park, which is just a short walk from the hotel through the quiet streets of Marylebone. We walked through the rose gardens and back to the hotel as the afternoon turned to evening and groups of friends packed up their picnics and headed to the pubs.
Before dinner, we visited the hotel’s in house cocktail bar for an aperitif, and were met with a nineteen page drinks list featuring bespoke Japanese takes on traditional cocktails, along with an extensive range of whiskeys, sake and other spirits. I chose the Tokyo: a perfectly potent, martini-esque combination of gin and vermouth, spiked with sake and Japanese bitters and garnished with pickled daikon. The Malt Bar itself has a library-like feel: all oak panelled walls and low, amber-tinted lighting. For a pre dinner drink it delivers, but we suspect the intimate, moody space really comes into its own in the small hours.
For dinner, we made our way down the hall to TOKii, the Japanese inspired restaurant and the jewel in The Prince Akotoki’s crown. We let our host order for us, and were rewarded with a perfectly balanced selection that included fresh sashimi, robata grilled aubergine and a beef fillet tataki, artfully adorned with a zesty ponzu and curls of crisped garlic. Though TOKii takes most of its inspiration from the traditional cuisine of Japan, the menu changes seasonally, with locally sourced ingredients and creative fusion dishes a reflection of the team’s ambitious approach. If you find yourself in decision paralysis, opting for the Teishoku Menu (a carefully curated four course affair chosen by the chef) is a safe bet.
After dinner, we abstemiously (and remarkably) managed to skip dessert (options included dark chocolate fondant with matcha ice cream and a yuzu and raspberry brûlée) in favour of a glass of sparkling sake and a walk around the block. We stopped at a pub on the corner and sat at a table on the street for a final nightcap before returning to The Prince Akatoki’s perfectly presented, cedar scented embrace.
Before bed, you’ll find your room re-made with fluffy towels, additional robes and fresh supplies of Malin & Goetz amenities along with a lavender pillow spray from This Works. This – along with tea brewed in the beautiful Japanese teapot you’ll find beside your minibar – facilitate a perfect wind-down.
That night, with London’s noise and bustle hiding in busier boroughs, we slept soundly until the morning. TOKii’s breakfast menu is a combination of hotel mainstays and creative fusion and Japanese dishes. The continental buffet includes a colourful array of pastries, fruit, cured meats and cheese, but for the ultimate experience, opt for the Akatoki breakfast: a colourful feast of tamago omelette, miso soup, steamed vegetables, grilled salmon, egg tofu and hijiki salad served with matcha ceremonial tea.
It was after we left the hotel that I learnt the origin of its name. As described by the Akotoki team, the word comes from an ancient Japanese word for sunrise. It represents the feeling you get when you wake up relaxed, rejuvenated and ready for the endless possibilities of the day ahead, my welcome letter explains. Stepping out into a sun baked September street feeling entirely reborn, with the 36 hour journey a distant memory, I couldn’t help but resonate with the concept.
For more information and bookings visit www.theprinceakatokilondon.com