Whether you’re shopping or sushi-ing, Marylebone-based The Prince Akatoki London brims with oriental elegance and undiscovered edible treasure, says Editor Sophie Ritchie
It goes without saying, first impressions are always important. In fact, sometimes they can be the longest lasting. The same rules apply to properties as well as people – it only takes a few wrong moves to be making a strong mental note to never visit again.
But when I first arrive at The Prince Akatoki London, tucked away stylishly in Cumberland Place, I take to its modern surrounds (and welcoming staff) immediately. I’m offered a glass of bubbles, my bags are whisked away and the man behind the counter beams with enthusiasm as we chat through check-in. All minor details, but it’s the minor ones that matter.
Blending Japanese aesthetics with Western heritage, with an opulent oriental feel that swathes you even in reception, this central London property underwent an extensive multi-million pound refurbishment before opening its (automatic) front doors in September 2019.
The costly work has proven undeniably worth every lick of paint – interiors seamlessly weave essence of the Far East with contemporary design throughout the hotel – from its 82 rooms and suites to the well-stocked bar.
A quick whir down in the lift brings me to my abode for the night – an enormous one bedroom suite, which feels more like a pristine apartment than mere hotel room. Opening the door reveals an extended hallway with pale wooden flooring, soft white walls and a number of rooms to discover.
There’s a kitchenette at one end (I clock its Nespresso machine immediately) as well as a stylish sitting room with huge TV and stretched ceilings. At the other side of the corridor awaits an expansive closet, main bedroom and modern bathroom filled with designer MALIN+GOETZ toiletries.
Wandering to the bedroom reveals a minimal space kitted out with a huge timber king bed and another massive TV – with walls dressed in subtle colour schemes and windows peering out nosily into the opposite townhouses.
It’s undeniably tranquil – the peaceful atmosphere seems a world away from the nearby madness of Oxford Street, where shoppers practically duel to the death for a sale item.
It feels, most importantly, authentic. Me and my suitcase have been to Japan. I remember the jet lag. I remember the obscure sushi. I of course remember the sake. And I also recall how peaceful so many areas could be – from city parks to countryside temples.
In London, you’re about as likely to come across such repose as the chances of Boris and Jeremy making each other friendship bracelets. But in this suite, I could be staring up at the branches of the Imperial Palace East Garden again.
It’s the suite’s delicate design details responsible for such an effect. Slender lighting by Stellar Works and Muuto, low side tables and sophisticated furnishings work together to conjure floor-to-ceiling calmness. I explore in the soft silence and wait for my friend to arrive, feeling the stress of my busy day ebb away as I meander through the suite.
The Food & Drink
When she does, dinner is served at Tokii, an (unsurprisingly) Japanese restaurant located on the ground floor. It’s almost empty when we turn up, which is a crying shame because the space is both beautiful and full of culinary treasures to be sampled.
Pull up a pew (or be directed to one) and order a selection of Tokii’s tastebud tours. The menu is ideal for sharing, with a mix of sushi, seafood, sashimi and Robata-grilled dishes awaiting you.
Expect supple fish and deliciously fresh produce – my personal favourites include yellowtail carpaccio, green peppercorn dressing (£11), scallops, celeriac puree, apple, wasabi dressing (£8) robata grilled aubergine, chilli, (£10) and assortment of 5 sashimi (£17).
As a huge sashimi fan, the latter left me impressed with its buttery textures and gorgeous presentation in a ceramic bowl filled with ice. For the vegan crowd, there’s also a number of meat-free options – with options that range refreshingly beyond the usual edamame and seaweed salads.
Breakfast is also served within Tokii’s dark panelled walls – a mix of traditional Japanese dishes, Western a la carte and a varied lineup of buffet bowls await you. Warn them in advance of any dietary requirements though, or else your toast might come slathered in butter or accompanied with cream.
The Wordrobe Verdict
The Prince Akatoki London’s 82 rooms are a luxury haven of stunningly simple design and Japanese hospitality.
Whether you need to wind down after a day in the city or reclaim your sanity after battling London’s famed shopping districts, one night here and you’ll find yourself scouring the diary for the next time you can rest your head on these regal pillows.
Make it happen
Where: 50 Great Cumberland Pl, Marble Arch, Marylebone, London W1H 7FD
Wallet: Rooms from £355 per night.
How: Click here or phone 020 7724 4700 to find out more and make a booking.
Words by Sophie Ritchie, Editor