The Prince Akatoki, Marble Arch, London

The Prince Akatoki, Marble Arch, London

Flawless Japanese hospitality – and impeccably minimalist interiors – await at this sanctuary stay hidden within a London townhouse

initial judgments when we say that the most memorable
part of our stay at The Prince Akatoki was the smell (and we mean
it as a compliment). Woody, warm and all-enveloping, the signature
fragrance (a combination of juniper, bergamot and five other notes)
is regularly spritzed into the lobby, the corridors, the restaurant
and rooms of this understated
London hotel

A first foray into Europe by the vast Japanese hospitality
company Prince Hotels, the sophisticated five-star pad opened in
2019, transforming a terrace of Georgian townhouses into a
Tokyo-worthy design hotel with two leading tenets: mindfulness and
minimalism. The smell? It’s just one small thing the team behind
The Akatoki hope will leave guests breathing a little deeper after
their stay.

Prince Akatoki, Marble Arch, London
Prince Akatoki, Marble Arch, London

Pared-back, Japanese-influenced interiors are luxurious but

Despite having been open for a few years, the hotel has remained
under-the-radar. It’s a sanctuary of sorts – a chilled-out bubble
tucked into central London’s hullabaloo; a detox for the senses.
Inside, Japanese minimalism has been turned up to the max: the
lobby blends into one calming blonde-wood blur. Rooms are designed
to soothe, offering yoga mats, chamomile tea, complimentary pillow
sprays and – in the bathrooms – detachable bath cushions for tired
heads. Colours are mellow, clean lines abundant and, throughout the
property, that soft, sweet, omnipresent fragrance gilds the air. If
you’re seeking a taste of London’s characterful chaos, this isn’t
it. But if an escape from the city’s electricity is needed, The
Prince Akatoki delivers.


The hotel’s 82 rooms and suites offer flawless minimalism.
Forget the elementary efforts of Muji and its ilk; this pared-back
Japanese pad feels loftily luxurious in its impeccable simplicity.
Blonde-wood, clean-lined furnishings, warm lighting and unadorned,
latte-hued walls inspire a sense of mindfulness and calm that we’ve
not felt since enjoying a mini digital detox (something you might
want to consider trying when staying, despite the Shinkansen-speed
WiFi). Some original Georgian features have been incorporated into
the design to soften the starkness, so you’ll spot airy sash
windows and, above some beds, traditional crown moulding and
cornicing. We loved the softly lit Japanese-style screens behind
the bed printed with blushing Fujisan silhouettes. Akatoki means
“daybreak”, so the wash of peach-pink dawn colour felt fitting.

Prince Akatoki, Marble Arch, London
Prince Akatoki, Marble Arch, London

The Dawn Suite, left, and Marylebone views.

All rooms have yoga mats in the wardrobes, Japanese tea sets,
Nespresso machines and large TVs. Soft drinks in the mini-fridge,
including Pago fruit juices, are complimentary, but the Sapporo
bottles will cost extra. Fluffy robes are to be left in the
bathrooms – wide-sleeved, traditional yukata gowns are provided for

Bathrooms are vast. Japanese toilet aficionados can rejoice: all
have Toto models installed, complete with gently warmed seats,
bidet functions and air-drying capabilities. You can also look
forward to rainfall showers, baths fit for three (with TVs in the
wall), and fragrant Malin+Goetz toiletries.

What’s for breakfast?

An east-meets-west offering. Opt for the standard buffet – eggs
however you want them, porridge and pastries – or a traditional
Japanese breakfast of rolled omelette, steamed vegetables, a flaky
grilled salmon fillet, egg tofu, and hijiki salad, all served in
beautifully glazed ceramics on a table-filling tray.

Lunch and dinner?

Head back to TOKii, where you had breakfast. Though a touch
austere, with minimalist shoji screens and dark-wood tables, the
pre-theatre feel only emphasises the limelight-stealing elegance of
the Japanese-influenced dishes on show.

The robata grill – sizzling with wagyu cuts – is the
restaurant’s speciality, but there’s plenty more to explore on an
expansive menu that tries to be strictly Japanese but sometimes
forgets its mission (truffle fries, anyone?). Start with salted
edamame, teriyaki-style pork belly skewers and Japanese pickled
vegetables, before moving onto the likes of caramelised black cod,
robata-grilled aubergine and generous fans of fatty tuna

Is there a bar?

The Malt Lounge and Bar, a wood-panelled izakaya-influenced
drinking den. Pretend you’re the protagonist of Tokyo Vice and
order in the Japanese whisky flight for a nightcap, or pick one of
the minimalistic cocktails from the beautifully illustrated menu
for something a little more Lost in Translation. A sparing number
of Japanese ingredients are included in each drink, to better
showcase their flavours. We ordered the refreshing shiso, a long
drink of rum, sake syrup, fresh grapefruit and lime juice and
shiso-infused soda.


Limited. The hotel is restricted on this front by its Georgian
shell. The small 24-hour gym is furnished with cardio equipment and
free weights.

What are the hotel’s eco-credentials like?

Toiletries are mini and there was a touch too much single-use
plastic for our liking.

What about accessibility?

A number of rooms are adapted for accessibility and there is
step-free access to the lobby.

What’s the crowd like?

Cashmere-draped, silver-haired couples visiting the capital and
multi-national families waiting for the Marylebone townhouse works
to be completed. Kids are welcome, but the ambience is a touch
grown-up for wilder ones.

Within a short walk I can find…

Great Cumberland Place, where The Akatoki sits, is a sleepy
relic of Georgian London tucked behind the icky end of Oxford
Street, but the road is bookended by some of London’s best
neighbourhoods. We’d forgotten how compact this part of London is.
Wander the Serpentine in Hyde Park, stroll across to the
restaurants and shopping opportunities of Marylebone, or jump on
the central line at Marble Arch to explore the rest of the

Hot tip, if you stumble back to the hotel late: a two-minute
walk down Upper Berkeley Street will lead you to one of London’s
best Middle Eastern food halls, Green Valley, where chin-drippingly juicy
shawarma wraps and lip-burningly hot kibbeh are available until

Things I should know

Those enamoured by their night in a yukata robe can buy one from
reception. The signature scent is also available. Cue, liberal
spritzing around our flat.

The Lowdown

Doubles cost from £388 a night.

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