You’d never know that a huge Georgian townhouse was hiding a sleek East Asian-styled hotel. From the outside, The Prince Akatoki looks like any other building in Marylebone… but once you’re in, it’s a different story. A calming retreat just moments from the hectic crowds of Oxford Street, this is one that goes beyond its Instagrammable interiors.
Formerly known as The Arch London, The Prince Akatoki is spread across seven houses, where beige tones, moody hallways, and ribbed walls set the tone for a tranquil weekend. Japanese minimalism anchors the aesthetic, ironically only moments away from Nobu Hotel’s rival Portman Square outpost, though things are much more covert here. Checking in on a Saturday, we made ourselves at home in a studio suite (£1,000 per night). Roomy, yet cosy at the same time, our spacious abode featured a lounge area, a Japanese tea set, kimono robes, and views out onto Great Cumberland Place. Then there was the bathroom with its high-tech toilet and television in the bathtub. Getting dolled up for dinner was quite the experience.
The hotel has an intimate feel, from the rooms to the restaurant. Spotlighting Japanese cuisine, Tokii is a sexy addition to this retreat, fusing black panelling and wooden tables with warm up-lighters and cosy booths. Armed with a glass of peach-tinged sparkling sake, we delved through the menu. Highlights included the chef’s selection of melt-in-the-mouth sashimi (£28 for 6 pieces), buttermilk fried chicken (£8) and beef fillet tataki (£18); fresh, delicate and beautifully presented.
As big whisky fans, my husband and I were surprised to discover a new favourite bar in the form of The Malt. Hidden away down a hallway, the cocktail joint touts a stunning selection of minimalist drinks, with hip-hop tunes providing the soundtrack for dates, mates and even client meetings. My husband’s Soy (£18) was a sharp blend of Rebel Yell rye whiskey, Mancino Rosso Amaranto vermouth, house bitters, nashi pear cordial and clarified soya milk. Garnished with a half-moon sesame seed crisp my aptly named Sesame (£16) combined two types of whisky with Angostura bitters, plus a sesame oil and syrup for a nutty nightcap.
There's nothing quite like waking up in a hotel, knowing that you won't have to do the washing up or make the bed. I loved that breakfast went until 11am, meaning lazy Londoners like us can make the most of a lie-in before midday check out. However, the prices are pretty steep, with an English breakfast clocking in at £30 and the Akatoki breakfast at £32. Granted, both included the continental buffet, but the options were sparse and rarely replenished. The traditional plate was tiny, and my bento-style featured lukewarm soup, stone-cold tofu and far too much rice. Topped off with a watery matcha latte, we were quite disappointed. My tip? Ditch brekky and wait for The Prince Akatoki’s afternoon tea.
After popping out for some shopping and activities, we came back to The Malt where a Japanese musician was playing the traditional string koto. Options include L&Co tea (£48 per person) or sparkling sake pairing (£66 per person) – naturally we opted with a sake for each layer. Circular stands were doing the rounds, laden with everything from sushi and sandos to matcha cakes and strawberry-topped meringues. That's one way to end a weekend.
The DesignMyNight Digest
You'd easily forget that you're in the heart of Central London at this calming hotel. The Prince Akatoki certainly isn't the place for a cheap stay, but this is one for those of you looking to splash out on a stay that promises Japanese flair and equally as impressive food. Even if you aren't staying, The Malt and Tokii are well worth a visit, just skip the breakfast and make a beeline for afternoon tea.
💰 The damage: rooms start from approx. £400.
📍 The location: 50 Great Cumberland Place, Marble Arch, W1H 7FD.
👌 Perfect for: an East Asian-style retreat in Central London.
⭐ Need to know: make time for Japanese cocktails and afternoon tea.
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