With Japan firmly on the Amber list for UK dwellers, a lot of us are a long way from saying ‘kon’nichwa’ to the Land of the Rising Sun.
If you’re craving world-class sushi and delightfully minimal aesthetics (or you’re simply itching to be anywhere but London right now), head straight to The Prince Akatoki. It’s a serene haven for Japanese culture lovers tucked away near Oxford Street, Hyde Park and Mayfair.
Stepping off bustling Great Cumberland Place into the hotel’s calm entrance hall, one immediately feels at peace. Gentle music wafts through a neatly decorated working spot (perfect for freelancers) and into the reception, where super friendly staff are delighted to greet you.
Behind them sits The Malt Lounge & Bar, peddling unique whiskies, signature cocktails and a shedload of speciality Japanese sake.
TOKii restaurant is proud of its excellent sushi and sashimi selection. Start with hot stone Waygu beef, or choose from cold dishes like tuna tartar and Cornish crab mayonnaise. Shrimp tempura, Robata-grilled lamb cutlets and miso-glazed black cod are tempting, too – and tons of the dishes are available to enjoy in your room.
The restaurant is beautiful (clean lines, sexy lighting and soft, atmospheric music make it a great date spot) but once you see your lodgings, your schedule might quickly change: to staying ‘in, in’.
Much effort has been spent making every feature feel properly authentic. We adored the super roomy Sunset room, complete with a Japanese toilet (a heated loo seat and the option of a cheeky bum spritz – what’s not to love?).
Other amazing bathroom features included a vanity area, a luxurious rainfall shower, MALIN + GOETZ products, and best of all, a deep bath with a *pillow* and a flat screen TV.
Suddenly, the hotel’s incredible location near hot tourist spots seems irrelevant – it’s more fun to stay in and pretend you’re in Japan.
This charade is helped along but the provision of beautiful robes for each guest A cute set of instructions shows you how to properly wrap your new yukata (bathrobe), before popping on a pot of fresh Jing tea. There are marks of exceptional Japanese hospitality at every turn, so you feel truly looked after.
After a glorious night’s sleep in total quiet, complimentary newspapers and magazines are dropped off at your door. You can make a quick Nespresso in your room, then brave the small but mighty gym space just along the corridor. There are several machines and a good range of weights tucked into a cavernous basement area, but the free apple juice is reason enough to check it out.
Lazier types (hello, friends) will be more interested in the breakfast options. There’s a buffet off fabulously flaky pastries, meats, yoghurts and the like, or you can order a cooked breakfast with all the usual suspects (the sausages are particularly tasty). If you’re keen to continue the ‘holiday’, the Japanese breakfast shouldn’t be missed. Start with a warming miso soup, moving on to a tasty tamago omelette, rice, steamed vegetables, grilled salmon and egg tofu.
Then I suppose, it’s time to head touch back down in London. Or, stretch out the experience even further, with a flower or sushi masterclass before you go. If you’re hankering for a cultural reset, we can’t recommend The Prince Akatoki enough – its name refers to a sunrise, and staying here really does feel like a new beginning.