Luxurious, design-led and decked out in sumptuous Japanese flourishes, The Prince Akatoki is just the spot to escape the chaos this Christmas.
Do you feel it yet? The frantic rush to get everything done before switching your out-of-office on. The creeping anxiety knowing you haven’t even begun to think about your Christmas shopping yet. The exhale as you add another social engagement to your diary.
The festive season is upon us once again, and while many people are excited by the idea of spending school nights stumbling out of gussied-up London boozers draped in tinsel and Santa hats, no one wants to burn out before they’ve had a chance to get stuck into the festivities.
So, to help Londoners go the distance this December, we went in search of a stylish bolthole with opulent rooms, sublime dining and soothing aesthetics to offer pause from the Christmas chaos. Enter the Prince Akatoki.
A slice of Japan in Central London
Tucked away on Great Cumberland Place, just a few minutes’ walk from Marble Arch tube station, the five-star, Japanese-inspired Georgian townhouse hotel has all the ingredients of a restful winter escape. The scent of lavender, vetiver and camomile, which the hotel has bottled into a complimentary pillow spray, and the warmth pouring from the black marble fireplace are the first things to greet you as you step in from the cold.
The plush furniture and stylish bamboo ornaments, meanwhile, look like they’ve been plucked straight from a Kyoto minka. The same could be said for the 82 guest rooms. Each one has been designed to offer a cosy hideaway from the central London bedlam outside, with soft-toned sofas, oriental tea sets and ultra-snug bathrobes creating a comforting home-away-from-home feel.
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“Each of our rooms and suites is designed with a minimal aesthetic that combines elegance, simplicity and a touch of Japanese luxury,” says Ray Goertz, general manager at the Prince Akatoki. “Every element within the hotel reflects tranquillity and minimalism, while celebrating the building itself.”
A generous midday check-out time means there’s plenty of opportunity to enjoy the queen and king-size beds, perfect for long lay-ins and Kevin McCallisterstyle trampolining (if that’s your thing). There are also walk-in showers, baths with built-in TV sets, complimentary yoga mats and toiletries from chic NYC beauty brand MALIN+GOETZ.
Elsewhere, select rooms and suites come with Japan’s renowned TOTO toilets. The self-heating seats are a welcome novelty this time of year.
Discover all day fine dining and festive afternoon tea
When it comes to fine dining, Tokii has got you covered. The ground-floor restaurant serves the greatest hits of Japanese cuisine alongside a selection of belly-warming winter favourites. Think lip-smacking teriyaki pork belly skewers with a side of truffle fries, fresh sashimi and caramelised black cod, and succulent wagyu beef with lobster croquettes.
Tokii’s Festive Afternoon Tea, meanwhile — with its smoked salmon blinis and wasabi remoulade, turkey teriyaki buns and lemon and yuzu profiteroles — is ideal for a bite to eat after you’ve tackled your Christmas shopping (Selfridges is a 10-minute walk away). Enjoy the full spread with a selection of teas or champagne from just £48 per person.
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For night-time tipples, it’s off to the Malt Lounge & Bar. An enticing cocktail menu features includes Roku Gin mixed with kumquat and Japanese lime cordial, while ‘Soy’ — a heady combo of whiskey and vermouth with malt bitters, pear cordial and clarified soya milk — proves tricky to stop at just one. And if you’re still feeling all fizzed out by the never-ending festivities, there’s an array of sakes to work your way through, as well.