In the heart of Marylebone, The Arch London, an iconic luxury hotel, has been transformed to usher in a new era of Japanese hospitality. It has become the newest property of StayWell Holdings’ global brand Prince Hotels, which underwent a multi-million-pound refurbishment, and opened its doors today as The Prince Akatoki London.
In this exclusive interview, TD speaks with president and director Simon Wan, about the hotel’s major transformation, the true Japanese experience and what’s in store for StayWell Holdings.
TD: Congratulations! Could you tell us more about the magnitude of the transformation? What changes are you most proud of?
SW: In today’s travel landscape, the expectations that guests have of hotel providers has evolved. It’s no longer about simply giving them a room to stay in — but about providing them with an experience that exceeds their travel expectations!
More than ever, travellers are seeking personalised, experience-lead services with an emphasis on individuals. This is a demand I am very proud to be meeting with an all-new, unique guest experience that is The Prince Akatoki brand, starting with the launch of The Prince Akatoki London in Marylebone.
Not only has the name of this property changed (from The Arch London), but the entire hotel has gone through a refurbishment and has been redesigned and reimagined receiving a totally new look and feel.
TD: How would you describe the experience at the hotel?
SW: The standout characteristic of The Prince Akatoki’s global hotels will be the use of the Japanese art of “service from the heart” or “absolute genuine hospitality”, alongside attention to detail and understated luxury.
The Prince Akatoki brand will offer an authentic, luxurious, 5-star Japanese experience to guests as they travel to international destinations outside of Japan. The Prince Akatoki London will bring the best of Japanese hospitality and culture to create a sanctuary, a place for people to relax and recharge, and will take pride in a strong focus on attention to detail and sense of mindfulness when caring for guests. It invites guests to close the door on the hustle and bustle of Marylebone and embrace the luxurious sophistication of The Prince Akatoki – a true sanctuary for renewal.
“A true sanctuary for renewal”
Our rooms are beautifully designed with a minimal aesthetic, natural elements, luxury fabrics and colours that have you feeling calm, tranquil and enriched. Here, guests can enjoy winding down with an extensive range of premium, curated amenities for maximum relaxation, including bathrooms with luxurious rain showers, before closing their day in plush beds to offer the ultimate sense of comfort.
In the past, a number of hotels have been built for the Japanese, however, there was a gap in the market for hotels designed by the Japanese. The distinction between the two is that The Prince Akatoki brand comprises hotels designed by the Japanese is for all tourists internationally to appreciate the elegance, art, ritual, food and unique Japanese hospitality.
TD: How about the experience outside the hotel — could you describe the atmosphere in the heart of London? What are the attractions nearby?
SW: The Prince Akatoki London is ideally located in the heart of a luxurious sanctuary, surrounded by some of central London’s most iconic attractions, sights and sounds. The area itself is full of character, with streets lined with speciality boutiques and Georgian homes, with the hotel also located just a short distance from the popular attractions of the impressive Marble Arch, Hyde Park – one of the greatest city parks in the world, spanning 142 hectares (350 acres), and the gourmet restaurants and world-famous retailers within the affluent district of Mayfair, including Europe’s busiest shopping Oxford Street.
TD: What can we expect from Prince Hotels?
SW: Continued global expansion will be the focus of Prince Hotels. The future is looking very bright for the brand, with plans for a strategic, exciting expansion plan.
While London will have the pleasure of hosting the very first hotel under The Prince Akatoki brand, work is already in progress in other parts of the world, with The Prince Akatoki Guangzhou set to open in early 2020.
“In key getaway cities around the globe”
Our aim is to have at least 20 Prince Akatoki hotels in key getaway cities around the globe in five years. In addition to The Prince Akatoki London, we have also identified New York, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Singapore, Shanghai and Mumbai as key targets, as they are high-traffic destinations who appreciate 5-star luxury experiences when booking a hotel.
As well as the launch and subsequent global expansion of The Prince Akatoki, we will also increase StayWell Holdings’ presence of our flagship three and four-star brands to reach a total expansion of more than 70 new hotels globally.