The Prince Akatoki

Bringing the best of Japan to the rest of the world

Capturing tranquillity

The Prince Hotel Group are the experts in hospitality—it’s what they’ve been practicing in Japan for more than 50 years. So when they partnered with Staywell to bring their unique style of luxury hotels to the rest of the world, they needed a new concept for a brand that took the very best of Japan and fused it with local cultures across the globe.

Introducing The Prince Akatoki. Aimed at high-end travellers looking to escape the chaotic pace of modern life. Incorporating a minimal aesthetic, the promotion of mindfulness, a spotlight on craftsmanship, and a meticulous attention to detail — we were inspired not only by Japan, but a Japanese way of life. And because The Prince Akatoki was created with fusion in mind, it doesn’t feel out of place in London, Paris or New York.

Starting with a strategy that spoke to a unique brand proposition — to exemplify Japan’s unique sophistication and hospitality to the world — we were tasked with developing a name, visual identity, and design system that reflects our modern take on Japanese tradition.

To the land of the rising sun

Japan has no shortage of inspiration. To find what we needed to share with the world, we travelled across the country. We watched the sun rise over big cities and Mount Fuji, met artisans, experts and craftspeople, and experienced deep-rooted traditions blended with dazzling modernity.

The name Akatoki comes from an ancient Japanese word for dawn. It captures the optimism and positivity for the day ahead. As the sun comes up each morning, guests at The Prince Akatoki will wake up relaxed, rejuvenated, and ready for the possibilities of the day ahead.

We call this feeling Poetry at Dawn. It is the idea that drives every detail in the brand experience; from the logo, an identity inspired by the colours of sunrise, to a guest experience that emphasises the best ways to start your day.

The Prince Akatoki design system is a modern interpretation of traditional Japanese fusuma panels. These sliding doors can open or close to redefine the purpose of a room, or they can create intriguing patterns and layers. It is an endlessly flexible system that creates structure for text, acts as a container for imagery, comes alive in motion, and physically divides spaces throughout the hotel.

Creating a world of calm

Any hotel’s success lies in the experience, so we went beyond just the concept. Based on our time in Japan, shadowing the staff and learning about their unique style of hospitality from the heart, we developed a customer experience handbook for The Prince Akatoki team.

We made interior design guidelines that embeds the brand’s principles into every built space. And we worked with illustrators, haiku masters, and craftspeople to create unique pieces of art.

The very first hotel will debut in London in September, followed by a newly built property in Guangzhou, Southern China. And there are plans to expand to 25 cities the world over.

Media Response

If you want to know more about this project, we would be happy to talk