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The Langham, LondonOctober 1, 2009 By: Mary Winston Nicklin Travel Agent
|A Grand junior Suite has its own lounge area ideal for relaxing.|
The Langham, London is back. Europe’s first Grand Hotel and the flagship of Langham Hotels International has unveiled the fruits of its painstaking five-year renovation, and we’ve got the scoop.
What did we think of the $130 million makeover? In one word: dazzling. Walking through the entrance (charmed by the bellmen), we were struck by the jeweled, cast-iron gates leading to Palm Court, fabled to be where the Afternoon Tea tradition began. Guests can still enjoy this classic experience with bespoke Langham Tea Blends, or choose to partake in the Bijoux Tea, showcasing pastry selections inspired by jewelry collections.
Baccarat crystal drops and Cartier Love Collection cookies are paired with Cornish crab and avocado, foie gras and passion fruit, and cream cheese and truffle sandwiches.
Top Tip: Palm Court now has the 18.65 Champagne Hour, paying homage to the hotel’s birth year. At 1865 hours (or five past seven), guests can relax with a complimentary soupçon of Champagne with canapés.
The redesign by Richmond International allows a flood of natural light to fill the hotel, bouncing off the white marble floors and high ceilings. The reorientation of the reception desk in the lobby means that your clients are now afforded sweeping views down Portland Place toward Regent’s Park through the original bay windows. Hanging from above, the chandeliers—custom-designed from hand-blown Murano glass—are works of art in their own right. The paintings and prints of London scenes in the corridors firmly plant the hotel in its British setting.
The Langham’s refurbishment coincides with the appointment of the new managing director, Katie Benson—who has also been named regional vice president, Europe and North America, for Langham Hotels International. Benson previously was the managing director at The Langham, Hong Kong and Melbourne.
On the guest room overhaul: Most were completely torn down, and, in some cases, two rooms were combined to create bigger rooms. The tally, now, is 380 guest rooms and suites, designed in five different schemes with color palettes inspired by precious stones (jade, topaz, amethyst, ruby). In all, the feel is of a period English residence, elegant yet comfortable, fitted with all the latest technology. All rooms have the signature Langham Blissful Bed, custom-designed for the perfect night’s sleep, and a noted touch: electrical outlets able to accommodate U.S, Europe and UK plugs.
For the best views, book rooms on the top (ninth) floor. We checked out Grand Junior Suite No. 921 and gazed out over to the London Eye, House of Parliament and Big Ben. We liked the Grand One-Bedroom Suite category—these suites are on the ninth floor and distinct because of their separation between the reception room and bedroom by a small foyer. For maximum luxury, the Infinity Suite is the crème de la crème. You’d think that these top digs were named for the limitless sense of space, as the two-bedroom suite sprawls over an area of 2,540 square feet. The suite’s name is actually derived from the deep infinity bath located in the master bedroom’s ensuite bathroom. The water moves through a spectrum of eight colors, from relaxing to stimulating, while gentle jets of bubbles provide a therapeutic massage. Contact Head Concierge Rashid Ali ([email protected]; 011-44-207-636-1000) for any additional needs of your clients.
|The Hotel Pool is located in a former bank vault.|
Since the hotel’s grand opening in 1865 (with the Prince of Wales presiding), a slew of distinguished personalities have passed through the lobby doors. Notably, the guest list features literati such as Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Oscar Wilde, Mark Twain, Somerset Maugham and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who chose The Langham as a setting for many of his Sherlock Holmes stories. Because of this connection to the literary world, The Langham has launched a new service for guests: a Book Butler who pre-selects classic reading material based on individual reading preferences. Your clients will find books awaiting in-room upon request.
Present-day celebrity guests include Simon Cowell, Barry Humphries and Ewan Mcgregor. For your own VIP reservations, contact Reservations Manager Jenny Watkins ([email protected]; 011-44-207-973-7504).
Note: The Langham, London caters as much to business clients as it does to leisure travelers. The adjacent Langham House has a business center and multiple conference/meeting rooms of all sizes. Though seamlessly connected to the hotel, Langham House also has a separate entrance.
Quite a fuss has been made over The Landau, the chic restaurant designed by the star designers at David Collins Studio, since its debut at the end of 2007. Taking its name from the carriage that carried The Prince of Wales to the hotel’s opening, the restaurant echoes this theme with horse statues above the door and napkins and glasses emblazoned with a horse logo. Before sitting down to a meal prepared with the best British ingredients (highlighting chef Andrew Turner’s partnership with local producers), your clients will pass through a vaulted wine corridor, where they can browse through rare and unusual wines from around the world.
Since the restaurant is such a destination hotspot, consider making reservations as far in advance as possible. Contact Restaurant Manager Franco Becci (011-44-207-965-0165), who worked for many years at The Savoy under the legendary maître d’hôtel, Angelo Maresca.
The David Collins-designed Artesian Bar is likewise glamorous, decked out with lilac leather seats, a marble bar and timber chandeliers. Artesian specializes in rum with 70 different varieties, including Artesian’s own label, sourced from Guyana and Panama. Cool Factor: The Cocktail Grazing menu allows for small tastings of the bar’s many concoctions. Even the ice is “cooler” here, created with the latest technology to be denser and colder, and thereby not diluting the drinks.
Buzz: The Langham, London will open its new luxury spa in early 2010, the first European outlet for the brand’s Chuan Spa.
|The Infinity Suite gets its name from the deep infinity tub in the bathroom; it overlooks All Souls Church.|