Wafting into the Langham London is akin to attending a high society wedding; complete with elaborate rose floral displays in the lobby which lend a reassuringly fragrant note to your arrival, and a charming troupe of doormen wearing grey morning suits and pink rosebud buttonholes who will whisk your luggage away before you can say ‘Jack Flash’. You’ll find touches of the signature Langham pink throughout the hotel, from the pens and notepads in your room to limited edition Wellington boots, created exclusively by Hunter for guests to purchase for rainy days when wanting to recall their time at one of the best hotels in the world.
Nor does the attention to detail end there thanks to the hotel’s third floor Club Lounge offering the most appealing private hotel check-in you’re likely to come across. Delivering a more personalised and relaxed service, plus an exclusive butler and specialist concierge, this exclusive space (for guests staying in an Executive room or above) encompasses a smart business area to meet every highfalutin traveller’s needs, a fully-equipped events space which can be set-up as a screening room or boardroom, a marble bar area entitled The Butler’s Pantry, designed for a quick espresso, and a lounge sleeker than you’ll find when taking a first class flight.
Club Lounge access entitles you to unlimited complimentary beverages, including cocktails and Champagne, so no wonder we weren’t in any hurry to see our room. Breakfast can be taken at the Club for those who prefer the exclusivity, while the daily informal afternoon buffet of Roux pastries and traditional scones with clotted cream and jam is a delight not to be missed, so to the canapés served from 5-8pm – the perfect way to commence your gourmet Langham experience before heading downstairs to one of the restaurants.
Opened by the future Edward VII in 1865, The Langham was the largest and most luxurious hotel in Victorian London, featuring a hundred water closets, thirty-six bathrooms and the first hydraulic lifts in England, conveniences we certainly take for granted nowadays and making me wonder what guests at the time would have made of having a mini-bar and coffee-maker, let alone a telephone with which to summons any number of staff to do their bidding. Located just off Regent Street, over the years the hotel has hosted everyone from Oscar Wilde and Winston Churchill to Princess Diana, and continues to attract royalty, dignitaries, celebrities and media hotshots visiting the BBC just opposite, who were thankfully unsuccessful on applying to demolish the iconic building and replace it with an office development in 1980. Now belonging to the international Langham Hotels & Resorts collection, a miraculous, multi-million transformation, costing somewhere in the region of £80 million, has elevated The Langham London from a staid Victorian grand dame to a state-of-the art five star hotel with a glamorous spa to rival any wellness retreat in the capital.
You need only glimpse the encyclopaedia that is the in-room dining menu to see how much the hotel has furthered their long-standing reputation for fine cuisine, offering a whole host of food styles that will entice you to stay put; Michel Roux Jr’s acclaimed fine dining restaurant, Roux at the Landau; ‘Afternoon Tea with Wedgewood’ in the elegant Palm Court (where this popular English tradition has been held since 1865); to the SNAX tapas-inspired concept and breathtakingly innovative cocktails at the glamorous Artesian, named after the 360ft-deep well under the hotel. A destination in its own right, having won the coveted ‘World’s Best Bar’ accolade, even the ice at Artesian is produced using a technology that ensures it lasts longer and keeps cocktails colder. That’s bar nuts.
At the other end of the spectrum, but no less impressive, is the hotel’s very own pub, The Wigmore, serving wine on tap, gin punch cocktails and ale in pewter tankards, alongside quirky interpretations of hearty British fare and bar snacks (also overseen by Michel Roux Jr); a Masala spiced scotch egg with a perfectly runny yolk and a dahl relish turning a much-maligned picnic food into something exciting by conjures up flavours of the Raj. The epic XXL stovetop 3 cheese & mustard toastie is meanwhile presented to the table with a cast iron bacon press to ensure the cheese remains molten until it reaches its final destination. A former banking hall, redesigned by Martin Brudnizki, if Her Majesty The Queen wanted a night down the boozer she’d surely pop here.
The aforementioned Roux at the Landau is the ultimate grand brasserie setting, boasting high ceilings and chandeliers, a recently-installed central counter serving more informal dishes alongside prime seafood and charcuterie, a treasure-trove cheese cabinet, and an exceptional wine list with 525 wines available by the glass. A starter of creel-caught langoustines, hand-made scialatielli and saffron emulsion was nothing short of impeccable, while the Buccleuch beef fillet accompanied by ceps, a bone marrow croquette and Bercy sauce upheld the Roux reputation for technique and precision. A finale of Grand Marnier soufflé, muscovado and orange ice cream is a culinary dream one never wants to awaken from, which pretty much sums up staying at The Langham.
The Langham Hotel, 1C Portland Pl, Marylebone, London W1B 1JA. Prices start from £700 for an Executive Room including Club Lounge access. For more information and reservations please visit the hotel’s website, or call 44 (0) 20 7636 1000. For dining reservations see Roux at the Landau.