“Anything is possible”, explained our breakfast host when we asked for a hot chocolate made of soya milk. This really sums up the commitment to exceptional hospitality at The Langham, London, one of the UK’s most renowned five-star hotels.
Located a stone’s throw away from Oxford Street, one of the Capital’s busiest shopping thoroughfares, the architecture of the 149 year-old building is truly beautiful both inside and out. Refurbished in 2009 at a cost of £80 million, the property features 380 bedrooms and suites, two restaurants, a luxury spa, and the historic Grand Ballroom, amongst other amenities.
We stayed in one of the Grand Langham Rooms, the hotel’s largest bedrooms (excluding the suites), which translate as a 452 ft² / 42 m² haven of luxury. They boast a king sized bed, a lounge area with soft seating and a writing desk, a well-stocked mini-bar, an MP3 player, a 42-inch flatscreen TV and a double wardrobe housing soft white dressing gowns and slippers featuring the gold Langham logo. Staying on the seventh floor, the large windows look out on to a fabulous vista of the London skyline where you are able to see a number of the city’s main landmarks.
Furnished in black marble, the ensuite bathroom is just as opulent and spacious. There is a separate bath and walk-in shower which are lined with a large selection of toiletries and accessories created for The Langham and the Chuan Spa. Furthermore, wall-mounted volume controls mean that you can carry on listening to the TV or radio even when carrying out your daily ablutions.
Every evening, there is a turndown service which sees complementary chocolates placed on the bed, bottles of water on the bedside table, the curtains closed and some of the lamps illuminated. If you miss it, a note will be placed under your door so that you can re-arrange it at a convenient time; another example of this property’s dedication to providing the highest level of service.
The Langham’s flagship eatery is the oval-shaped, 90-cover Roux at The Landau which brings together the legendary expertise of father and son, Albert and Michel Roux, for the first time in 19 years. It offers a relaxing and sophisticated ambiance where diners can enjoy either a tasting menu of contemporary European cuisine or a concise choice of around seven dishes per course for those preferring to go à la carte. Choosing the latter, I started the meal with a substantial serving of thickly cut smoked salmon decorated with a finely cut toast as well as a light cream sauce. My guest opted for asparagus accompanied by sundried tomatoes and garnished with little edible flowers and beetroot salad leaves. Complemented by a 2013 Isabel Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, this was a great opening chapter to the meal.
For the main, I tried the grilled Dover Sole which simply glided off the bone with ease and was also sumptuous in texture. Joined by a selection of buttered potatoes, wilted spinach and a glass of very light and fruity 2012 Domaine Laroche Chablis Saint Martin, I was in heaven – it was simply divine. My partner chose the equally impressive Windermere lamb saddle with homemade merguez and courgettes which sat on a bed of quinoa, sultanas and thinly-sliced courgette and was nicely paired with a rich and spicy 2009 Crianza Rioja.
With just about enough room left for dessert, and although very tempted by the eatery’s selection of French and British artisan cheeses, I headed straight for the Madagascan crème brulee with fresh palmiers, whereas my companion went for a more refreshing choice in the form of fresh fruit with sorbet. As if this wasn’t enough, we were served mint tea with a beautiful selection of jellies and finely chopped pieces of apricot and strawberry which sat on beautiful china canapé spoons. The service throughout our dinner was nothing short of immaculate and the staff were always very pleased to accommodate dietary requirements or look into alternatives to what was written on the menu.
For those in search of an after dinner night cap at The Langham, there is the very lively ‘Artesian’ bar which is situated adjacent to the main lobby area. This establishment offers a comprehensive menu of classic and imaginative cocktails as well as a collection of over 70 different rums.
Come the morning, and there is a choice of two restaurants for breakfast – The Palm Court, or once again, Roux at the Landau. The former, which is also used for The Langham’s legendary afternoon tea, is orientated around a small buffet tempting guests with everything from freshly baked Viennoiserie and pancakes to cheeses, meats and fruit. Although there is a central buffet, The Roux at the Landau is more geared around an à la carte menu where we tried smoked salmon and poached eggs, as well as pancakes accompanied by summer fruits. Either venues set you up perfectly for the day ahead and our hosts were once again extremely attentive and flexible with our culinary preferences.
For guests who do not wish to leave the confines of their room or suite, there are a number of options for in-room breakfast, starting from the ‘Express’ costing £13.50 and going up to the more hearty ‘Champagne Breakfast’ (around £57) which comes complete with half a bottle of Laurent-Perrier bubbly.
For some added rest and relaxation after being treated to The Langham’s wonderful gastronomy, visitors to the hotel can equally take advantage of the Chuan Spa’s peaceful surroundings (‘Chuan’ means flowing water in Chinese). It is London’s first hotel spa to incorporate the ancient principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) within its long list of treatments. My partner tried the one-hour full body oil harmony massage which incorporates the use of hot beads, sponges and rollers with a uniquely selected mix of aromas. Costing from £90+VAT, it can be tailored to the customer’s desires and is designed to induce a deep feeling of calm and to stimulate a sense of wellbeing and relaxation. This was certainly achieved as my partner emerged in a sleepy like state such was the effectiveness of the session. Back in the spa’s stunning foyer, she was then treated to some green tea and a selection of fresh summer berries and grapes to round-off the amazing experience.
In addition, the Chuan Spa houses a fitness centre, a 16-metre indoor swimming pool (formerly a large bank vault and located in the sub-basement), a heated vitality pool and Himalayan salt sauna.
The Langham, London is undoubtedly one of the greatest hotels in the UK, and for those wishing to sample the city’s hustle and bustle, but at the same time, desire some tranquility and exquisite food, then this is definitely the place to be.
To find out more or to make a booking, visit london.langhamhotels.co.uk.
By Simon Wittenberg MIOJ