Today (November 18, 2015): Review of The Langham London Hotel (UK).
- Location: Google Maps
- Hotel website: The Langham London
- Tip: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso
Renowned for its impeccable service, The Langham London was Europe’s first “Grand Hotel” and continues to reign from the British capital’s West End. The hotel is located on Regent Street, one of the city’s premier locations and shopping districts. For 150 years, the legendary hotel has enchanted royalty, dignitaries, and celebrities with its 380 elegantly appointed rooms and suites that evoke a welcoming, residential ambience. The hotel also offers world-class dining and wellness facilities, and is famed as the place where the tradition of afternoon tea was born.
The Langham London features in my top 10 list of the best luxury hotels in London.
In this review (more info below my Youtube clip & slideshow):
- Pros & things I like
- Cons & things to know
- My verdict
- Tips for future guests & save money
- Best time to visit
- How to get there
PROS & THINGS I LIKE
- The hotel holds some of the most desirable real estate in London: it is located in an elegant mansion that occupies an entire city block on Regent Street in the British capital’s world-renowned West End neighborhood. It’s the perfect base from which to explore the shopping in Regent Street, Bond Street, and Oxford Street, as well as cultural attractions such as The British Museum. The Oxford Circus Underground is only a 5-min walk from the hotel, so it’s very easy to get from the property to other city quarters.
- When you enter the hotel through the revolving doors and up the marble staircase, you walk into an incredible 150 years of history. The hotel opened in 1865 and immediately became London’s first purpose-built ‘Grand Hotel’, enchanting Victorian high society with comforts and luxuries which far exceeded their expectations. At the time, electric lights, hydraulic lifts, air conditioning, and other extraordinary innovations revolutionised the luxury hotel experience. No surprise that it was – and still is – the favoured venue for royalty, artists, and musicians from around the world. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Charles Dickens, and HRH Diana, Princess of Wales, were regular visitors of the hotel.
- The hotel’s grand lobby, with its pink marble, impressive flower displays, and high ceilings, is very elegant. The reception and concierge desks are located in a separate room to the right of the main lobby, while two elegant Victorian staircases (or more modern elevators) take guests to their rooms located in the different wings of the hotels.
- When you step into the lobby, you are greeted by The Langham Hotel Group’s ginger signature scent, a refreshing, serene and subtle essence of ginger flower. The delicate aroma, which is dispersed through the air-conditioning systems, is a very nice and unique touch, and it immediately reminded me of my previous stays at other Langham hotels (such as The Langham Chicago and The Langham New York).
- The 380 elegantly appointed rooms and suites evoke a welcoming, residential ambience, while offering the conveniences of today. The hotel has nine room categories to choose from. During my visit to The Langham London, I stayed in a lovely Grand Executive Room, located on the corner of the building on the 4th floor, overlooking Regent Street. Part of the newly refurbished and exclusive Regent Wing, Grand Executive Rooms capture the essence of the Regency period, with historic detailing, an eclectic mix of artwork, and some striking purple colour touches. The ultra-comfortable, king-sized bed was by far one of the best and largest beds that I have ever slept in. For the ultimate convenience of the chic shopper, Grand Executive Rooms also offer a rare feature: a private door with immediate access to the top of Regent Street.
- When you book a Langham Club room or suite, you will get exclusive access to the fantastic, brand new Langham Club Lounge and its wide range of all-day privileges. The lounge is spread across two floors and features a modern and bright design. The Langham London is currently the only 5 star property in London to feature a Club concept, offering appointed butler service, private check-in and departure services, continental and hot breakfast selection, early evening bar service (with tapas), a sampling of afternoon tea, and 2 hours complimentary use of The Langham Club boardroom & media room.
- WiFi is complimentary, as long as you book your room online through the official Langham website or via a travel agency such as Virtuoso.
- One of the most impressive features of the hotel is found in the basement: a lavish underground wellness and health sanctuary. The Chuan Spa has six private treatment rooms, and its traditional chinese medicine inspired treatments are designed to rebalance and revitalize the body and soul. During my visit, I had a fitness massage which was excellent. The Chuan Health Club is a fully equipped fitness centre with first-rate technogym cardio and resistance equipment, free weights steam rooms, salt sauna, vitality pool and a 16-metre (53 feet) swimming pool, built into what used to be a bank vault in the depths of the building.
- The hotel’s signature, Michelin starred restaurant, Roux at the Landau, is one of London’s most exquisite and celebrated fine dining venues. The cuisine features a modern interpretation of classic French cooking from father and son chefs Albert and Michel Roux Jr. I had dinner at the restaurant during my stay and the presentation and taste of the food far exceeded my already very high expectations. Highly recommended!
- The hotel’s chic and glamorous bar, Artesian, conjures up classic and innovative cocktails, and has received the coveted “world’s best bar” accolade (as voted for by Drinks International). The bar is named after the 360ft-deep artesian well under the hotel and specialises in exclusive rum creations.
- One of the highlights of the hotel is the art deco inspired Palm Court, which connects to the majestic lobby. This dazzling salon, with its high ceilings and 3 massive entrance gates, is famed as the place where the tradition of afternoon tea was born over 150 years ago, an indulgence that lives on today as ‘Tiffin at The Langham’.
- While still very expensive, The Langham’s room rates are consistently cheaper as compared to London’s other top-end hotels.
- The staff and (oriental inspired) service at this hotel is beyond excellent. From the maids to concierge to the management, everyone goes the extra mile to make you feel very welcome and comfortable.
CONS & THINGS TO KNOW
For 150 years, The Langham London has enchanted its guests and continues to reign London’s hotel scene from its coveted West End address. It’s hard to fault the hotel since it offers an excellent experience and I highly recommend it. Nevertheless, there are some things you need to know:
- This is one of London’s greatest but also oldest hotels. While the lobby, communal areas, lounge, bars and restaurants all feature an updated decor with a contemporary elegance, some of the rooms may feel a bit old-fashioned. The good news is that the hotel is in the process of updating its guestrooms and last spring, it already opened the Regent wing, with over forty renovated guestrooms and suites, designed by Richmond International. These are currently the hotel’s best accommodations, with classic elements merging with modern touches.
- While I loved my refurbished Regent wing room, I found the bathroom to be a little underwhelming (especially compared to the Langham’s other top properties in New York, Hong Kong and Chicago). The decor somehow felt dated, with an old-fashioned green floor, one sink, an uninviting tub and disappointingly small shower (without rain shower). The dated decor of the bathroom contrasted sharply with the bright, updated design of the room.
- There’s only a limited amount of chairs to relax in the pool area (two recliners in front of the vitality pool). Chances are that you won’t spend too much time here anyway, since London has so much to offer!
- The hotel building is huge, and the maze of corridors may be confusing to some guests.
- Breakfast is either a buffet (at Palm Court), a la carte (Roux at the Landau restaurant), or in the Langham Club lounge (when you have access to the latter). I had breakfast at the Palm Court, and although it was excellent, I felt that the breakfast choices were a bit limited for a hotel of this caliber, probably due to the fact that the buffet is displayed in a rather small bar, hence not allowing a larger buffet. For example, the only eggs you could get were scrambled eggs from the buffet. I feel it would have been better if the hotel eliminated the hot buffet items, offering only a cold (but larger) buffet with a selection of hot items that guests can choose from a menu (like is the case at the Roux at the Landau restaurant). In addition, I only found out at check out that Palm Court and Roux at the Landau offer a different kind of breakfast service, so I wished I had been told that upfront at check in.
- Location: 8/10
- Design: 8/10
- Rooms: 8/10
- Food: 8/10
- Service: 9/10
- Overall experience: very good: 8,2/10
TIPS FOR FUTURE GUESTS & SAVE MONEY
- Save money: get complimentary VIP perks at The Langham London when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, complimentary WiFi, kitchen tour and aperitif when dining at Roux at the Landau, and $100 USD food & beverage credit).
- Save money: make use of The Langham’s best rate guarantee to discount the cheapest room rate by a further 25%.
- Save money: read my tips for getting the best deal at a luxury hotel like The Langham London.
- Room tip: The hotel’s best accommodations are the renovated Grand Executive Rooms, which are located in the exclusive Regent wing.
- If breakfast is included in your room rate, know that you have different options (not always clearly explained at check in): buffet (at Palm court), a la carte (Roux at the Landau), in the Langham Club lounge, or in room breakfast.
- Read my tips for preparing your trip in time.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
The best time to visit London is in the spring, when the temperatures are mild and the city’s parks are green and blooming. However, spring – along with summer – is also prime tourist season, and hotel and flight prices reflect the surge. You’re more likely to find airfare and accommodation deals in the fall and winter, though you’ll also encounter chilly temperatures. And no matter when you travel, you should pack an umbrella: “Foggy Londontown” experiences misty days and showers throughout the year.
HOW TO GET THERE
London can easily be reached by plane, train or car. For those coming by plane, the city is served by 6 airports:
- Heathrow (LHR) is the primary international airport serving London. Check the Wikipedia page of Heathrow Airport for the lasted updates on airlines that have direct flights to this airport. It’s a 40 minute drive to the hotel.
- Gatwick (LGW) is London’s second busiest airport. Check the Wikipedia page of Gatwick Airport for the lasted updates on airlines that have direct flights to this airport. It’s a one hour drive to the hotel.
- Stansted (STN) is a base for a number of major European low-cost carriers, being the largest base for low-cost airline Ryanair with over 100 destinations served by the airline. Check the Wikipedia page of Stansted Airport for the lasted updates on airlines that have direct flights to this airport.
- Luton (LTN) is the fourth-largest airport serving the London area. Check the Wikipedia page of Luton Airport for the lasted updates on airlines that have direct flights to this airport.
- London City Airport (LCY) is fifth busiest airport in passengers and aircraft movements serving the London area, and primarily caters to business travelers. Check the Wikipedia page of London City Airport for the lasted updates on airlines that have direct flights to this airport.
- London Southend Airport (SEN) is the British capital’s smallest airport. Check the Wikipedia page of London Southend Airport for the lasted updates on airlines that have direct flights to this airport.