The Langham opened in 1865 as Europe’s first ever Grand Hotel. It's legendary hospitality has been maintained to date and this year, its 150th anniversary year, has undergone an £80 million renovation to ensure it preserves the level of sophistication demanded by the discerning traveller of the 21st century.
An unrivalled location, at the top end of Regent Street is paramount to its success as one of London’s top luxury hotels, favoured by the celebrities and royals. With London’s infamous theatre land, high end shops and iconic Regents park on its doorstep it is the perfect place to be based in London.
Arriving at the grand porch of The Langham you are greeted by finely dressed door men in top hats and tail coats. After a warm welcome, your baggage is whisked away so you can enter through the hotels swing doors and admire the majestic marble landing which has high Victorian ceilings and marble columns.
The colossal fresh flower displays provide a beautiful fragrance which lingers into the reception area set away from the main entrance. The cute luggage token which was given by the door man is handed to the receptionist so the bell boys can swiftly deliver your luggage to the assigned room.
Walking around the hotel it is easy to notice the eastern touches which blend in with the contemporary look and showcases the Victorian grandeur of the hotel. Orchids in the hall ways and corridors, hand blown Murano glass chandeliers, leather panels and marble floors in the lifts. Immaculate attention to detail is evident, even the lift buttons have intricate exotic floral designs.
In the span of 150 years the hotel has had a colourful past witnessing the Victorian and Edwardian eras, the turbulence of two world wars and the depression. Asserting its heritage, the Langham continues to offer a signature style of timeless elegance and has created a unique charm of warm sophistication.
The Langham has a grand total of 380 rooms which include 33 private suites.
As part of the 150th anniversary makeover at The Langham was the Regent Wing, which has forty new rooms overlooking Langham Place and benefits from its own private entrance and has direct access to the spa.
Connected to the main building from the first floor only, the rest of the Regents wing building remains detached and has an almost private residence feel about it similar to a boutique hotel.
Keeping in line with the heritage of the building modern contemporary design is intertwined with classic elements.
What is so unique and fascinating about the Langham Hotel is it's history and the quirks related to it such as why Langham Place is one of the widest roads in London and why is there a sharp bend in the road at the top end of Regent street?
In the Victorian era London was the hub of the British Empire and businessmen from all over the world descended on the capital. With the improvement of the railways and reduced costs of transatlantic travel many Americans favoured London.
There was lack of fine accommodation and restaurants which were suitable for women to visit in this period and the directors of the Langham Hotel took the challenge to create a grand hotel which would be able to provide modest accommodation and dining facilities under the same roof.
The site on which the hotel was built was Foley House on Foley Street (later named Langham Place). Lord Foley had a perpetual undertaking from the landowner, the Duke of Portland, that no new building would block his northbound view and this is why the Langham hotel has a clear view of Regents Park and beyond to Hampstead from the upper floors. Sir James Langham who bought Foley house also had to buy extra adjacent land to ensure Portland Place could remain 125 feet wide, the original width of Foley House as a result there is a curve in the road as it joins upper Regent Street.
The Langham opened to much speculation on 10 June 1865 by the 23 year old HRH the Prince of Wales (King Edward VII). The largest building in England took 15 months to build and cost £300,000. The great use of Portland stone was appreciated especially in the wide corridors and staircases ensuring greater safety against fires.
The unique location of the hotel gave access to an artesian well in the chalk basin beneath which gave an abundance of pure water, the purest in London. This also allowed for an efficient plumbing system the best of the time offering hot and cold running water in each bedroom ensuite, a first for a London hotel. Its enviable location away from the unpleasant river and railway stations, guests escaped the mosquitos and sounds of engine whistles.
The hotel had the first hydraulically operated lifts in the world. It also had a lovely open courtyard and all sides of the hotel had open thoroughfares with views of high class residential properties and the main view of Regents Park.
The Langham was a true representation of the gracious elegance of the Victorian period and became a fashionable place to stay in London. The likes of Oscar Wilde, Sir Richard Burton and Sir Henry Morton Stanley enjoyed visits and it became a home away from home for many American visitors after the American civil war (1861-65). Royals, dignitaries and former heads of state also stayed at the hotel. Wallis Simpson stayed here discreetly during her courtship to Edward, Prince of Wales.
The Blitz totally destroyed London and World War II brought much damage to the Langham and to the BBC offices opposite. After the war, office premises were at a premium and the Langham hotel closed only to let the space discreetly to the BBC, as the owners were hopeful to reopen as a hotel in the future.
However in 1965 the BBC bought the Langham and were there till 1986 when Ladbroke Group PLC bought the premises and by 1991 fully restored the now Langham Hilton hotel to its former Victorian glory. Still popular with Royalty and celebrities, The Langham welcomed Princess Diana on numerous occasions and famed for its weddings with an early event of the legendary Adnan Khashoggi whose daughter decided to get married at the hotel within 3 weeks of her arrival there!
In 1996 the new owners bought the adjacent grade II listed building which was a purpose-built bank building and extended the hotel and in 2004 a £80 million five year refurbishment began. Following this success the Chuan spa opened in 2011.
This year 2015, is the 150th Anniversary year and the Langham has seen another major investment with the new Regents Wing, a new 6 bedroom suite, The Sterling Suite, one of the largest in London and an extravagant new Langham Club Lounge.
A grand press party was held on the 10th of June from 10am to celebrate this momentous occassion. The very talented exectutive pastry chef, Cherish Finden created a Langham London cake which was massive, 150 pink balloons were let out and there was a horse drawn carriage reminiscient of transport in 1865 and a pink London cab which is very current.
A great event which Anomalous London was very honoured to be a part of. The highlight of this very occassion was a brief participation from Lady Gaga herself, who favours Langham London as her London hotel and who was in residence at this very particular time.
Anomalous London stayed in the new Grand Executive room in the Regents Wing.
A corner room on the fourth floor with three double sized windows, plenty of natural light in the room and amazing views of Regent Street and beyond to Oxford Circus and the rooftops of London.Being on the main road the windows are double glazed with extra sound proofing so only faint traffic can be heard if you are a light sleeper.
Waking up early to watch the sunrise is a lovely sight and seeing Regent Street deserted in the early hours is also a rare opportunity.
The new colour scheme of purple and grey colour in the rooms is a good choice as this gives a sense of contemporary royalty. The purple headboard matches the armchairs, purple trim on the curtains and the purple square design in the carpet. Lovely wallpaper with a two tone design looks classy with a grey floral design and an eclectic choice of paintings brightens up the walls.
Maintaining the historical feel of the building the architrave detailing around the ceiling has a great effect in making the long narrow room look larger.
The king size Langham blissful bed was extremely comfortable and one can easily have the best night’s sleep. The mattress must be at least 1.5 feet high and on close inspection it can be seen that a bespoke mattress topper has been used which keeps you warm and comfortable so the actual duvet provided is quite light. Pillows are as fluffy as can be expected.
A large desk in black wood is provided with ‘In residence’ stationary, a nice welcome touch, wish the stay was longer! Power sockets to cover every destination in the world are at the desk only, but note no sockets near the bed, as the aim is to have you sleep well with no disturbances!
Langham embossed bedroom slippers and dressing gown in fine gold threads are provided. Ladies, they have the perfect size slippers! Finally a hotel which understands that a standard size is not good enough for both men and women! The Regents wing is in the same block as the spa and being relatively quiet and private it is easy to roam around freely to the spa in bathrobe and slippers.
The marble bathroom has a big shower and deep bath with enough Chuan toiletries to keep you happy and refreshed. A nice big space with natural light. Lovely orchids add some brightness to the bathroom. There is a weighing scale too!
For those active guests, the Langham has provided two running routes in the scenic Regents Park just down the road from the hotel. Either a 2.5 or 3.8 mile route conveniently mapped out for you on a handy map which can be tied around your neck!
The Langham has made a lot of effort in terms of attention to detail so as to anticipate their guests needs.
With a choice of having breakfast either in the Palm Court which is more suited to those with young families, the Landau or in the room, Anomalous London chose the Landau, which has been designed by renowned David Collins.
The dining room has two semi-circular ends with the far end having huge windows allowing in lots of natural light. Blinds match the wood panelling really well so it blends in with a natural brown colour.
Cosy seating for couples and booth seating for groups, breakfast at the Landau is slow paced and laid back as everything is cooked fresh to order.
Immaculate service with freshly brewed tea and fresh juice topped up for you without the need to ask.
A spectacular spread from the continental buffet in the centre of the room. Fine fish such as eel and beetroot salmon appear with fresh fruit, pastries and yoghurt. The finest English breakfast in the capital. Serving the most simplest of ingredients with precision and flavour is to be commended. Streaky and back bacon, black pudding, field mushroom, grilled vine tomato and Cumberland sausage has never tasted so good!
The four fine paintings on the wall are trees depicting each season. On close inspection of this fine artwork it can be seen that these images created by French artist Didier Massard, are not actually paintings. Called ‘Table Top’ photography, these magically realistic images are created through a process whereby detailed models are first created and then with special lighting techniques photographs taken.
Didier's inspiration comes from his vivid imagination and this highly skilled work only allows him to produce a few images a year.
Roux at the Landau is a popular fine dining restaurant in the capital and is a father/son partnership with legendary chefs Albert and Michel Roux Jr at the helm.
Chef Chris King their protégé uses the finest seasonal ingredients to create fine European dishes and something Anomalous London will return to the Langham to experience.
The illustrious Palm Court is where the tradition of afternoon tea started 150 years ago in 1865 and still lives on as the finest indulgence to be experienced in London. With magnificent high ceilings, crystal chandeliers and quirky decorative mirrors, this extensive room has comfortable seating and the live pianist adds to delightful ambiance.
To start with a lovely amuse bouche of lemon posset is served to cleanse your palate. This is very unique for an afternoon tea!
The sandwiches at the Langham are served eloquently from a lovely tray. Expect to see some quirky varieties such as the smoked ham, Comte cheese and white truffle oil in a mini bun, and egg with mustard cress in a cute roll. Please do ask for more if you so desire.
The traditional scones are served with Devonshire clotted cream and strawberry jam served deliciously warm and are only brought out to you when you are ready. As these are small in size, do not hesitate to ask for more.
The tea selection includes exclusive Langham Blends which have been selected with the utmost care and harvested to capture the natural aromas and flavours. All staff can guide you to pick the perfect blend. Try a different tea with for each course, sandwiches, scones and sweet treats.
For those who enjoy black tea, try the Langham Blend without milk! Best had with the sandwiches, you will be pleasantly surprised. With the sweet treats the Silk Road blend, which is a Chinese silver needle white tea is a perfect accompaniment with very delicate flavours. There is even a special ‘Children’s blend’ tea which has fruity rooibos and is completely caffeine free!
The exquisite sweet treats created by Cherish Finden, the head pastry chef and her team demonstrate the time and effort taken to create intricate designs. What is fabulous about the entire selection here is that there is actual ‘cake’ and not just mini desserts. The selection changes every season and for special occasions.
Named after the 360 foot deep artesian well found beneath the hotel in the 1800s, this exquisite bar designed by David Collins, combines the exotic orient with Victorian glamour.
Having won the most coveted accolade of ‘World’s Best Bar’ for the past three years, this bar is extremely busy every night and operates a no booking policy.
The cocktails created are presented in the most innovative fashion and command a premium.
Picutred here is Alex Kratena who won the World's Best Bartender of the Year award in 2012. He is creating the quirky Ant Hero cocktail which is probably the most tricky to serve as it is approximately one foot high.
Definitely worth a visit!
Blending the past with the contemporary is Langham’s signature style and this can be found in all their hotels around the world where each has its own individuality due to a historical or cultural significance. As a lovely token of remberance of your stay at the Langham, you can find bespoke crystal glasses, gadgets to cute Langham teddy bears to purchase from the Flavours of Langham quirky gift shop cabinet at reception before your departure.
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