When the Prince of Wales opened the Langham Hotel in 1865 it became the first grand hotel in Europe.
Since then, this impressive building, often lovingly referred to as The Grand Dame of Portland Place, has played host to royalty, the rich and the famous.
More than 30 years ago The Langham closed its doors for four years and underwent a £100m restoration and was returned to its former elegance. There’s an opulence and sophisticated style all around you from the moment you step into the lobby and it’s only a taster of what you can expect as a guest at this iconic hotel.
Location: Situated in the heart of the West End, The Langham itself is a London landmark. Sitting opposite the BBC Headquarters in Portland Street, just off Regent Street it’s approximately a four-minute walk to Oxford Circus or around seven to Bond Street.
Ambience: There’s a feeling of traditional elegance throughout the hotel with a plethora of gilt, silk, marble and mahogany and tasteful works of art. Piano music drifts across the foyer at afternoon tea time and during the cocktail hour from the gilded art-deco Café Royal, while there’s a more upbeat atmosphere in the Artesian Bar, one of London’s most chic but fun cocktail bars. For a total chill out, try The Chuan Body and Soul at the Langham.
Accommodation: The Langham boasts 380 rooms, which include some of the most palatial suites in London. Our executive room was very spacious with a large seating area, enormous marbled bathroom and hall. The Langham has kept all the old traditional comforts and housekeeping services – but has modern technology discreetly placed in the room. The room was quiet and the queen size bed blissfully comfortable – all conducive to a good night’s sleep. The Langham is the only five star in London with The Club concept so it’s worth booking a room with this add-on. The benefits are numerous including delicious culinary offerings and drinks available all day to 10pm in luxurious surroundings.
Food and drink: Dining is sheer decadence at Roux at the Langham. The restaurant is well planned with ethereal floodlit views over Langham Church and the BBC. The menu is fresh ingredient led and like all the creative culinary at the hotel is overseen by Michelin-starred chef Michel Roux, Jnr. The menu is more than impressive. Chef made me a special butter sauce as I didn’t want saffron on my langoustines and my heaven on a plate was the Grand Marnier Soufflé – it takes an expert to make a light, hot, flavoursome sweet like that. The restaurant has more than 500 wines on its list.
What to do: It’s an easy walk to the main shopping areas or to the boutiques of Marylebone Village and Portobello Road Market. Buckingham Palace is a short bus ride away with a regular service from outside the hotel. The Palladium, Hyde Park and Speakers’ Corner are also within walking distance.
Worth writing home about: Enjoying a private check-in with a glass of chilled champagne in The Club while my luggage was whisked away, and I was indulged with canapes and more champagne.
To book: The Langham Hotel, Portland Place, Regent Street, London W1B 1JA. Tel: 020 7636 1000. For details of accommodation and special packages visit: langhamhotels.com/London.