When it comes to London’s most iconic hotels, it’s fair to say that few can even begin to rival The Langham. With a long history behind it, this breath-taking central London five-star hotel has remained one of the largest and best-known traditional grand hotels in the capital ever since, and for those who have had the pleasure of staying here, it’s easy to understand why.
The hotel enjoys a privileged location in the heart of the West End, on affluent Regent Street, and is just a stone’s throw from Soho and its varied array of excellent drinking and dining establishments. It’s also just steps from the city’s bustling shopping haven of Oxford Street, so it’s certainly the perfect spot for both culture lovers and luxury shoppers alike to rest their heads for the night – but its allure goes far beyond its location alone.
Exuding timeless elegance from the moment you set foot inside its very grand lobby, the exclusive Langham really is an example of the utmost in luxury, and one that modern hotels have invariably found difficult to match. Traditional but with modern innovations, its opulence and grandeur will quite simply take your breath away, with a quintessentially British experience guaranteed from the beginning of your stay, right through until the end.
Having picked up a host of coveted awards in recent years, including 2020 Conde Nast Traveller Gold List and TripAdvisor Traveller’s Choice Best of the Best 2020, the hotel is a firm favourite amongst affluent guests in search of the very finest hotel experience in London. I recently had the pleasure of experiencing it for myself, and suffice it to say, it far exceeded even my very high expectations.
This undeniably grand hotel is on every luxury traveller’s bucket list, so it’s perhaps unsurprising that it has welcomed a variety of notable guests over the years.
Of course, first impressions begin in the lobby, and here, you’ll find an opulent layout and decadent design that together, is quite simply breath-taking. Think stately pillars, lots of smooth marble and huge, glittering chandeliers, and you’re on the right track – it’s almost as if you’ve just set foot inside a royal palace, and it’s a feeling that continues throughout.
The Langham is home to 380 exquisitely appointed rooms exemplifying classic styling and exuding the utmost in luxury, as well as a variety of dining spots and bars, a spa and wellness centre and a well-equipped gym.
It’s also a leader in corporate social responsibility and over the last decade, has become the first luxury hotel in Europe to be awarded Platinum status by Earthcheck – the world’s leading scientific benchmarking certification for travel and tourism.
Rooms and suites
One of the most sought-after accommodation options at The Langham is the plush Bedroom Suite, where I was delighted to find myself staying for the night. Comprising an elegant and spacious bedroom and cosy lounge area, as well as enjoying stunning views down over the city below, it was the perfect spot to take a break from the hustle and bustle of central London – and with its sumptuous soft furnishings, classic décor and decadent dark wood furniture, it was simply palatial.
The opulent marble bathroom was a particular stand-out feature, with its grand, free-standing tub, large walk-in shower and twin sinks making it the very height of luxury.
For guests looking to go all out and splurge on the most extravagant suite the hotel has to offer, the Sterling Suite is the stuff dreams are made of. One of London’s most spacious and highly sought-after hideaways, it draws inspiration from English pageantry and precious materials, and boasts six sprawling bedrooms along with a sizable living space that is perfect for families and larger groups to kick back and relax in with a bottle of champagne – privacy and exclusivity guaranteed.
Even the furniture in the Sterling Suite is next level, with each individual piece having been made by hand, an example of expert craftsmanship. Gold and silver leaf hand-painted finishes, polished marble and antique mirror work all add to the grandiose feel.
Amongst The Langham’s other signature accommodation options are the Terrace Suite, which features three bedrooms, a kitchenette and a generously sized terrace, and the bright and light two-bedroom Infinity Suite, which offers all the luxury on a slightly smaller scale.
Guests of executive rooms and suites can enjoy complimentary access to the Langham Club – an exclusive offering that aims to redefine the club concept with its modern conveniences and the same impeccable service you can expect elsewhere in the hotel.
Inspired by the private clubs of the Victorian era, this decidedly modern twist on the idea still provides premium services like private butlers and a concierge, as well as private luxury facilities, the option to depart a little later, two hours’ use of the Club’s Loft meeting space, and the pressing of three items of clothing. In the lounge, perks go above and beyond what you’d usually expect, so prepare to sip on complimentary Perrier-Joët at your leisure throughout the day and enjoy food from the various award-winning dining outlets downstairs.
Food and drink
There’s no better place to enjoy afternoon tea than at the sophisticated Palm Court – said to be the very birthplace of the concept, and where this timeless and long-held tradition first began. The Langham afternoon tea is a celebration of all things British, and with a menu overseen by Michel Roux Jr and created by executive pastry chef Andrew Gravett that takes inspiration from the nation’s favourite biscuits and baked tarts, is centred around the national love of tea.
A selection of mouth-watering freshly baked scones and cakes and crisp pastries are served up alongside some of the finest blends from JING. Then, of course, there’s a glass of Gusbourne English sparkling wine to wash it all down with – because afternoon tea is, and always has been, about a little indulgence.
The Langham’s unique partnership with Michel Roux Jr. continues throughout the hotel’s varied range of eateries. Palm Court is currently serving as The Langham’s main restaurant until Roux at the Landau – which is known for its decadent gourmet French cuisine and opulent circular dining room – reopens later this year with some exciting concept changes to be expected.
I enjoyed a sumptuous dinner at Palm Court, where highlights included a Scottish smoked salmon and toasted sourdough bread with chive cream starter, which was flavourful and satisfying, and the grilled lamb chops with tenderstem broccoli and French fries for my main course. I requested my lamb medium rare, and as expected it arrived cooked to perfection – succulent, juicy and bursting with flavour.
To round things off, I opted for the decadent banana and date pudding, which came served with a pecan crunch and ice cream. Sticky, indulgent and the perfect end to a memorable meal – although I couldn’t help but request to try some of the delicious British cheeses and biscuits as one final hoorah, which again, did not disappoint.
Breakfast is also currently served at the Palm Court, where options are sumptuous and varied. From the farmhouse yoghurt and overnight oats to classics like Eggs Royale and cinnamon French toast, it’s impossible not to feel spoilt for choice, but you can’t beat the spectacular Langham full English breakfast with a side of beans – one of the best breakfasts I’ve ever had the pleasure of starting my day with in the capital.
Luxury hotels can, at times, let themselves down a little at breakfast, but here the service is slick, attentive and highly professional throughout.
While there’s no denying that both menus and service are of equal importance when it comes to a great dining experience, the setting has just as much of a role to play, and the Palm Court is truly something special indeed. Its regal and palatial feel is achieved through plush soft furnishings and a neutral colour palette accented with blush pinks and muted greens, with elegant chandeliers and sumptuous carpeting throughout. Some might say it’s fit for a queen, and I’d undoubtedly have to agree.
Beyond the Palm Court, the Langham’s impressive dining and drinking options continue.
For something a little less formal, The Wigmore is the hotel’s gastropub, and offers a quintessential British tavern experience where a glamorous, but welcoming, interior designed by Martin Brudnizki Studio ensures you feel instantly at home.
Tuck into decent, hearty pub fare, and pair your meal with craft beers and great wines. Dishes of note include the signature Wigmore Pie, which changes seasonally, along with traditional favourites like gammon and egg, jazzed up with confit potato and parsley, and roast Cornish cod with pesto broth – perfect for a comforting meal after a long and busy day in the capital. Of course, it would be rude not to wash it all down with a glass of something cold and refreshing, and The Wigmore’s carefully curated drinks list includes a selection of fine wines, cask ales and craft beers, including The Wigmore’s very own house ‘Saison’.
The Wigmore is also available for private hire, and features two private rooms; The Green Room, which accommodates up to 40 guests, and The Snug – a cosy venue with room for 18.
While you’re staying at The Langham, a cocktail at Artesian, which held the title of World’s Best Bar from 2011-15, is a must. Having recently launched an exciting new menu inspired by duality and developed by head bartender Giulia Cuccurullo and bar manager Lorenza Pezzetta, the current offering exemplifies Artesian’s progressive approach to mixology and effortlessly connects the bar’s past legacy with its future.
A highlight is the intriguing ‘Amo and Odi’ (‘Love and Hate’), which alludes to how these two feelings can, at times, coexist and juxtaposes unexpected ingredients like blue cheese and Artesian’s secret umami essence with watermelon, calvados, Tanqueray gin, Muyu Chinotto Nero and jade sword green tea. ‘Past and Future’, meanwhile, is a coupling that contrasts a classic and traditional cocktail with a futuristic creation – and while ‘Past’ is a twist on the Old Fashioned we know and love, featuring olive leaf-infused Mitcher’s whiskey, olive oil and palo santo, ‘Future’ is a zingy mix of fino sherry, lemongrass, gin, mint extract, enoki mushrooms and olive oil – all served up in a translucent test tube.
These, of course, are just for starters, and there are seven pairings to choose from in total. So, if this little taster has whet your appetite, then don’t hesitate to pay Artesian a visit. You can expect a chic setting with an emphasis on fun, and in addition to innovative cocktails there’s an extensive champagne list and some light, tapas-style bites all designed to tempt you.
The Langham is home to a fun and informal cooking school known as ‘Sauce’, where guests can pick up some culinary tips and tricks from The Langham’s team of highly experienced professional chefs and enjoy the fruits of the labour once the cooking is complete with a family-style meal alongside their teacher. Whether you’re a complete novice or fancy yourself as quite the expert in the kitchen already, there’s a course available to suit all levels, and from essential skills like using knives correctly and making pasta to sought-after masterclasses with chef Michel Roux Jr, Sauce offers it all.
If relaxation is more your bag, then head to the hotel’s opulent spa and wellness centre for a day of decadence and rejuvenation. Chuan Body + Soul is a haven of tranquillity away from the bustle of the city and the perfect place to unwind and let your worries fade away, with treatments drawing inspiration from traditional Chinese medicine and its core values of nurture, balance and restoration. Here, you’ll find a selection of treatment rooms, saunas and steam rooms, as well as a 16-metre swimming pool and fully equipped fitness centre – so there’s plenty for those who like to keep active and burn off all the delicious food The Langham has to offer, too.
Outside of the hotel, the opportunities are endless, and from indulging in a shopping spree on Oxford Street to visiting one of Soho’s chic bars or seeing a West End play, there’s something to suit everyone within easy reach. The Victoria, Central and Bakerloo lines all leave from Oxford Circus tube station for easy connections to just about anywhere in the city.
In a nutshell
An example of sheer opulence, The Langham offers a quintessentially British experience in the lap of luxury, and is a haven of peace and exclusivity in the heart of central London. If you’re looking for exquisite accommodation, decadent dining options and impeccable service throughout, then this lavish five-star hideaway ticks all the right boxes, and is truly a cut above the rest.
Address: 1C Portland Pl, London W1B 1JA
Phone: 020 7636 1000