The lasting luxury of The Langham Melbourne
Leading luxury travel and food writer Mary Pratt, founder of The Caviar Spoon, lapped up some luxury at The Langham Melbourne.
When it came to finding the best place to stay in Melbourne, I shamelessly queried all of my friends and contacts for their recommendations. There were a number of suggestions but the one that really drew me was The Langham Melbourne. I don’t know if it was because of the brand’s British roots or the fact that there are 18 Langham hotels worldwide (with another 14 in the works!) but what I do know is that I’m so glad I decided to stay here!
The Story & The Brand
The Langham Melbourne is an iconic and slightly intimidating, yet completely gracious, hotel situated in the South Bank area of Melbourne. The epic location along the river gives it the extra perk of being the only hotel with outdoor terraces and balconies in some of the rooms. Plus, you can find yourself exploring some of Melbourne’s most magnificent laneways such as Centre Place or ACDC Lane within 15 minutes of walking.
The 20-year old property (which the Langham Group took over in 2005) may not be as young, funky, or sassy as the newer hotels but it reminds me of the décor you would embrace in a fine country house armed with loyal staff. The chandeliers tell stories and the carpets are thick and plush (probably costing way more than an urban property/hotel). The furniture doesn’t have any telltale labels hanging off of them but then again, neither would the furniture in a quintessential country estate in the UK.
This hotel is unapologetically lush, oozing traditional luxury, elegance, and class and with no need to justify the fact that perhaps the upholstery could be funked up just a touch.
Getting There & First Impressions
Arriving at the entrance, you’ll immediately start embracing this hotel’s traditional yet quirky delights such as the Langham Pink Cab and the kitsch pink Langham bicycles for those who fancy a bit of pedal power to go exploring around Melbourne or perhaps the Royal Botanic Gardens. These fun and fancy touches are the norm when you stay here. Pop into the Langham Flavours shop and you’ll see an explosion of goodies in the hotel’s signature pink shade.
In fact, the Langham brand is quirky in its own right.
There might be the perception that a huge and powerful hotel chain scattered in some of the most salubrious cities around the world (think London, Hong Kong, New York) would have a bold, dominant logo but not this one. The Langham has what I would call fabulously British class and branding with swirls of that unmistakeable pink (you’ll always find freshly cut pink roses in the lobby), the Langham scent of Ginger Flower, through to the pink Chanel-inspired tweed suits worn by their Service Stylists (aka personal concierges). Needless to say, when I heard that their Wedgewood high teas were a massive hit, it didn’t surprise me one bit nor did the exceptional butler and doorman service.
The staff has a deep connection with the property despite its sprawling size of 388 rooms and many of them are lifers—just like loyal butler Mr. Carson from “Downton Abbey”!
Where You’ll Sleep
We were lucky enough to grab one of the Executive Rooms and had the most stunning 19th-floor view of the Melbourne CBD skyline and Flinders Street Station. If you can, upgrade to a balcony or terrace room for a visual climax!
The Executive Rooms also come with access to The Langham Club, giving you a range of perks such as a yummy continental breakfast spread, afternoon tea, and pre-dinner drinks and nibbles, along with the use of business services and glorious high-speed WiFi.
Above all, though, was having access to the spectacular butler service. We eagerly took advantage of the option of having six key but crumpled pieces from our smushed suitcases pressed, a welcome treat after being on the road for nearly 3 weeks. The spot-on service was a lesson in spending a few more dollars to embrace the Langham Club effect. Any requests we had were acted on immediately as if we had a permanent butler at the end of our hallway. The speed and turnaround were the best I’ve experienced in a while, in fact!
Where To Eat
We took most of our meals out and about in Melbourne (namely Cumulus, Inc., Estelle By Scott Pickett, and Matteo’s) but did manage to catch lunch at Melba Restaurant. This restaurant has multiple open kitchens and what they call their “flavours of the world grazing buffet” which is a pretty apt description for their menu! There’s something for everyone, from sushi to curries to light salads that can all be enjoyed whilst looking out towards the Yarra River. The atmosphere was buzzy with an eclectic group of people that included business folks, local Melbournians, and hotel guests.
Where To Unwind
Unfortunately, with all the running around I did, I didn’t get a chance to experience the spa (though I probably could have used a good spa session!). However, with a trophy cabinet of awards (like being named ‘Top Hotel Spa’ in Travel + Leisure’s reader survey), I think we can safely say that Chuan Spa is doing pretty well!
So as not to disappoint you by not being able to give a personal account, I hopped onto Facebook to catch up with a number of Ozzie friends who have stayed at The Langham for spa weekends and they all wholeheartedly gave the place a thumbs up!
The one treatment that I keep hearing about over and over again is the Chuan Heavenly Jing Luo 90-minute foot treatment. It apparently promotes sleep and restoration, along with draining fluid, and seems ideal for us travellers who jump off the plane with unattractive swollen feet! It sounds pretty phenomenal so I’m game for next time!
To wrap up, if you don’t trust me, then at least trust the general public who have just voted The Langham Melbourne as number two hotel in Australia and New Zealand in Condé Nast Traveller Reader’s Choice Awards.
And with that, cin-cin!
1 Southgate Avenue, Southbank, Melbourne, Victoria 3006, Australia