W1B 1JA Travel Guide
Pouring the Martini Royales
It’s the terrible dilemma that faces you when you set foot in the Langham London. Does one head straight into Palm Court for one of the best afternoon teas in the world capital of afternoon teas? Or does one turn left and nip into Artesian for a perfectly blended cocktail?
Clearly, it wasn’t just us having a moral dilemma, because the Langham has just started The Art of the Aperitif - a pop-up bar bringing drinks from Artesian into Palm Court.
It’s being run in conjunction with Martini, so all the drinks (there are seven) have vermouth and, and there’s Martini memorabilia scattered around. But it’s no boring promo thing – the drinks have been created by Artesian’s Alex Kratena and Simone Caporale (head bartender and assistant head respectively), and there are food pairings (or snacks, rather), too, for the all important stomach-lining process.
They had us at “free champagne”.
To celebrate the launch of its new all-day dining menu in Palm Court, the Langham London is giving everyone a glass of Laurent Perrier if they order two courses off the menu before 13 September. Don’t mind if we do!
The new menu is available 11am-10.30pm, seven days a week. Prices are what you’d expect, or possibly a little under – we’re talking £12 for the cheapest appetizer (a Fourme d’Ambert and endive salad with candied walnuts), £19 for a burger, or £29 and up for a steak.
The menu, too, is nothing surprising – seafood and caviar, burgers, steaks, and traditional mains like grilled chicken breast or whole roasted Dover sole. Check out the full menu here.
Admittedly one of our favorite luxury hotel chains, The Langham is well-known for things like afternoon tea, pink taxis and a 19th century-inspired gin cocktail lounge. No surprise, then, that the Langham is exactly the kind of classy joint where Justin Bieber would want to have his first foursome.
The 18-year-old pop star was staying in London this week gearing up for his big UK tour, and he certainly kept busy "getting to know" his British fanbase. The Daily Mail caught photos of Bieber in and out of several nightclubs around London on Tuesday night, before finally ending up back at the Langham London with his new lady friend, Ella-Paige Roberts Clark.
A few minutes later, though, two other girls from the same club showed up at the hotel and were admitted up to his room.
You could argue that the girls were only after a quick nightcap in the hotel bar, or maybe they needed to use the bathroom, and they just happened to stop in the same hotel where the Biebs was staying. Except no, they weren't. Photographers also snapped one of them leaving the Langham the next morning, dressed in the same clothes, just a few minutes after Justin left the hotel himself. Busted!
After several years of showing up at hotels, causing mass hysteria among fans while they wait outside, and causing hotels themselves to bang their heads against the wall while they deal with all the craziness, the Biebs has finally been booted from a hotel. Though, in all fairness, it wasn't anything he did specifically.
The Langham became overwhelmed this past weekend when fans somehow got a hold of Justin's room number, and began calling the hotel non-stop trying to speak to the singer.
And knowing the kind of crowd that hangs around wherever the Biebs sets up camp (we hear they mobilize through Twitter), we don't doubt that this pretty much spelled disaster for the hotel and its staffers, who likely didn't have time to be dealing with thousands of shrieking pre-teens blocking the phone lines from actual paying guests.
So the Langham said bye bye Bieber, and asked him to leave.
4.5ft high. Four days to make. Hundreds of sweets stuck onto it: those are the stats for the incredible gingerbread house at the Langham London.
The house has been set up in Palm Court (the tea room), in order to coincide with the Festive Afternoon Tea that the hotel is offering as well as the sconegasmic Bijoux Tea. We popped by last week and - wow. It's incredible. Little wonder everyone is queuing to get their photo taken in front of it.
But it's not just a pretty face - you can actually win an afternoon tea for two if you guess the weight of the gingerbread house. Or rather, the amount of gingerbread used in its construction.
Entries should be rounded to the nearest kg and entered on the Langham's Facebook page by 23 December - so you have a little time.
Initially, it was love at first sight – we’d never seen anything so exquisite. Then, it was reputation – once we heard Britney was a fan, we wanted in as well. So that’s how we ended up trotting along to the Langham London this week, to try the new Stephen Webster Bijoux Tea that launched last month.
First thing to know – book ahead. Weekends can book up to five weeks in advance. Weekdays are a little easier, since there are three sittings. On the day we went, there was space for the 5.30pm sitting. But you don’t want to risk that – book about a week in advance.
Second thing to know: the Bijoux Tea isn’t the only one on offer. There’s also the Wonderland Tea (the standard one, £38) High Tea (£38, served from 5-6.30pm with things like crumpets and fruit cake) and the 1865 Langham High Tea (£40, served from 7-8.30pm, including cold canapés and fruit). The Bijoux Tea is more expensive, at £49pp. So what do you get for your extra cash?
Absurd prettiness, for a start – the tea is a work of art, and you’ll probably feel guilty about destroying it. But hey, it’s there to be demolished.
There are three courses to the tea, as with a normal one: sandwiches, scones, and cakes. But that’s as close to a standard afternoon tea as you get. Instead of smoked salmon and cucumber sandwiches, you get “smoked salmon and cream cheese with cucumber pearls”; instead of chicken, it’s poached quail breast with grapes and violet (yes, violet). The traditional egg sandwich is a duck egg – an actual duck egg – perched on a nub of bread, while there’s also one with lobster and piquillo peppers on a sub roll and a tiny apple-shaped, green icing-covered choux pastry filled with foie grass and apple.
Marylebone High Street
High tech isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when we think of the Langham London, so we’re pretty impressed by the latest venture coming from the concierge desk of the grand dame: MP3 walking tours of the neighboring areas.
The Langham is bang in the middle of Fitzrovia and Marylebone (the latter is more interesting, being one of London’s few remaining “villages”), and the hotel has constructed two walking tours to be played on MP3 players that are given out at the concierge desk.
Well everyone, today's the day! Last week, we asked you guys for your best recommendations for what hotel to choose for a proper afternoon tea in London. And you sure told us! With so many excellent choices, we decided to do a little nighttime reconnaissance to...you know...
peer into the windows check out the places.
One stop was The Langham London, pictured above in all its British glory under the light of the streetlamps. It's simply breathtaking, both inside and out, and the revamp that commenter Matt Turner hinted to us about is definitely evident.
But don't think we've got our heart set on the Langham just yet! We've also snooped around The Dorchester, Claridge's and The Metropolitan. Stick around because, on Wednesday, we'll be revealing what hotel won us over for tea service, complete with a mouth-watering gallery of the goods. Thank you all for your recommendations! They are hugely appreciated!
Obviously they have the frilly stuff, like a selection of books for your perusal and cut glass goblets in each of them. But here's the best bit: the Langham is so dedicated to you having a peaceful stay that they’ve recessed the doors (which cocoons you from outside sounds, apparently) and soundproofed the chests of drawers.
Yes, the drawers. Just in case your lady or gentleman friend is inconsiderate enough to hurl the drawer shut, they’ve installed little springs in the backs of them, so however enthusiastic you are in your, erm, slamming, it’ll make a genteel bounce back and close in (almost) total silence.
Anal? Of course, but it’s the kind of attention to detail that makes our heads spin. If they’ve given that much thought to the drawers, the rest of the room must be in solid working order. Now all we have to do is find the requisite £549 to get us in. And some sunglasses for the less-than-attractive carpet.
It's been two years and £80 million coming, but the Langham London is finally open. And rather than the very-swish-but-slightly-stuffy gaffe we were expecting, turns out they've added enough bling to attract the trendies as well as the stalwarts.
Location, Location, Location
Nobody could quibble with the Langham's position: just a block up (although a world away) from Oxford Circus and five minutes down from the calm of Regent's Park. It's just across from one of the main BBC buildings too, so you can spy on celebs - and the queues of those weird radio show audiences - from the comfort of your room. Or preferably, the sexy bar, Artesian.
Call it the WAG effect: here's where the bling comes in. The old Ballroom has been revamped with Swarovski crystals hanging from the curtains, there's lots of glittery gold wallpaper in the public areas, and the Palm Court tea room is gilded too (see picture below). But all this is subtle enough not to be offensive (mostly). And looking at the mix of guests, it seems they're satisfying most people.
The fancypants Langham London will celebrate its glittery re-opening this April, following a two-year refurbishment that cost a cool £80 million (roughly $116 million), during which time the hotel remained open.
Of course, the first stage of the revamp has been done for a couple years now, which included the hotel’s painfully chic bar, Artesian, and restaurant, The Landau.
Cocktail hour in London? To increase your chances of running into Kate, Keira or Sienna, why not head to the one year-old Artesian Bar, designed by David Collins of Claridge's and London Bar New York fame.
Part of the Langham Hotel in the city's upmarket Regent Street, the place oozes more style than Stella Mc Cartney. The bar itself is described as "Chinese Chippendale", blending modern Asian and old English influences to create a truly unique centerpiece.
And then there's the drinks. Specialising in rum, the bar boasts an extensive (and expensive) cocktail list comprised of top-quality ingredients sourced from around the world.