Experience London luxury at The Langham

The executive room in The Langham London. (Supplied)
Updated 31 December 2018

Experience London luxury at The Langham

  • The holiday season in London is magical
  • If you want to experience truly authentic British hospitality in London, then it doesn’t get more fancy than The Langham hotel

DUBAI: The holiday season in London is magical. The festive lights, the cool crisp winter air, and the food — oh, the glorious food.
Staying in the UK capital during this time is, simply, a holiday must-do. A trip you should book at least once in your life. And if you want to experience truly authentic British hospitality in London, then it doesn’t get more fancy than The Langham hotel.

Located in the West End — amidst Mayfair, Marylebone, Soho and Fitzrovia — the five-star property is overflowing with history. Built between 1863 and 1865, the then-most-modern hotel in England was opened by then-Prince of Wales, Edward VII. The Langham has hosted many prominent figures, including the Irish poet and playwright Oscar Wilde, British prime minister Winston Churchill, French statesman Charles de Gaulle, and Princess Diana of Wales.

It has also made many appearances on TV and in film, most notably the James Bond movie “GoldenEye,” whilst one of its restaurants was the main setting for Bradley Cooper’s culinary drama, “Burnt.”
Today, it remains an institution — one that is favored by GCC customers. Not only is the service on par with luxury properties in Saudi Arabia and the UAE, for example, but the property does its very best to accommodate individual guest requests.
A holiday in London — or anywhere in the UK for that matter — wouldn’t be complete without a spot of afternoon tea, and with The Langham London serving the traditional fare since 1865, you know you’ll experience one of the best examples the city has to offer.
And best of all; the ground floor’s Palm Court, where the tea is hosted, caters to all. If you book in advance, you can request a halal version of the Langham Afternoon Tea with Wedgwood, which includes halal-certified beef pastrami. Priced at $70, the experience is split into three ‘courses’ — sandwiches, followed by scones with Cornish clotted cream and strawberry jam, and ending with a selection of pastries and desserts. And all served with tea, of course.

It can be difficult to find spacious hotel rooms in London, but you won’t be disappointed here. We stayed in the ‘smallest’ Superior Room category (from $515 per night). It’s 28 square meters, so there’s really nothing small about it. It comes with a magnificently comfortable bed, as well as 32-inch LCD TV (with Arabic channels, of course), a Nespresso machine, and marble bathroom. There are 10 other room categories, including the glamorous penthouse Sterling Suite (a generous 450 square meters).
While room service is available, we did find it a tad expensive (about $45 for Middle Eastern mezze?) But if you’re thinking of bringing food from another establishment to your room, you won’t be able to do so without paying for the privilege. Which seems a bit much to be honest.

If you want to stay in one day, for $115 you can purchase a Langham Club Lounge pass (free to those in an executive room, junior suite or one-bedroom suite), which grants you access to the hotel’s exclusive lounge, featuring bites created in collaboration with celeb chefs Albert Roux OBE and Michel Roux Jr. There’s also a mini afternoon tea on offer.
The Langham is running festive promotions until the second week of January, and details of those deals and the best rates can be found on the website. There are further fab deals for February onwards too.
Meanwhile, if you’re heading to London for NYE and would like to see out 2018 in style, then a three- or five-course dinner will be available at Palm Court, with jazz entertainment on the side (from $146). Or opt for the French seven-course dinner option at the excellent Roux at the Landau ($375 per person).

Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea exhibition aims to protect region’s vital marine environment

The Red Sea Center is superbly equipped to study the Red Sea with its state-of-the-art facilities and world-class researchers. (AN photos by Huda Bashatah)
Updated 7 min 37 sec ago

Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea exhibition aims to protect region’s vital marine environment

  • KAUST scientists and researchers introduce adults and children to the sea’s vast array of wildlife

JEDDAH: Visitors were plunged into the fascinating underwater world of the Red Sea at an awareness exhibition aimed at helping to protect the unique marine environment.
The Red Sea Research Center, based at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), has been staging an interactive display at the Red Sea Mall in Jeddah to highlight the importance of the marine ecosystem to the entire region.
The exhibition, which runs until June 24 and is part of the 41-day Jeddah Season summer festival, is designed to raise awareness of Red Sea conservation projects.
KAUST scientists and researchers were on hand to guide adults and children through the exhibition and introduce them to the Red Sea’s vast array of wildlife.
Children had the chance to feel and hold sea creatures in special tanks and were asked to sign a pledge to contribute to the preservation of the Red Sea by helping prevent pollution of the marine environment.
Micheal Berumen, director of the Red Sea Research Center, told Arab News of its mission to educate not only KAUST students, but also the public.
“The Red Sea is a resource that needs to be protected, appreciated, and celebrated by everybody living by the coast.
“It has a big impact to see a model of a whale shark, and it has a big impact to see creatures in the tank, but it is another level when you actually get to hold it,” said Berumen.
“And if you watch, it is actually the kids who are most excited about the exhibit.”
Berumen added that by targeting children, the center aimed to get them passionate about nature and hopefully spawn the marine biologists of the future.
“We really want to be sure that the people here understand how special the Red Sea is, and the unique resources we have right in our backyard.”

Whale shark
A life-size model of a whale shark, situated at the entrance to the exhibition, represented one of the most important creatures living in the Red Sea, said Berumen. “There are very few places in the world where you can study whale sharks, but the Red Sea is one of them.”
Burton Jones, a professor of marine science and a member of the Red Sea Research Center, said that as researchers they were trying to work out how the Red Sea worked while helping people to “understand that the Red Sea is extremely important for everybody’s life here.”
He added: “The Red Sea is what makes life better in Jeddah. It helps to keep the climate cooler, and oceans are very important to the climate of an area.”
Lina Eyouni, a Ph.D. student at KAUST, said the exhibition aimed to create a relationship between the visitors and the creatures of the sea. “We want to keep people engaged in what we are doing and spread knowledge about the importance of the environment and how can we protect it.”

Pollution threats
Sea pollution is mainly caused by coastal farming, rivers, sewage, and litter.
Fertilizers used in farming often get washed into the sea by rain, and although this is not a serious problem in the Red Sea, sewage and littering are major pollution threats, Berumen said.
The Red Sea Research Center has previously run several public events in Riyadh and Jeddah, but its latest exhibition is the biggest to date.
It has been a key department since the opening of KAUST in 2009 and is well-positioned and superbly equipped to study the Red Sea with its state-of-the-art facilities and world-class researchers.
The center also works closely with many government agencies to maintain the health of the Red Sea’s marine environment.