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).