The Langham London
Celebrating its 150th anniversary, The Langham London has recently completed renovation work on the Regent Wing welcoming both the Club Lounge and the Sterling Suite to the mix. Hamish Kilburn speaks with Principal of Richmond International, Fiona Thompson, to find out more…
The year was 1865, The American civil war was coming to an end, London was building the Thames Embankment and Europe’s first ‘Grand Hotel’, The Langham London, opened its majestic doors. Fast-forward 150 years and although not much has changed exteriorly, extensive interior renovation sees the hotel at the forefront of international hospitality design.
The Langham London is well known for accommodating royalty, dignitaries and A-list celebrities, but behind the scenes the hotel has completed work to the Regent Wing – for its most exclusive guests.
As part of the 150-year anniversary celebrations, the hotel has rebirthed guestrooms and suites, which have been exclusively designed by Richmond International. No stranger to the Langham brand, hospitality interiors experts Richmond International have worked on the The Langham London – as well as other properties around the world – as the hotel renovates its facilities piece by piece, project by project.
Averaging 31 square metres, the 43 newly renovated Grand Executive rooms have been designed to include modernised discrete technology and Regency-style design. Although proposed as a wing, each room has its own personality. Fiona Thompson, Principal of Richmond International explains, “The rooms all feature a collection of artwork. Architecturally, the rooms have reference to, as the name suggests, the Regency era, but no two rooms are exactly the same.”
The hotel has launched two new deluxe products, The Sterling Suite and The Langham Club Lounge, both of which combine classic sophistication with modern sensibility, which resemble The Langham’s long heritage.
Setting a suite standard
Following up from the 236-square-metre Infinity Suite, the hotel welcomes the six-bedroom, 450 square-metre Sterling Suite to the mix. Complete with a luxurious dining room, home theatre lounge and master bedroom, the suite is beautifully furnished with bespoke pieces with gold of silver leaf hand-painted finishes, stunning marble and antique mirror work.
Separate from conventional suites, the communal area can adapt to the guest’s needs. Thomspon explains,” The living space opens up to become a large entertainment area or closes off to reveal separate rooms. Sliding screens allow the space to open and close in different ways depending on the guest’s preference.”
The drawing room
At the heart of the suite, a pale-inimitable dual-tone piano balances in the corner of the drawing room. With windows on three sides and a selection of blue-grey armchairs and dove-grey sofas, the space generates a calm, airy and easy-living atmosphere. A bespoke marble fireplace and a butler’s bar offer the ideal British contemporary setting.
Among the potential six bedrooms within in the new suite, the magnificent master bedroom leads The Sterling Suite into a league of its own. “The suite can be adjusted to house one to six rooms. Again, it offers flexibility,” says Thompson. With a master salon area, plush en-suite bathroom and lavish dressing area, it features hand-painted chinoiserie on silver-leaf panels and verre-eglomise glass with Gilded-age details. The suite exhibits 20 artworks sourced and commissioned from all over the world.
The Langham Club Lounge
Inspired by the private clubs of the Victorian era, The Langham’s Club Lounge is exclusive, modern and very comfortable. “Beforehand, the hotel had a small executive lounge. The idea [behind the Club Lounge] was to create a true superior space that offered distinct added benefit to the guests that chose to stay in the Regent Wing.” Says Thompson.
In line with the sumptuous interior design provided by Richmond International, Walsh Greene Art Consultancy were asked to exclusively curate the art collection for the Club Lounge as well as the Sterling Suite.
The art that has been selected for the Club Lounge is bold yet sophisticated and may take some looking into to find its true meaning and origin. For example, a grey puzzle-like piece sits above two writing desks. One might notice the faint vein-like lines running through the piece, but stand closer and guests start to identify the aerial map of London, and still they are oblivious to the fact that the theory behind the piece dives deeper.
“The concept comes from an artist called Eric Fischer. Yes, it’s a map of London. But it has been created with individual dashes. It represents the places in London [tourist attractions] that were most photographed over one month. Each dash signifies one photograph that was taken.” Greene and Walsh explain.
Guests are greeted into the space by one of the most famous fashion photographs in Britain today. Tim Walker’s photograph of Lily Donaldson is British, contemporary and somewhat quirky – so much so that it featured in British Vogue March 2009. Also, an original collage by Peter Clark makes up the image of a British Bulldog and Norman Parkinson’s famous 1951 ‘Art for Travel’ photo-shoot for Vogue is also on show. As well as historical masterpieces, emerging artists Charming Baker and Katherine Morling’s work will also be represented, along with a magnificent portrait of Noel Coward, once a regular of the hotel, photographed by Loomis Dean.
With contemporary British interiors and bespoke furniture throughout, the area provides a true and up-to-date sense of luxury. Thompson explains, “Being on the upper floor, there is a distinct separation from the other public areas in the hotel. It has been designed to give executive guests a private space to sit and relax and is open throughout the day.”
150 years old, The Langham London has reinvented its most prestigious rooms and welcomed two new areas of the building. Taking on the challenge, Thompson concludes, “It’s nice to have these moments when working in the hospitality industry. [The anniversary] has created a buzz around the property, which adds to the design process.”