Tried & Tested

Hotel check: The Langham

31 Dec 2014 by Tom Otley

WHAT’S IT LIKE?

One of the best-known hotels in Hong Kong, and one of the longest established having opened under another brand in 1989, it became the Langham in 2003. I’ve stayed there several times over the past couple of decades, and it’s been interesting to watch the gradual changes that have taken place. 

The brand is now well known all over the world as a result of international expansion, with the return ofThe Langham, London certainly raising the profile in the UK market. The Hong Kong hotel has undergone several improvements at a cost of US$30 million, the most recent being the renovation of 230 rooms (130 of which have been completed, the remaining 100-plus get their turn this summer). There have also been improvements to public areas, but the lobby is still European-inspired with marble, Austrian-made chandeliers, intricate flower arrangements and a bar with an extensive range of vodkas and a grand piano playing in the evenings.

WHERE IS IT?

On Peking Road in the heart of Kowloon (Tsim Sha Tsui), only a few minutes’ walk from the Star Ferry and Mass Transit Railway, and 40 minutes’ drive from the Hong Kong airport. There are countless shops within a 10-minute walk, including those in the huge Harbour City mall, which has dozens of upmarket boutiques, all in air-conditioned, covered comfort. If you want a more authentic Kowloon shopping experience, the tailors’ touts offering you bespoke suits every step of your way to the MTR train station will satisfy. 

ROOM FACILITIES

The 498 rooms and suites over 16 floors all have air conditioning, satellite TV and pay-movies, a desk area, voicemail and wifi (free, though high-speed access for videos and so on is HK$120/US$15 for 24 hours). 

Two room categories have been renovated: Langham Club rooms and Grand Langham Rooms. Both of these have access to the Club Lounge on the 11th floor. Other rooms have not been renovated, and begin with the entry-level Classic Room (30sqm).

I stayed in a newly renovated Langham Club Room (36sqm) with a minibar and finished with Macassar ebony and polished nickel, a faux fireplace with logs, and a light, attractive theme. That said, there’s no work desk, but instead a circular table with two armchairs – good for doing 30 minutes’ work, but uncomfortable for much longer. Better for business travellers would be the newly renovated Grand Langham Room (34sqm), which shares the same elegant style and has the faux fireplace, new white marble bathroom and minibar cabinet but also a work desk. 

The hotel’s club floor (the 11th) has also been renovated and offers complimentary breakfast, all-day snacks and refreshments, afternoon tea, evening cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, internet access and a large selection of local magazines and newspapers.

BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILITIES

The business centre is fully equipped, with services including photocopying, notary and accounting, word processing, interpretation and translation, and secretarial services, though the club floor can offer a simpler service without extra charge. There are several meeting rooms with audiovisual equipment including a LCD projector, slide projector with infrared remote control, overhead projector, wireless broadband internet connection and ISDN line for video-conferencing. The basement Grand Ballroom is styled after a European Palace with crystal chandeliers and golden silk walls, though it also has a full video-projection system installed. 

RESTAURANTS AND BARS

There are four restaurants. T’ang Court is a Michelin-starred Chinese restaurant, which will be renovated in 2015; the Bostonian serves American food and has an impressive seafood buffet; the Food Gallery has buffet food from 6.30am until 11.30pm (midnight on the weekends); while Main Street Deli is a faithful recreation of New York’s 2nd Avenue Deli. 

The newly renovated Palm Court has a full afternoon tea “with Wedgwood” – serving teas in tailor-made Langham Rose  Wedgwood chinaware, with tea sommeliers receiving training from the Wedgwood Academy. As an extention of Palm Court, the hotel has recently brought in a bar concept from London: Artesian. It features an art deco-style decor and a fireplace, as well as Bourbon-based concoctions and gin and tonic specialities.

LEISURE FACILITIES

There is a large health club on the 15th floor open 24 hours a day and set over two levels, as well as an outdoor pool area. This will be renovated in 2015, with a Chuan Spa (the Langham spa brand) added.

VERDICT

Great service, and the new rooms are lovely to look at. Some may prefer the more traditional rooms (Classic, Deluxe and Grand Rooms) and these work well for business travellers, so the choice is yours – great location and good to have free wifi. 


FACT FILE

  • HOW MANY ROOMS? 498 rooms
  • HIGHLIGHTS Free wifi, great location and excellent service as well as now a great choice of rooms from the traditional to newly refurbished.
  • PRICE Best internet rates for a Langham Club Room at the end of January started from HK$2,465 (US$318). 
  • CONTACT Langham Hotel, 8 Peking Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, tel +852 2375 1133; langhamhotels.com


Tom Otley


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