The property originally opened in 1907 as the Hotel Wentworth, but was plagued with an unfortunate succession of floods, earthquakes and financial problems, forcing it to close until it could be reopened in 1914. Over the years, the hotel has been taken over by several brands including Sheraton (1954) and Ritz-Carlton (1991). In 2008, Langham Hospitality Group purchased the property and instigated a multimillion renovation of restaurants The Royce and The Tap Room, as well as The Huntington Spa and cottage guest rooms. The hotel celebrated its 100 years of hospitality in 2014.
WHERE IS IT?
It is located in the upscale residential area of Pasadena, a 20-minute drive from downtown Los Angeles and a 45-minute drive from Los Angeles International Airport.
WHAT’S IT LIKE?
The leafy Oak Knoll neigbourhood is a beautifully quiet and peaceful setting to retreat after a day of meetings. The hotel itself is simply stunning with its century-old classic European architecture and sprawling 23-acre grounds. We arrived on a chilly December day and were met by a blast of warmth in the lobby, which is elegantly appointed with classic European furnishings and grand chandeliers. Decked almost exclusively in luxurious creams and whites, the light tones were enhanced by large French windows overlooking an inner courtyard that allowed light to flood the lobby.
For me, the charm of the property is its historic quality and sensitive dedication to upholding its classical décor. Even the lift, for example, is surrounded in old-style wood and emits a “ding” when passing each floor.
My enormous (80-odd sqm) one-bedroom Huntington Suite on level 4 continued with this classic theme, with vintage, wooden furnishings, antique decorations and historic prints adorning the walls. Large windows ensured the room was well-lit with natural sunshine, while a small balcony was present to soak up the verdant views leading towards the city.
A spacious worktable in the living room is well-equipped with power outlets and USB ports, plus an adaptor for out-of-town guests, which was appreciated. A kettle, teabags and coffee machine were also located nearby.
The bedroom was also generously sized, with a comfortable poster bed in the centre, though the ventilation system was quite noisy.
The bathroom has also been super-sized. A long corridor leads to a toilet and standing shower at one end, while a bathtub and the basin are at the other end. Gorgeous-smelling Chuan Spa bath kits were provided, along with a second adapter for guest use.
Complimentary wifi is available for all guests. I had trouble connecting to the internet initially, but a staff member quickly came to fix the problem after a call.
The Club Lounge is located on level 8, operating from 6.30am to 9pm (or until 10pm Fri to Sun). It’s not a large lounge, but the more modest size lends itself to a more homey feeling. The breakfast buffet selection, however, is extensive: from fresh salmon to scrambled eggs and fruit.
FOOD & DRINKS
There are three restaurants and a bar. I dined at the high-end Royce Wood-Fired Steakhouse one evening, a cosy, dimly lit venue with grand high-backed chairs. I ordered the 16oz bone-in ribeye steak, which was absolutely delicious: juicy and flavourful. Other venues include The Lobby Lounge, serving its classic afternoon tea, and The Tap Room, the hotel bar with a good wine and cocktail list and a beautiful garden view from the heated terrace.
The hotel has more than 4,645 sqm of meeting and event space, ranging from the 34 sqm The Georgian Petite to the 1,042 sqm Huntington Ballroom.
Extensive leisure facilities include three tennis courts, an outdoor heated salt pool, Japanese garden and a Horseshoe Garden behind the building. A gym and a spa are located in separate building next to the entrance. I tried the whole-body Chuan Balancing Massage, which was incredibly relaxing, and followed this with a comfortable rest period on a waterbed.
This building may be over a century old, but the renovation has brought the facilities up to date and ensured the high standards remain, while excellent service never goes out of style. Its prime location, tucked away in a sleepy residential area is ideal for relaxing, while the city is just a 20-minute zip away.
Quiet and relaxing environment.
A trip to Chuan Spa
Rates for a mid-week stay in a Huntington Suite in April start from US$575 per night, inclusive of taxes.