The Langham, New York, US
On the hunt for a base from which to explore the Big Apple? Enjoying a prime position on NYC’s most prestigious street, this ultra-luxe oasis is a sanctuary for grown-up urbanites
20 February, 2023
They say that some of the best ways to reduce jet lag are to drink plenty of water, to stretch your legs and to sync your sleep schedule to the current time zone. But, in our book, it's a stay at The Langham's New York address that will wipe away any post-flight jitters.
Having opened its first hotel on London's storied Portland Place back in 1865, the Langham Hospitality Group today has a portfolio of 30 properties across some of the world's most magnificent cities. Anchored on the buzzy Fifth Avenue, just a short stroll from some of the Big Apple's most legendary landmarks, the NYC outpost is a landmark in its own right. Built in 2010 as The Setai Fifth Avenue, the property was snapped up by the hoteliers in 2013. Following a comprehensive refurb, the five-star pad is a lesson in what a glamorous getaway means.
We haven't even clambered out of our taxi before our bags are whisked through spotlight-studded revolving doors. After a full day spent travelling, stepping inside the hotel reminds us of how it felt trying on noise-cancelling headphones for the first time: utter bliss. The signature scent (which we later learn is purchasable for your own crib) fills the air with a hint of ginger flower, accompanied by a soft jazz soundtrack. Jet lag? We don't know her.
The Langham skyline view, left, and the lobby space.
The hotel's 234 guest rooms are spread across 61 floors. We'd give you a heads-up on the room types but you'd be here all day. We stayed in an Executive Club, which had enough floor space for us to smash our daily step count - something that is incredibly rare by NYC standards. On entering, we pause to take in the wardrobe space, a walk-in set-up with glass-fronted walnut drawers and enough mirrors for us to live out our Blair Waldorf dreams. Turning a corner, we are taken aback by the number of windows, with not one but eight floor-to-ceiling whoppers presenting flawless views of the Empire State Building - a canvas it would be rude to draw the curtains on. Details such as snug armchairs, a sizable desk and bedside lamps complete with built-in charging ports make for a comfortable stay. The bathroom? An all-white marble oasis with rainforest shower, Olympic-sized tub, dual vanity unit and foldable stools that call for a glam sesh.
What's for dinner?
Ai Fiori, headed up by chef Yoshiyuki Nonaka, sees a fusion of Italian-meets-French greatness plated up in a moody, low-lit setting: think creamy burrata served with a rich tomato chutney, jamón serrano ham and agrodolce, and blue crab spaghetti with calabrian chilli. Dessert-wise, it was the chocolate cake and citrus mousse with an olive oil gelato that sent us to a foodie Eden. There's lots to keep vegetarians and vegans happy, too.
A suite corner, alongside a snapshot of restaurant Ai Fiori.
Is there a bar?
Bar Fiori is where it all goes down. There, award-winning wines and artisan cocktails are served atop a marble counter wrapped in fabulous floral arrangements. It's worth noting, however, that the bar is only open from Thursday to Sunday.
It's breakfast in bed or a trip down to Ai Fiori. Opt for the French toast - all whipped ricotta, cinnamon and seasonal compote - or the smoked salmon, avocado toast, berry-stuffed homemade granola, steel-cut oats and seasonal fruits, bacon and feta omelette, and chef's choice of fresh-from-the-oven pastries all work, also.
Rooms are kitted out with all the essentials: complimentary tea, coffee and cartoned water, a smart TV, hairdryers (that combat bad hair days), super-speedy WiFi and luxurious bath products courtesy of Diptyque. In the spacious fitness studio, a stellar selection of weights and high-tech equipment will knock your sleep pattern back into shape in no time.
The real standout, however, is The Langham Club - a fourth-floor snug serving all-day complimentary refreshments to guests staying in executive club rooms. In the morning, flaky pastries, fresh juices and all sorts of hot stuff is served straight from the kitchen - we loved the poached eggs, perfectly cooked bacon strips and syrup-smothered waffles during our visit. Mid-afternoon brings light snacks and sandwiches, while after dark, cocktails and canapés come out to play. A word to the wise: It's never too early for a glass of bubbles in The Club.
The Langham Club, and a look at the outdoor terrace.
How about their eco-credentials?
Solid, and living proof that it's often the work that goes on behind the scenes that makes the biggest impact. The Langham group is known for its green practices: using energy-efficient lighting, recycled papers and plastics, following food waste programmes and providing biodegradable toiletries. We weren't surprised to learn that the hotel has been awarded the EarthCheck Gold Certification for eight years running.
What about accessibility?
All floors have step-free access, social spaces are roomy and some bedrooms are specially designed for those with reduced mobility.
What's the crowd like?
The silver-haired kind of suave, along with lots of couples and a fair few business travellers. Kids and pups are welcome, but must be kept on a leash in public areas - that applies to the latter, obvs.
The presidential suite, left, and the fitness studio.
Things I should know
There are a handful of hot water dispensers in the lobby and a basket of herbal and non-herbal tea pouches for a cuppa to-go. Those pink water cartons embellished with The Langham's logo? They're complimentary.
Within a short walk I can find…
Everything that concrete jungle dreams are made of. The Empire State Building, Grand Central, Times Square and Central Park are all within walking distance of the hotel's fancy front doors. Already ticked off the tourist stuff? Thrifters should venture a little further afield to the NoHo neighbourhood, where streetwear stores Laced Up and 2nd Street stock secondhand designer threads and killer kicks. For a glass of the chilled stuff, it's over to the Lower East Side's Le Dive or Parcelle. If it's food you're after, then a visit to Chelsea Market will get the job done - we loved the five-layer sandwiches at Friedman's.
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