Friday, November 11, 2011

My Dinner With Oscar Wilde

My Dinner With Oscar Wilde
The Langham Hotel, London

by R. Couri Hay

Not only the city's first 'Grand Hotel,' but also the first in all of Europe, the Langham Hotel opened in London's West End in 1865. Awe-inspiring even by modern standards, the hotel enchanted Victorian high society with its lavish comforts and unmatched luxury. Today, it stands as the flagship of Langham Hotel's 21 five-star properties, attracting royalty, politicians, business leaders and celebrities including Sarah Jessica Parker, Collin Farrell, Alicia Keys, Dame Julie Andrews and the late Princess Diana and Amy Winehouse.

Oscar Wilde and Arthur Conan Doyle dined with their publisher in 1889 in the hotel's famed Artesian Bar, striking the deals that would produce Wilde's "The Picture of Dorian Gray" and the Sherlock Holmes series. The hotel was even the setting for several Sherlock Holmes stories, including "A Scandal in Bohemia" published in 1889, and more recently a backdrop in the James Bond film "GoldenEye."
The Langham's historic Grand Ballroom, which holds up to 375 guests for a reception.
The most recent phase of renovations to the hotel included the addition of Europe's first Chuan Spa.
When the Langham opened, it was one of the largest public buildings in London with seven floors, 600 rooms and over 300 restrooms. It also had the first-ever hydraulic lifts and was first hotel in London with air-conditioning and a 365-foot deep artesian well beneath the hotel for a consistent supply of fresh water.

The Langham has recently completed a stunning $126 million restoration that took over five years to complete. The transformation has created 380 luxurious guestrooms and suites, and 15 function rooms including the Langham's historic Grand Ballroom. There are all new common areas and an elegant new décor in the Palm Court – the room famed as the place where the tradition of afternoon tea in a grand hotel was born.
The Artesian bar.
Main dining room at the Landau.
The Landau's private dining room, Postillion.
The most recent phase of renovations to the hotel included the addition of Europe's first Chuan Spa, which incorporates the ancient principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine into its signature treatments, ambience and décor. The spa offers a range of treatments, which combine unique elements from Chuan and Thalgo treatment ranges. It also features a fully equipped fitness centre with Technogym cardio and resistance equipment, free weights and a 52 ft. swimming pool located in a former bank vault.

When not being pampered, guests enjoy outstanding meals at the Landau. Chef de cuisine Chris King in Roux at the Landau offers the finest contemporary European dishes, with the best of British ingredients and a few twists. Drinks are served at the Artesian, the glamorous cocktail bar of The Langham, which combines exotic Orientalism with contemporary touches. The remarkable lounge is named after the 360ft-deep artesian well under the hotel, and specializes in rum creations. Both The Landau and Artesian are the creations of internationally renowned British architect and interior designer David Collins, who has created rooms for Madonna's London house.
Regent Suite Bedroom.
Grand 1-Bedroom Suite.
The luxurious guestrooms available in the hotel include five varieties of suites unmatched in ambiance, design and amenities. The most notable of them is the Infinity Suite. This unparalleled accommodation overlooks the All Souls Church with spacious rooms and high ceilings making it arguably the finest and largest two-bedroom suite in London. Other Langham suite options include the Grand Junior, and the Regent Suites. A tribute to the hotel's neighbor, the BBC, Langham Club Studio Suites celebrate two entertainment legends: the late actor and comedian Peter Sellers, and the violinist and conductor, Yehudi Menuhin, both of whom have stayed and performed at The Langham.
Infinity Suite.
Classic 1-Bedroom Suite Lounge.
Grand Room.
One of London's brightest crown jewels, The Langham Hotel has offered luxury, sophistication and history for almost 150 years. For more information and reservations visit www.london.langhamhotels.co.uk.