One of the first noticeable elements of the Langham New York – aside from the Meyer Davis-designed sweeping black and cream paneled lobby, dramatic staircase featuring the Falling White sculpture, and a two-way fireplace – are the large portraits by American artist Alex Katz. With 11 original works and 250 reprints hanging throughout the property, the rich stylization and bold – but realistic – use of colour takes particular prominence on the third floor – dubbed “The Gallery”, used for myriad events or simply a wander through the real-life characters in Katz’s New York life constituting the $2 million collection.
Sleek with soaring ceilings, sexy dark wood paneled walls and touches of the Langham’s signature soft pink hue, the clever, signature Langham touch of a permanent art collection – thanks to avid art collector Lo Ka-shui, chairman of Great Eagle Group that owns Langham Hotels International – brings the city edge in.
Langham took over the space in 2013, revealing renovations in 2015 that included revamping the rooms and Chuan Body & Soul Spa, which is the only spa worldwide founded on the tenets of Traditional Chinese Medicine and features specialty treatments and décor such as a Moon Gate. Despite a relatively recent emergence, the involved and unique guest experience has seen it receive the prestigious AAA Five Diamond Award in 2018 – the only hotel in New York to have achieved this level of recognition for providing the highest standards of excellence in luxury, sophistication, comfort and personalised service. And it does this through concise and focused channels.
The 214 guest rooms and suites are generous and ultra-modern in muted tonal palettes that don’t lose Langham’s signature old-world luxury touch. Some of the rooms feature that elegant dark wood paneling to fit out walk-in closets and accent walls that enclose expansive white marble bathrooms with soaking tubs and rainfall showers. These read as chic escapes, where the subtle details, clean lines and Asian-adjacent design simplicity offset by large windows lets the cityscape in without any of the chaos, providing an intimate, wonderfully reclusive sensation.
Other rooms, however, such as three of the multi-bedroom suites, which are also playfully used for bespoke events to shake up the staid nature of ballroom venue culture, embody iconic design, thanks to Roche Bobois revamping the interiors. Each room has a similar feel without mirroring, incorporating strong fashion elements and sleek design tricks that ensure that each glance reveals a new detail – even following multiple stays. Think Furtif desks, Aire lamps, Roche Bobois’s trademark purple illusion sofa, Echoes armchairs, and bespoke Fleur de Fer console tables designed by artist Maurice Barilone.
Aside from reflecting the stunning skypscape from the highest floors of the hotel, smoky vintage mirrors also showcase the sculptural Rondo or Jacques Adenet lamps, Bow accent tables which can turn into serving trays, and Courchevel and Rive Droit beds, fitted with premium cotton from Privilegio Milano (the Langham is nothing if not known for its excellence in creating decadent and unparalleled sleeping experiences). But if stunning interior features aren’t enough, the suites also offer the exclusive possibility of a private chef, or the option to dine in-room on Christofle flatware, china and glassware from LÓbjet, from the hotel’s award-winning Michel-star restaurant, Chef Michael White’s Ai Fiori. The ambiance and tone is smartly and elegantly balanced between luxe and elegant, home-comfort chic.
Culinary delight is a strong Langham pillar – from the suites’ pantries and mini-bars being curated by Chef Michael White, through to the singular eatery, Ai Fiori. Featuring two dining halls with an intimate, discreet atmosphere, the service and kitchen creations are, dare it be said, impeccable and borderline flawless. Its brunch provides simple but indulgent dishes, including soft scrambled eggs with crème fraiche, chives and caviar – which ought to be consumed with a glass of Krug – or 18-month aged prosciutto di parma with melon and arugula salad.
Dinner meanwhile sees the likes of worthwhile prix fixe multi-course menus where dishes such as the Fagottini (mushroom and ricotta ravioli with brussel sprouts, tomato confit and parmigiano) and Anatra (Long Island duck breast with pear, shallot confit, cabbage and black pepper) are not to be missed. In true fine dining tradition, you are also welcomed with an amuse-bouche, experimentally plated desserts including Cioccolato (chocolate mousse, honey bourbon crema and caramelized honey gelato) or profiteroles, which come in the form of a brown butter cake, candied orange and popcorn gelato. Even for those without foodie imaginations, the combinations of flavour is subtle with just the right amount of restrained whimsy and balanced palette that even blindly choosing a dish at random would likely result in success.
Small, thoughtful and consistent touches resonate throughout the Langham experience, beginning with (in the colder months) the lobby’s complimentary assortment of rotating warm drinks and snacks which are simple but effective reprieve, through to friendly but discreet staff, and a “don’t worry about the details, we’ve got it” approach where every need is catered to before you’ve thought of it. But it’s also important to note is that while Langham is an outstanding luxury property, it has its footing firmly on the ground: in 2017 it was recognised as a leader in sustainable tourism and received the Earthcheck Silver Certification for minimising its environmental impact through energy, water and natural resource consumption without affecting providing the highest in standards and mod-cons. City slick, old world luxury, and modern mindfulness all in one? No wonder the Langham is always included as one of the top properties globally.