The Langham Melbourne oozes old-school luxury
In a city such as Melbourne that prides itself on its youthful culture, there’s something almost subversive about staying at The Langham – a hotel that exemplifies old-school luxury.
Situated on the banks of the Yarra in Melbourne’s city centre, The Langham offers an ultra-central, shamelessly indulgent position from which to explore Australia’s most innovative city; the first to be labelled a UNESCO Creative City, and home to what is arguably the country’s most progressive cultural landscape.
We were visiting Melbourne for a friend’s birthday, and the hyper-feminine, classically luxurious setting made for a ridiculously ritzy, extremely well-situated base.
During our stay, we explored the diverse streets that play host to Melbourne’s urban culture, and then returned to The Langham’s pastel pink, marble-clad embrace.
The essence of The Langham is evident before you even enter – from the pink Langham-branded London taxis that wait for guests at the hotel entrance. Inside, a water fountain cascades across marble between two escalators that carry guests to and from the hotel lobby. An opulent chandelier is suspended from the towering ceiling, reflected by golden gilded mirrors on either side. Across from the reception desk, a polite queue of impeccably dressed women wait for a photo opportunity in a vintage (pastel pink) phone box that’s filled with ultra-realistic faux flowers. It’s all a little bit excessive, and undeniably fun.
From our spacious, traditionally lavish bedroom on the twentieth floor, we watched the city below us through windows that occupied most of the far wall – flanked by plush blackout curtains. Once the novelty of the elevated view had almost worn off, and we’d worked our way through a sizable portion of the beautifully presented plate of petit fours that had been placed in our room along with a welcome note, we donned the robes that hung in the wardrobe and made our way down to the spa.
Get Pampered At The Chuan Spa
Chuan Spa – a warm, low-lit, eucalyptus-scented haven on the hotel’s ninth floor – is widely known as one of the city’s best. With cups of loose-leaf Chinese tea, we made our way between the steam room and the sauna before plunging into the pool to cool off. Housed beneath a striking glass ceiling, The Langham’s pool is notable for its city views as well as its poolside bar service (the cocktail list ranges from traditional martinis to a champagne based, rose essence-infused affair).
After soaking in the hot tub that looks out across the city, we headed up to our room and ordered a bowl of truffle fries, which arrived in minutes on a flower-embellished tray. As well as an excellent room service menu – which ranges from lobster cocktail to vegan meatballs – The Langham is home to two restaurants, which offer the kind of internationally inspired high-end dining experience you’d expect from a luxury hotel of this scale.
The Melba Restaurant
Melba restaurant – a vast space with views across the river – plays host to the daily breakfast and evening buffets and a lunchtime buffet on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. With a sushi chef preparing sashimi to order, pasta specials prepared by hand and other seasonally inspired options ranging from lobster tails in lemon butter to a truffle pumpkin soup, Melba’s buffet is so well executed that it could convert even the most ardent buffet-averse (I count myself among them).
The true standard of The Langham’s chefs though comes to the fore at Aria – a more intimate space with a quieter, more refined dynamic. As well as playing host to The Langham’s famous afternoon teas, Aria is the spot to visit for a cocktail and a plate of blinis with black pearl caviar before heading out for the evening.
Returning to our room after a night out in the city’s inner east, we were greeted by the results of a divinely executed turndown service: the curtains closed to the night, fresh towels in the polished marble bathroom and the perfectly heavy duvet of our king size bed turned down for ease of access after a soak in the pearl white bath.
Every design element and curated touch within the traditionally opulent guest rooms – from the warmth of the lighting to the champagne-stacked minibar – is curated for optimum luxury.
Awaking after a deep sleep, we were unsurprised to learn that the breakfast buffet is a thing of epic proportions. Alongside traditional cooked options and an adept omelette chef preparing eggs to order, options range from a chocolate fountain to a juice bar stocked with fresh fruit and vegetables in every colour.
Pulling yourself away from the breakfast room is made easier by the promise of a swim and a sauna – the perfect way to spend a spare hour in the hotel. On our last day, I booked a massage treatment with one of the Chuan Spa’s excellent therapists. After guiding me through what the treatment would involve – a traditional Chinese method designed to improve relaxation – the therapist asked me to choose which essential oil most appealed. I chose the ‘water’ blend, a mix of essential oils crafted to improve kidney health and aid with clarity of decision-making. Moments into the treatment, my mind was made up that Chuan Spa is worthy of its many accolades. I left feeling as though my cells had been sung a lullaby.
If you’re looking for a hyper-modern hotel that reflects Melbourne’s edge, The Langham is not the one for you. But if you want to experience a luxury hotel stay that defies the decades, look no further.