Ever since 1865, when the first Langham Hotel opened in Victorian London, the name has been synonymous with high end luxury, elegance and service.
Chicago’s Langham Hotel continues the tradition. The fourth of its U.S. properties, the hotel has 316 rooms that occupy the first 13 floors of today’s AMA Plaza (formerly IBM Building). A prime location along the Chicago River makes it perfect for walking to all the iconic Windy City landmarks.
The hotel’s entry on North Wabash Avenue is interesting (if abit underwhelming during the day) to say the least. But at the door, well-dressed and friendly concierge-types are warm and welcoming–directing guests past the first floor lobby furniture that is more for looks than lounging–and to the elevators for the second-floor check-in desk and lobby.
This is where I found the spectacularly sleek and beautiful lobby setting that I was expecting. Beautiful European glass baubles hang from high above –glittering in the sunlit flooded space (floor to ceiling windows) over stylish contemporary sitting settings.
But that was only the beginning of this luxury hotel experience. I did not check in at this desk because I was informed I had been upgraded to the 12C Langham Club Lounge floor.
This meant another elevator ride to 12C—where a separate and private check-in (and check-out) desk is devoted only to Club Lounge guests. While checking in here, I was offered a glass of Champagne by one of the private butler staff (formally attired in balck tailcoats) before being escorted to my room.
Being on this floor also gave me access to its private dining area where complimentary breakfast (i.e. organic scrambled eggs, smoked bacon, fresh fruit), afternoon tea (i.e. assorted sandwiches and sweets) and evening cocktails and canapés (i.e. shrimp cocktail, brand name liquors, wine) are all part of the package.
In the private lounge area adjacent to the dining area, a spectacular view of the Chicago River is another perk.
The night I was there, it was also the perfect place to watch the fireworks from the Navy Pier (thanks to one of the butler staff, Tommy, who informed guests about the event).
My room on the 12 C floor had a 55-inch flat-screen television, tons of walk in closet space plus a separate small dressing table and chair—with mirror and vanity. Free wi-fi plus complimentary pressing of 3 garments on arrival and late check-out are also offered to Langham Club Level guests.
But it was all the extra smaller splurge-y details that warmed my play-at-princess heart: pink satin hangers in the closet, a lavender-scented sleep pillow on request (yes, I requested), a beautiful pen and creamy pink-edged stationary. Even the bedside stand’s drawer yielded a surprise: a special edition Alice in Wonderland book. (The book was published in 1865, the same year the Langham opened its doors–which is noted on the back of the book, along with an invitation from Langham to embark “on our own journey of discovery and indulgence.”) Another night, Carlos, another butler, left a tin of Garrett’s Chicago Mix popcorn on the table in my room. These are all part of the details and attention that make the Langham and the 12C what it is.
The room also sported quite possibly the coolest credenza that transformed into a minibar, where a Nespresso machine magically seemed to appear—with a tray of real cups, teas and coffees.
In the bathroom, I loved the luxuriously thick bath sheet towels emblazoned with an “L”, the terry cloth robe and soft slippers. Chuan Spa amenities from the hotel’s spa are lovely, as are the two sinks, walk-in shower and the deepest soaking tub I’ve ever been in—with bath salts provided. Next to the tub, the wall that separated it from the bedroom was actually an ingenious window panel that could be opened to the room with a flip of the switch, if so desired.
The dining room Travelle (a play on the word ‘travel’) is on the second floor of the hotel and has an almost swanky mid-century look. I liked the glassed in kitchen that gave me a glimpse at food preparation (the menu features chef Tim Graham’s contemporary spin on Mediterranean fare) without all the clanging and banging noise from an open facility. A handcrafted cocktail in the adjacent bar and lounge –separated from the restaurant by a wall of wine, is a great spot too, overlooking Chicago city lights. After a day out exploring (okay, shopping) the Windy City, I found the Afternoon Tea with Wedgwood, served in the Pavilion Lounge on the second floor as well—a welcome respite. A glass of bubbles, plus a great selection of teas, including several house blends were served along with the traditional 3-tiered trays of sweets and savories–as tasty as they were pretty.
If I had been so inclined, there’s also a health club with a swimming pool, a gym and a Jacuzzi, plus sauna and steam room near the hotel’s Chuan Spa and which can be used with or without a spa treatment for hotel guests.
All of this luxury and service doesn’t come without a price tag, of course. Room rates start at $395–not so bad when you consider you’re being treated like royalty during your stay.
Review and photos by Donna Tabbert Long who was a guest of the hotel.