A dream get­away

A grace­ful ho­tel will make you un­der­stand lux­ury, writes Fiona Byrne

Sunday Herald Sun - Escape - - News -

AS you mo­tor through the quiet tree-lined streets, past el­e­gant homes with man­i­cured lawns be­fore sweep­ing up a grand drive­way, you re­alise some­thing spe­cial awaits at the Lang­ham Hunt­ing­ton Ho­tel & Spa.

Arriving at the so­phis­ti­cated get­away in Pasadena is like tak­ing a serene step back to a by-gone age.

The Lang­ham Hunt­ing­ton Ho­tel & Spa of­fers a lux­ury ex­pe­ri­ence in grace­ful sur­round­ings.

This a true es­cape, where you can find peace and re­lax, be pam­pered and un­wind in first class sur­round­ing, yet be a 30-minute drive from Los An­ge­les.

A Pasadena land­mark, the Lang­ham Hunt­ing­ton Ho­tel & Spa was built in 1906 as the Went­worth Ho­tel. Rail­road ty­coon Henry Hunt­ing­ton bought it in 1911 and re­named it the Hunt­ing­ton Ho­tel.

The ho­tel es­tab­lished a rep­u­ta­tion as a grand re­sort and, 98 years later, the build­ing and its sur­round­ings re­tain that feel­ing of pride and el­e­gance.

There is a sense of old Hol­ly­wood about the ho­tel, with its glam­orous pool and nearby pic­ture bridge.

Be­cause of the pri­vacy and stan­dard of ser­vice, the ho­tel is a favourite of the A-list celebrity set. Des­per­ate Housewives star Mar­cia Cross held her star-stud­ded wed­ding at the prop­erty two years ago.

For my get­away the Ter­race Restau­rant, which over­looks the pool, was a favoured din­ing des­ti­na­tion on warm Cal­i­for­nian evenings. And tak­ing tea in the el­e­gant Lobby Lounge was a treat.

A farewell din­ner at The Din­ing Room was a culi­nary ex­pe­ri­ence to be trea­sured.

The Din­ing Room, un­der the guid­ance of chef de cui­sine Craig Strong, won a Miche­lin Star in 2007.

The ho­tel is a comfortable car ride from most of the main at­trac­tions of LA. Warner Bros stu­dio, where shows such as the mon­ster hit Two and A Half Men are filmed, is 20 min­utes’ drive— and I can rec­om­mend the VIP stu­dio tour.

You can be seated and starspot­ting at the Ivy, the famed Hol­ly­wood eatery, sip­ping a Bellini 30 min­utes af­ter leav­ing the ho­tel lobby. Eat on the out­door ter­race and watch the pa­parazzi swirl looking for celebri­ties, then check out the shop­ping on Robert­son Boule­vard.

But you do not nec­es­sar­ily have to ven­ture back into the city. There is plenty to do in Pasadena.

You could eas­ily spend a day at the fas­ci­nat­ing Hunt­ing­ton Li­brary, Art Col­lec­tion and Botan­i­cal Gar­dens. The gar­dens are breath­tak­ing, and in­clude a small Aus­tralian cor­ner.

Those want­ing a lit­tle re­tail ther­apy can in­dulge in the Old Town Pasadena shop­ping strip, a fiveminute drive from the ho­tel.

Cul­ture vul­tures will be en­tranced by the nearby Nor­ton Si­mon Mu­seum, which houses etch­ings by Rem­brandt and Goya, and graph­ics by Pi­casso.

But you don’t even need to leave the ho­tel.

One of the most unique as­pects of the Lang­ham Hunt­ing­ton is that it is set on 10ha of pri­vate grounds with views of the mag­nif­i­cent San Gabriel moun­tains.

Walk­ing though the Ja­panese gar­den or en­joy­ing sun­sets from the horse­shoe lawn are treats in them­selves.

And then there is the spa. The Hunt­ing­ton Spa is a tran­quil es­cape from the world at large.

The Spa was voted one of the top 10 spas in the US and Canada by the read­ers of Travel + Leisure mag­a­zine, and it is a de­light.

You feel spe­cial to be a guest at the Lang­ham.

The ser­vice is first class, noth­ing is too much trou­ble and for a first­time vis­i­tor to Cal­i­for­nia the staff could not have been more help­ful or in­for­ma­tive when ad­vis­ing where to go and what to do in Pasadena and then Los An­ge­les.

The Hunt­ing­ton, with 380 gue­strooms, suites and cot­tages, evokes the splen­dour of days gone by, and af­ter ex­pe­ri­enc­ing it once, it is a splen­dour I in­tend to re­visit.

An­other world:

The Lang­ham Hunt­ing­ton Ho­tel and Spa in Pasadena, where Des­per­ate Housewives star Mar­cia Cross (inset) be­came a real-life wife.

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