PAST PERFECT FOR TODAY
THE Langham Hotel, the imposing nine-storey building on Franklin Street, Boston, designed by Richard Clipston Sturgis in 1922 in the style of a 16th-century Roman palace, originally housed Boston’s Federal Reserve Bank.
Patterned after the Palazzo Della Cancellaria in Rome, this was the last building designed in this style in Boston and features a rusticated granite exterior, life-size equestrian statues and a painted dome ceiling.
These days a new boxy glass mansard roof surrounds the top three storeys, and this is where my classic room, with brocade curtains and sloped windows, is situated. The room is long and narrow, with lovely slanted glass running its full length, overlooking the street. Buildings surround the Langham on three sides, so guests feel enveloped by the city. The 325 guestrooms have 153 configurations, including loft suites with two bathrooms.
The Langham manages that hard to pull off blend of historic charm and urban sophistication that, in the wrong hands, means hotchpotch or pastiche. Nothing is worse than oldworld-luxury-meets-postmoderniconoclasm: too much Philippe Starck and you can instantly sense the builtin expiry date.
But the Langham, as with Boston, resonates with the past but is a lively and vigorous hotel, as much new as it is old and, in its best incarnations, a nice integration of the two. Naturally enough, it is a member of the Leading Hotels of the World. www.lhw.com www.boston.langhamhotels.com
Classic lines: Langham Hotel