The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Travel -

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.bos­ton.lang­hamho­

Clas­sic lines: Lang­ham Ho­tel

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