Mark­ing an­niver­sary in real five-star style

KAREN BRITTON finds out what life is like when stay­ing in one of Lon­don’s finest ho­tels The Lang­ham

Macclesfield Express - - TRAVEL -

“HAPPY an­niver­sary” she said as we en­tered the grand din­ing room. It was a year to the mo­ment that we had first met, in a bar back home in Chorl­ton.

And, a year on, things can’t be bad as we were in the gor­geous Roux at the Lan­dau fine din­ing restau­rant at The Lang­ham ho­tel in Lon­don, the restau­rant by celebrity chef Michel Roux and fa­ther Al­bert.

The five-star ho­tel was opened in 1865 by the Prince of Wales and boasts an en­vi­able lo­ca­tion at the top of Re­gent Street. It’s stun­ning. Ev­ery corner looks ex­pen­sive. At first we won­dered if we were mak­ing the place look un­tidy, but soon we felt very wel­come.

What a way to mark our first year and we’d made our­selves look the part for our din­ner in the restau­rant.

Af­ter our friendly wel­come, we were shown to our ta­ble. A ‘happy an­niver­sary’ card from the team sat on one of the best ta­bles in the room. They were mak­ing such a fuss of us. And we set about try­ing to fit in with this fine es­tab­lish­ment.

And while cer­tainly fancy, the ser­vice, as we’d found at the ho­tel, was warm and wel­com­ing, but in a gen­uine way, not an ir­ri­tat­ing over-pol­ished way. It was friendly yet slick.

As we worked through our three cour­ses we no­ticed how smooth the ser­vice was.

We barely no­ticed when the right cut­lery ap­peared for our next course and staff re­spon­si­ble for each dif­fer­ent job moved grace­fully around the room.

My starter was sea bream ce­viche with av­o­cado, lime and radish salad and my plus one went for a cre­ative­lyp­re­sented ‘crisp hen egg’ op­tion.

For main I had lamb ’barigoule’, ar­ti­chokes, green harissa and sweet pep­per chut­ney and his was roast John Dory and gnoc­chi with the most de­li­cious shell­fish sauce we’ve ever had. The silky tex­ture was stun­ning and the staff pleased us with an ex­tra serv­ing.

I think they picked up on our en­thu­si­asm for the whole ex­pe­ri­ence.

My plus one didn’t wait for the dessert menu be­fore ask­ing if they had choco­late ice cream. I gave him a stare. Our wait­ress said ‘of course, but take a look at our dessert menu too’, be­fore bring­ing us the desserts we picked - and a spe­cial side of choco­late ice cream - again the best ice cream we’ve eaten with­out a doubt.

And they didn’t flinch when he asked for an­other scoop – although I may have.

Our desserts were pis­ta­chio souf­flé with rasp­berry sor­bet and caramelia mousse, bit­ter choco­late, with Pe­dro Ximenez ice-cream.

At around £140 for the food, plus wine – served to us by a som­me­lier, who clearly did not mess about when it comes to wine – I won­dered just how fancy food can be un­til it just be­comes over­priced.

The prices are el­e­vated, but it’s Lon­don, of course, and it was a fan­tas­tic ex­pe­ri­ence in a stun­ning build­ing.

Noth­ing was too much trou­ble and I know it’s five star and you ex­pect to be treated, to get what you pay for, but it re­ally felt like we could ask for any­thing and it wouldn’t be a has­sle.

We were spoiled through­out and left walk­ing on air af­ter our an­niver­sary din­ner.

The restau­rant is one of three din­ing op­tions in the ho­tel. The Palm Court is an­other, the ul­ti­mate grand tea room. Sat gaz­ing out at the beau­ti­ful room at break­fast, I soaked up the at­mos­phere.

It’s ap­par­ently ‘where the tra­di­tion of af­ter­noon tea be­gan’, we were told. And from the civilised set­ting, I could see why, with its sump­tu­ous cush­ioned booths, tin­kling pi­ano and gen­tle chat­ter.

The other din­ing op­tion is The Lang­ham Club Lounge, with free-flow­ing Cham­pagne and canapes, fresh baked cook­ies, af­ter­noon tea, all to have when you fancy. It’s a sanc­tu­ary, I thought, as I sat en­joy­ing a glass of fizz, bub­bles zip­ping up the glass in the sun­light.

And then there’s the bar Arte­sian, a cocktail bar which has won ‘World’s Best Bar’ four years in a row and is a des­ti­na­tion bar for Lon­don­ers.

This sum­mer the bar is be­ing joined by a new pub, de­scribed as a ‘post mod­ern in­ter­pre­ta­tion of the tra­di­tional English pub’.

The ho­tel is also get­ting a new spa, named the ‘Chuan Body + Soul’ spa, which in­cor­po­rates an­cient prin­ci­ples of tra­di­tional Chi­nese medicine into its treat­ments, with gym, wet rooms, steam and sauna fa­cil­i­ties as well as the swim­ming pool.

It’s all in the heart of Lon­don, just op­po­site the BBC in the heart, be­tween Maryle­bone, Fitzrovia, May­fair and Soho with ac­cess to the shops and restau­rants of Re­gent Street and Bond Street and a short stroll to Re­gent’s Park.

We en­joyed the city in bright sun­shine all week­end, mak­ing us re­alise again that Lon­don is only two hours on the train from Manch­ester and why don’t we do this more of­ten?

The buzz of the city is an­other level. I still find it an ad­ven­ture.

If you want to treat your­self, head to The Lang­ham. It’s dreamy, re­ally gor­geous.

You rarely have nights you’ll re­mem­ber for­ever, but I won’t for­get our an­niver­sary din­ner at The Lang­ham. It sounds cheesy but it felt like some­thing out of a film.

We were made to feel re­ally spe­cial, if only for the week­end.

You need mo­ments like that ev­ery now and again.

The Lang­ham’s fine din­ing restau­rant

One of the op­u­lent bed­rooms

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