The Langham, Melbourne
Room type: One bedroom suite
Duration: 16th > 17th March, 2018
Booked with: AMEX FHR
We needed a hotel to stay in for an overnighter in between Qualia and Saffire. With the Park Hyatt sold out, the only real candidate appeared to be The Langham.
With a 1 bedroom suite (74 sqm) – their 3rd highest room category – coming in at £350/n, I came in with very, very low expectations. For comparison, in London a 26 sqm room in a 5 star luxury hotel would normally be north of £400/n. Having recently dropped in for a show around of the Four Seasons Sydney and seeing what this country manages to do with luxury hotel chains, I had even lower expectations. The Four Seasons is identical to the tower blocks in Dredd, just with slightly better calligraphy on the building name. It used to be a Regent Hotel, which I think is slang for “prison”.
Yet to my surprise, first impressions were not that bad. Standard Langham smell, with a standard, albeit decent, lobby.
As we queued for reception to check-in, it became obvious why it was priced accordingly. Initially a lady approached us and asked if we were looking to check-in. Great, we thought, she will take us over to the empty desks and do it for now. “Yes”, we replied. “Well, here is a piece of paper with information on the hotel. Dial 1 if you need anything”. And then we stood there, wondering whether we had to shout out “one!”, as we were without phone. After another minute, we are called over to one of the previously vacant check-in desks to do the honours. A bit of keyboard pressing later and we were given our keys to the 20th floor, which is always a floor that screams boutique, personalised luxury.
At the spa, the indoor pool and jacuzzi felt like a caravan park. I was so looking forward to them until I saw them and felt a hazmat suit was more appropriate attire than swimwear. Booking a spa treatment resulted in them pre-authing my card – a first for me. Any property that is so desperate to get your money prior to doing anything is one populated with untrustworthy guests or penny pinching owners.
The room is old and in need of a refurb, but functions as a room should do, with 4 walls and even a ceiling thrown in for added comfort. The separate living area always makes my tingly bits tingle in joy, and they even have managed to fit two toilets in, all without any feelings of cramp. The real selling point is the bathroom, with its large marble bath and jets that replicate a jacuzzi as best one can do without being sued. Yet Grand Designs this was not. Everything felt like you just scratch away at it and suddenly you’re seeing the real picture. Look behind the curtain and see all the wallpaper having peeled off; rejoice at the half-destroyed notepad on the desk; enjoy the stains throughout the room.
During turndown, they knocked and offered water. I started having Four Seasons Johannesburg flashbacks.
Me: “Is that sparkling water?”
Him: “It’s water”
Me: “Yes, but is it sparkling water?”
Him: “Sorry, you want water?”
Me: “Do you have any sparkling water? Is this still water?”
Him: “It’s water”
Alrighty then. I accepted defeat, knowing they would only need me to pay in cash there and then were I to ask for anything outside the norm.
The staff try. At the very least I can say that.
Would I go back? Honestly, I probably would. Sure it’s one of the worst luxury hotels I’ve ever stayed in (and undoubtedly the worst that is part of AMEX FHR), but I’m not going to argue over value for money with them. For a layover, a good choice. To stay here for a few days out of choice? Pass.
I’ll pass on this one for the honeymoon and stick with North Island instead.