The Langham, Auckland

Auckland is the main international gateway to New Zealand, and many travellers start their trip here. The city is situated towards the top of the North Island, and is home to a third of the country’s population (1.5 million people). The Langham Auckland is the luxury hotel of choice for the city’s most prestigious visitors, but despite its grandeur and prestige, the pretty-in-pink Langham has rooms that are indulgent and yet affordable.

I know the Langham brand well, and was looking forward to my stay here. After a stressful flight delay it was calming to know I would be well looked after at the hotel. My executive corner room on the seventh floor was spacious for city accommodation. The room was sensibly arranged, lavishly decorated with the highest quality materials. I found the bed was instantly inviting, topped with a thick duvet and plumped pillows, and had a wonderfully immersive nights sleep. The petite bathroom was stocked with Zambeli toiletries from Sydney. The small space managed to snugly fit a combined bath-shower, but here the design felt more dated.

While you are staying treat yourself to the delectable Afternoon Tea in the Palm Court. I tried the signature tea with Wedgewood crockery and blended loose teas. The occasion began with a glass of the finest Louis Roederer Rosé Vintage Champagne before the extravagant food arrived. The cake stand was filled with gourmet sandwiches, savoury delicacies and pretty patisseries. My highlights were the unique Cold vichyssoise with smoked venison, delicate Tonka bean mille feuille and the freshly baked plain and lemon scones. Each component was carefully constructed and looked beautiful, an exciting variety of tastes and textures. The food was accompanied with a pot of signature Palm Court Exotic Blend, a delicious pale pink floral tea.

When I stayed, the Langham Auckland was also home to two members of the British royal family, proving that this palatial property is even fit for a (future) King.

More information and book a room at The Langham Auckland here.

The Langham Hotel, London

The Langham is one of London’s most celebrated hotels. It is located on Regent Street, seconds away from fabulous flagship stores and beautiful boutiques.

Grandiose and imposing, the entrance filled me with excitement. I had heard ravishing rumours about this English institution but never visited before. On this calm Sunday night business guests were systematically checking in ready for big meetings the following morning, while leisure guests and tourists checked out, sad to be ending their sojourn. We happily handed over our heavy bags and went straight to the renowned cocktail bar to sample the concoctions.

Inside, the Langham is very civilised – visitors mill around in smart suits and stylish outfits. Our lavishly decorated suite was sumptuous and stunning, I spent at least ten minutes exploring every feature and marvelling at the fine detailing. The muted pink and cream traditional décor is uniform throughout the hotel and is elegant and attractive. Decorative artwork adds flourish and pattern to the walls, whilst the carpet bears an ornate design. The formal desk is business-like though the writing equipment is very floral!

The bathroom was regal and indulgent, marble everywhere polished and glinting in the light. There was a huge bath to soak and a powerful shower for a quick cleanse. I loved the Chuan Spa toiletries which are made specially for the hotel.

Thoughtful touches could be noticed elsewhere in the room too: fruit, macaroons and flowers all for our enjoyment. Everything is pretty and immaculate, but the Langham also ensure service and quality is of the highest quality. The bed was huge and blissfully comfortable and the towels soft enough to cuddle.

Breakfast is served downstairs, white tablecloths and fine cutlery dress the tables, small bunches of pink roses adding colour. Croissants were flaky and buttery and the coffee suitably strong. I was happy to stick to the buffet array though the cooked breakfasts smelt delicious as they wafted past to nearby tables.

Memorable and magnificent… the Langham is traditional but trendy, the management obviously feel it is their duty to provide every guest with the most luxurious stay London has to offer.

More information and book a room at The Langham: london.langhamhotels.co.uk

Artesian Bar, London

The Artesian Bar at the prestigious Langham Hotel has had a long reign as reputedly the World’s best cocktail bar. Having visited so many of Europe’s best cocktail caves, I feel I am now an expert examiner in this field and had my critical faculties alert for my recent visit. It is said that London’s best mixologists are to be found behind the bars in hotels and it is with the classic recipes that they really excel. At the Artesian Bar you will taste a superior Martini, Manhattan and Mojito… the best spirits, the coldest ice and perfect technique.

I was most excited about experiencing the innovative and artistic creations of which Artesian are so proud. The bar area is a big contrast to the lush pink decor in the rest of the hotel… dimmed lighting, low key music and a host of smart and polite bar staff. We sat quietly observing our surroundings and marvelling at the glowing assortment of bottles behind the bar.

Soon snacks arrived, delicate and delectable, to nibble on whilst we sipped our drinks. If you choose to be adventurous and try the experimental Artesian concoctions you will be given the clever wheel of cocktails chart, a bespoke butterfly themed menu from which to choose. Here the recipes are split up into categories dependant on flavour, strength and aroma: woody and deep, delicate and delicious, oriental and floral, fruity and refreshing, fresh and sexy and rich and aromatic.

We tried a variety, each one entirely different from the last both in taste and look. ‘Above & Beyond’ was an unforgettable revelation, a strong but balanced drink, it arrived with a collection of anecdotes. A plastic pillow that you are invited to burst and smell (a deep scent drifts from the plastic), and inside a little gift: a bag of worry dolls from a remote village in Guatemala! It was an intricate mix of flavours, apparently involving banana, coffee and Zacapa 23. I couldn’t discern any of these flavours instead it was a wonderfully balanced smokey and strong drink that soothed the throat. ‘Forever Young’ is inspired by The Story of Dorian Grey and is served behind a mirrored vessel with opium-scented incense. With eucalyptus, Grey Goose and maraschino as ingredients, it is refreshing and intriguing with a citrusy edge.

‘Perfume’ is a simpler drink, a winner for girls wishing to try something interesting but delicious. The Ketel one and Lillet Vetiver based cocktail is topped with an edible flower and perfumed paper. If you want to sample the menacing and tropical looking skull ask for an ‘Aqui Estoy’ which is part of the fruity and refreshing group.

We experienced a thrillingly delicious evening of cocktail mastery. Artesian Bar continues to experiment and explore cocktail creativity and definitely deserves the title of top cocktail bar.

More information here: www.artesian-bar.co.uk