Hotel check: The Langham Melbourne

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What’s it like?

As one of the most respected hotels in town, this elegant lodging on the banks of the Yarra River overlooks the city’s sparkling skyline. From this vantage point, sunrises are spectacular with hot air balloons in the distance, and sunsets are equally stunning from the top-floor Aria restaurant or club lounge. Guests glide up the escalators from the porte-cochère entrance to find a classy lobby bedecked with water fountains and glossy furnishings befitting a palace. Reception is swift and personable, thanks to efficient staffers. An especially notable feature is the swimming pool terrace that offers an excellent perch from which to survey the river.

Where is it?

In the prized Southbank area, the hotel is steps away from business offices, the National Gallery of Victoria, excellent shopping and dining, and easy public transportation from Flinders Street station across the river. Buses from the airport conveniently deposit travellers at the hotel’s front door, but taxis are also just a bellman’s whistle away.

Room facilities

Equipped with nearly 400 of Melbourne’s finest accommodations, the Langham is a hot spot for both business and leisure travellers. Recently remodelled from top to bottom, rooms sport fresh carpeting, pillowtop queen mattress beds with thick duvets, and multiple pillows of various thickness. Desks, well-positioned by the windows, have chairs on either side, so that travellers can choose whether to watch the flat-screen cable TVs or survey the city’s active landscape sprawling in front of the hotel. An armchair and ottoman can also be turned towards the window. The bathrooms feature powerful showers with scented toiletries in glass shower stalls. Deep-soaking tubs, robes, and puffy slippers are appreciated. Mini-bars, full-length mirrors, safes, and wired and wireless high-speed Internet are also in place. International adaptor plugs are stored in the mini-bar free of charge. The Langham Club rooms boast access to a classy 24th floor club lounge, with complimentary breakfast and evening snacks and cocktails. Staffers are as welcoming as local friends, and Internet-equipped computers with printers are readily available. Extra services like free pressing of clothes, turndown service with bottled water, and free Internet are worth the slight uptick in rates for Club rooms. Request one of the 11 rooms that feature outdoor terraces, for the best views of the city.

Restaurants & Bars

Melba is the hotel’s signature buffet restaurant with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Yarra River. Interactive kitchens keep guests entertained from breakfast to dinner with international cuisine, fresh cooked-to-order meals, and even a popular chocolate fountain. Especially notable is the gluten-free menu. Aria is located atop the hotel with amazing views and a culinary team that sources organic ingredients from the local market for the illustrious international menu. Room service keeps a regular delivery schedule perfect for jetlagged travellers.

Business & Meeting facilities

The hotel’s conference facilities encompass nine boardrooms/ballrooms, all with the latest business technology. Wireless high-speed Internet access in the public areas makes connecting with colleagues easy.

Verdict

The fact that this hotel sits across the river from the Central Business District is a major plus, which keeps it out of congestion but in the heart of the action. Langham’s exclusive Chuan Spa engages both guests and locals with its indoor heated pool and jacuzzi overlooking the city’s skyline. Colour therapy steam rooms, saunas, massage and beauty treatments, and therapeutic rain showers are part of the relaxation experience. Be sure to take advantage of the free iPad rental from the front desk if you leave your laptop behind. This full-service operation takes notice of the little details that make a big difference.

Contact

Address: One Southgate Ave, Southbank, Melbourne, +00 61 3 8696 8888, langhamhotels.com

Ramsey Qubein