Right in the heart of the bustling city, The Langham, Chicago offers an oasis of luxury and warmth for travellers who want to indulge in the traditional while experiencing well-thought-out amenities and comforts.
A building designed by architect Mies van der Rohe, it was repurposed in 2013, the first of his buildings to be a hotel. It serves as a gallery inside and on the outer plaza where a sculpture has become a favourite selfie destination.
The experiences at The Langham goes beyond a comfortable bed. Guests can reserve a cinema suite for a private movie night with up to 12 people in comfortable recliners and a 111-inch screen. They can also enjoy a private dining menu or traditional movie snacks such as popcorn.
Their club level has a beautiful view of the city and the boats and kayaks traversing the Chicago River. Food and drinks are always available, and the staff greet each guest by name. In addition to a collection of games from Uno to backgammon, club guests have access to butlers who will pack and unpack suitcases and even draw you a bath.
One of the appealing aspects of the Langham is that even though it is designed for the luxury traveller, it has created space for families from the games in the Club level to the Kids Suite that is open during non-COVID times.
The hotel has 48 suites ranging in luxury and size from 960 square feet to 2,700 square feet with the Infinity Suite featuring a hand-painted grand piano and dining facilities for up to ten people.
We stayed in one of the 268 guestrooms, a deluxe room that was 516 square feet with floor to ceiling windows looking out on the city. The rooms are modern with updated technology. Light switches let you turn on or off all the lights from anywhere in the room.
Rather than having “do not disturb” signs hanging from the doors, there was a button that alerted housekeeping either not to disturb you or to come and clean the room.
The bathroom had a large full-size tub and a rainforest shower next to it. Another delightful element in the bathroom is that with the touch of a button, you could turn the wall dividing the tub and the bedroom from opaque to transparent and enjoy a view of the city as you bathed.
The rooms featured neutral colours with accents of violet and handcrafted wood furnishings. The bathroom had two sinks all done in a speckled marble.
Food and Drink
Langhams world-wide are known for their afternoon teas, but with COVID, they’ve gone from providing it in their restaurant to offering a take-out menu for adults and children to enjoy either outdoors as a picnic or in their guestrooms.
The Club Level still provides afternoon tea with biscuits, macarons and other goodies. In fact, the Club level had food every time we were up there and my friend said the omelette she had at the omelette bar during the breakfast hour was the best she’d ever had.
At various points during the day, there were pastries, shrimp, salmon and Italian meats. There was also a candy bar filled with various sweets, candy bars and wrapped candies.
But the real highlight was the Travelle restaurant. The staff warmly welcomed us and the service was attentive all night. I started my meal with a diver scallops ceviche that was as delicious as it was beautiful.
Presented in a scallop shell nestled on a bed of sea salt, the yellow dish was adorned with hazelnuts, beets, lemon masago and infused with leche de tigre. It was one of those dishes that blossomed as you held it in your mouth, new flavours dancing across your tongue. And while I thought it couldn’t get much better, each course proved me wrong. The halibut had just the right level of crisp on the outside while being fall-apart tender on the inside. The desserts were decadent.
When I told the server that my companion loved the mushroom ragout that came with her steak, he came out minutes later with the recipe and then the chef arrived at our table and told her how to make it. It was an outstanding meal with above-and-beyond service.
The purpose of our visit was to go to the Chuan Spa at Langham. It is a luxurious experience. Designed with an Eastern Zen ambience, there is a balance of dark and light and throughout the spa is flowing water.
You enter through a moon gate and the receptionist warmly greets you. In the locker rooms are plentiful robes and oversized towels and then a journey of a Himalayan salt sauna, a Eucalyptus steam room, cold showers, and a herbal sauna. Then there is a relaxation room with heated stone recliners.
The services range from body treatments, facials, massages, hand and foot therapies and traditional Chinese medicine treatments. I had a body treatment and massage that left me feeling renewed and restored.
The property also has a 67-foot swimming pool and a hydrotherapy tub.
Between the spa and the pool is a modern fitness studio and an adjoining group class studio. It contains strength, endurance and cardio equipment from Life Fitness Signature and Elevation Series.
Rooms range from $450 per night for the deluxe rooms to $1,500 a night for the suites.
Located in the heart of the Windy City, it is within walking or easy-Uber distance to such attractions as Navy Pier, the Chicago River Walk, the Magnificent Mile, Second City Comedy Club, the Art Institute of Chicago, and Broadway in Chicago.
The hotel’s concierge was quite knowledgeable and able to set up a variety of reservations and rentals for anything you might want to do in the city. The house car is available on a first-come-first-serve basis to take you anywhere within two miles of the hotel.