As hotel guests, at the end of the day all we want is to feel welcomed and comfortable. Even at five star hotels, you hope for more, and prepare for far less. In a city hotel, I’m not sure I’ve ever felt more welcomed or more comfortable than after my stay at the Langham Hong Kong.
In a city known for hospitality, it’s not easy to stand out, but the little things – and the big things – at this Tsim Sha Tsui property left the hotel as a benchmark for months to come. Yes, even months after my departure, this was the hotel from which future bars were set. Almost seven months later, it still is.
I’ve stayed in countless five star hotels on most continents since staying at the Langham Hong Kong, and whenever something just isn’t quite right – or is good but not great – I find it’s the Langham I’m holding the property up against. The reason: The Langham Hong Kong elevated my stay in ways that don’t require money, only attention to detail and a bit of passion. They nailed it. Here’s a review of my experience…
The Langham Hong Kong is situated in Tsim Sha Tsui on the Kowloon side of the city, which arguably offers the very best views – especially if it’s your first time to the city. It’s also located squarely in the middle of the most sought after shopping in Asia.
In terms of location, the hotel is a clever choice for a few reasons. First, it’s mere steps away from the Avenue Of The Stars, an amazing vantage point to watch the sunset over Hong Kong’s skyscrapers and enjoy the evening light shows.
Second, it’s also a very short walk away from the Star Ferry, which is undoubtedly the cheapest and most scenic way to cross the harbour. On a separate note, here’s everything you need to know to get around Hong Kong.
I booked four nights at the Langham using cash. Rates start around $211 (£180) per night, but during most seasons you’re looking at over $300 per night, and I paid somewhere in that vicinity. It’s Hong Kong, that’s just the way it goes!
Thankfully, I was then able to upgrade my room to a suite after receiving a voucher for completing stays at five different Langham Hotels the year prior. I couldn’t think of a better city to enjoy a little bit of extra space, and from the minute I arrived, I was glad I did.
Since I was indeed moved to a suite, check in took place in my
room suite and the hotel had a kind member of staff waiting outside, since I had updated my arrival time and flight info. So far, so very good. Within minutes formalities were over and I was left to enjoy the living room, large bedroom and assortment of small welcome treats.
I loved this room for one very simple reason: the living room was actually inviting and comfortable enough to use it. It’s a laughably first world thing to speak of, but I’ve been in so many suites around the world where I never make any use of them, because the bedroom is the only remotely comfy area and I naturally gravitate towards comfort.
All rooms at this particular Langham really impressed me for the way they manage to blend the old world sophistication the Langham brand is known for, with seamless modern updates that make the rooms feel less tired than many other hotels, and with the electronic upgrades you’d hope for as well.
There were power ports everywhere, USB ports near the bedside and the wifi was lighting fast. TV and connectivity was of the newest generation and the screen was as sharp as anything you’d expect to find at home. Basically: the room was ideal.
The shower and bath facilities were where you kind of had to do a double take. They were absolutely immaculate. Like, to the level where you would’ve needed a magnifying glass to find a chip or scratch and you still might not have found one even if you did. It’s little details like this which I find can paint a big picture of the overall attention, care and detail a hotel is putting out.
A room is a room and there’s no doubt there are many hotels in the city with directly comparable sleep quality. But as I’ve said before, the difference between a four star hotel and a five star hotel are the elements of service and attention to detail which make you feel as if you’re a guest, not a tenant.
Our suite gained us access to the Langham Club, which other guests can enjoy for a daily supplement or by booking certain room types. I mention this, because of all the hotel club lounges I’ve been to in the world – and I’ve been to some epic ones – this was the very best.
The little things, like remembering my name from the first visit was a nice touch, but that happens in other good hotels too. It was the attention to detail like knowing how I take my coffee and my personal preferences with wine in the evening that were truly outstanding.
One night, Edward Ma, the Director of Rooms at the Langham was making his rounds in the lounge and introducing himself to guests when I bent his ear for a chat. As a
bit of a massive wannabe wine snob, I couldn’t believe how delicious and well curated each evening beverage selection was. There was Perrier Jouet Champagne, sure, but Edward had personally sought out an alternative Champagne made from Grand Cru grapes. For those that care about wine, that can be quite an upgrade.
This is something the hotel doesn’t need to do – it’s something they choose to. Mr. Ma noted a personal passion for wine, and that he and his team try to go above and beyond standard guidelines to provide things guests can savour. The Aussie Cabernet I enjoyed hit the spot at a level one would expect from a fine dining establishment.
But really, it all comes down to the food. Breakfast every morning was a delight and undoubtedly has everything you’re looking for, but I couldn’t help but indulge in the afternoon tea every day. This was an afternoon tea on the level one might expect from a Langham in London, with delicious homemade scones, great fresh clotted cream and delicious jam, not to mention assorted savoury options.
The Langham Hong Kong is home to T’ang Court, a three Michelin starred Cantonese restaurant, and I’m quite sure that some of the prep food makes its way into the lounge at night. Perhaps a junior chef was in training and the head chef didn’t quite think it was up to three Michelin star scratch, but one night the club lounge featured a lobster bisque which I still salivate thinking about. It was like silk, with at least 30 seconds of building flavour and depth.
If you come to the Langham Club Lounge, come hungry. Really though, hungry or not, you just have to admire the level of effort the staff puts into each and every guest. It’s lovely to see.
The Langham offers a roof top pool and adjoining gym. If you’re planning to get a major tan, you’ll need to be fairly precise with timing, due to shadows – but it’s a great place to enjoy some time in the sun and relax. It’s just not particularly bathed in sunshine for more than a few hours a day.
The gym on the other hand is excellent. There’s modern fitness gear to compliment the old school machines some travellers still use, and there are enough treadmills to run a class. The facilities are clean, well air conditioned and perfect for any style of workout.
As to the spa, Langham’s are about as famous as it gets but as someone who would rather enter a boxing ring with Anthony Joshua than enjoy a massage, I can’t speak to the experience. I’m sure it’s a real treat, if that’s your sort of thing.
Despite some reviews which may suggest otherwise, I find myself generally very easy to please. Just try your best, do the little things well and if you serve food make it taste good. It’s not so hard, right? The Langham Hong Kong was just a masterclass of personalised service, elevated cuisine and rooms that make you feel at home.
Though I may prefer a more local stay across Hong Kong Harbour as a frequent visitor to the city, this place keeps calling me back. If it’s your first or second time in Hong Kong, it just doesn’t get much better. But then again, if it’s your 700th, it doesn’t get much better either.