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Melbourne - Langham Hotel Melboune


140 years ago, the ribbon was cut on Europe’s first great hotel, a grand and auspicious accommodation in the heart of London that saw royalty, foreign dignitaries, and celebrity industrialists and thespians pass through its doors with great frequency. When luxury hotels, and hospitality itself, were just nascent concepts in the sphere of world travel, Langham Hotels International set a deluxe standard that developers of later decades and centuries did their best to emulate. Today, the LHI emblem bears the same meaning as it did in London’s city center during the Dickens years, only today the owner-operated hotels have moved into a strong niche sphere, operating out of a select number of cosmopolitan metropolises. Beginning on the first of January 2005, that collection added two Sheraton properties to its portfolio, including an elegant riverside gem in the exciting Victorian city of Melbourne.

The ushering in of the new year under the LHI flag signals the hotel’s return to the highest ranks of international business hotels worldwide. On the south shore of the Yarra River, against the Southbank Promenade and overlooking Flinders Street and the downtown core, staying at the Langham centers you directly in Melbourne’s cultural center. The National Arts Gallery and Melbourne Concert Hall are just steps from the lobby, while the magnificent Royal Botanical Gardens and the King’s Domain are just minutes away, along a southward bend in the Yarra. With the city’s great sites at your doorstep, along with the finest shops, parks, restaurants, and nightlife, the Langham positions you beautifully for the essential Melbourne experience.

The hotel’s elegantly appointed 387 rooms and suites situate guests in unrivalled luxury, especially for those staying in the select collection of rooms that offer views of the Melbourne skyline and the Yarra River. From here, bright shafts of natural, angular light reflect off the downtown corporate towers and light up Melbourne in afternoon sunshine. Rooms feature broad windows looking out onto Melbourne city, as well as a spacious office niche in the cast of light, where broadband Internet access and a variety of other office amenities allow business guests to keep balanced their professional timetables. In terms of style and décor, accommodations at the Langham are classic and timeless, with traditional textiles and high thread-count linens, as well as gorgeous furnishings that are the height of luxury. In the Executive Club Rooms, the treatment exceeds the appearance, where special privileges include a full butler service and exclusive use of the lounge for breakfast and refreshments.

For all hotel guests, there is the Melbourne institution, three times daily. The Melba Brasserie, with its envious views of the city skyline through its floor-to-ceiling window panels, has a reputation for one of the finest international menus in the city. Whether ordering a la carte or feasting on the exceptional buffet, each meal is an experience. The dinner menu, especially, discounts all the middling preconceptions that are synonymous with buffets. At the Melba Brasserie, guests are greeted with a fresh seafood bar of oysters, king prawn, scallops and crab, and a variety of innovative and exciting salads. Mains take inspirations from all over the East, and include Asian duck pancakes, Singapore murtabak in roti, beef bourguignon, and Hainanese chicken rice. Along with specialty coffees, teas, and a cart full of classic European desserts, there is little wonder guests find themselves filing through the brasserie’s doors three times daily. In between these trips, guests tend to migrate to and from the Tisane Lounge, an elegant little eatery and lounge that is most popular from 2:30 to 5:00 p.m., when traditional high tea is served, a classic vestige of British influence.

And while it is rare to recommend, and in fact unnecessary to contemplate another restaurant beyond the front doors of the Langham Melbourne, the legend growing around Taxi dining room is too zealous to ignore. Led by the twin genius of executive chef Michael Lambie and sushi chef Ikuei Arakane, the menu assembled at Taxi is part contemporary Australian, with obvious Japanese undertones, and part classic Japanese, with innovative and classic takes on sushi and sashimi. The room itself is stunning, a grandiose façade of steel and glass at the sharp end of contemporary architectural thought, and the food is not far behind; mostly exceptional while occasionally confusing, there is no question that a night at Taxi is the template for a fond and memorable experience. King Island crayfish ravioli is a standout, as is the cucumber soup and the organic beef, while Arakane’s creations are brilliant and avant-garde. In fact, just about everything is enterprising at Taxi, which strikes a fine balance with the classic feel of Flinders Street in downtown Melbourne.

All that said it seems the dawn of a new Langham era in Melbourne is just beginning to gather some momentum. Set to open at some point in the month of January 2005, the Chuan Spa will re-align conventional thinking about the place of a spa in a business hotel. Combining the finest traditions of the East and West, and the principles of Yin and Yang, the spa is designed to foster an ambiance in tune with the ancient traditions of the Chinese garden, a place where one can escape to nurture, heal, and restore. “Chuan” means flowing water, provider of life and source of renewal. Considering the sense of comfort and tranquility on which the Langham name was built, some might argue the addition of a new spa is superfluous. For 140 years, guests have peacefully passed through Langham hotels like ‘Chuan’, bearing witness to a flagship standard of excellence in hospitality. Today, that tradition is born again, down under.

Where to Stay

Langham Hotel Melbourne - One Southgate Avenue, Southbank, Melbourne, Victoria  3006, Australia T (61)(3) 8696 8888, F (61)(3) 9690 5889 - e-mail: - 

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