Langham Place New York: Understated Elegance in Midtown

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A focal point of the lobby is this stunning blown glass drop that extends from the second floor.
A focal point of the lobby is this stunning blown glass drop that extends from the second floor.

The subtlest of details often have the most impact. Oxidized copper. Smooth jazz. The perfect pink orchid.

The Langham Place New York, Fifth Avenue, excels at those fine touches. For example, each guest’s stay begins with an e-mail from his or her personal assistant. In my case, Dennis was available to me to arrange transportation, make my dinner reservations, acquire theater tickets—or anything else my stay required.

For incentive winners, first impressions are critical, and the Langham delivers. Its ultramodern lobby features contemporary furnishings and creamy polished marble floors, wrapped around a stunning focal point, a floor-to-ceiling blown glass drop that appears almost like a tear that started at the ceiling and did not quite make it all the way to the floor. Soft jazz from one of the hotel’s two restaurants, Measure, filters into the airy space, creating just the right ambience. In the rooms, luxurious touches include Nepresso machines, sumptuous marble baths, Duxiana beds and Pratesi linens, and floor-to-ceiling windows—that open—overlooking the bustle of Fifth Avenue and the old Tiffany’s building.

On the second floor is Chef Michael White and Altamarea Group’s signature restaurant, the Michelin–starred Al Fiori. Its menu of Riviera cuisine features both French and Italian dishes and an extensive wine list spans the region from Provence to Liguria. The passionate descriptions of our dishes by our waiter, Michelangelo, were delightful. Who wouldn’t want to try a soft-shell crab dish that had been kissed by its herbs? The lamb chops were encased in ground lamb and foie gras, tender and juicy, while the pastas were handcrafted.

The restaurant includes several semi-private spaces around the corner from the main dining room, set in nooks among what our host referred to as “a functional wine room,” which can be used for special events or wine dinners for groups of 12 to 50. The entire restaurant can also be bought out by groups for an impressive opening night dinner.

The New York outpost for Langham shares all the traditions of the other properties in its elite hotel group, which was founded in 1865 with the Langham, London (considered to be Europe’s first grand hotel). Among them is the passing of hors d’oeuvres in the lobby at exactly 7:15 each evening. Every flower in is hotel is pink, the brand’s trademark. A modern twist on afternoon tea is served at Measure, featuring such unlikely treats as hummus gougers and warm scotch eggs, topped off with the mandatory sweets.

The 214-room property specializes in high-level board meetings and incentives, with the ideal group size being between 50 and 75 rooms. A soon-to-begin re-creation of the hotel’s function area to the tune of $6 million will completely open up and modernize the meeting rooms, doubling the amount of space to 7,600 sf. To be known as The Gallery at Langham Place, it will include rich elements such as leather-paneled separation walls, wooden slatted ceilings and pin lighting. (Most rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows, with abundant natural light.)

The city’s art crowd is abuzz about the private collection of the hotel’s owner, Dr. Lo Ka Shui—143 original and reproduced works by Brooklyn artist Alex Katz. The former heart surgeon and chairman of Langham Hotels International purchased the building to house these monochromatic portraits, which he has been quoted as saying “are reflective of the energy of New York.” They will soon grace the lobby, new meeting area and guest rooms. Renovations are expected to be complete in early September.

 

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Barbara Scofidio
Barbara Scofidio is editor of Prevue and heads up the Visionary Summits, our exclusive conference series targeting senior-level meeting and incentive planners. In 25 years of covering the industry, her articles have spanned topics ranging from social media to strategic meetings management. She is currently the media liaison for FICP's Education Committee and was the first member of the media ever to be invited to sit on a committee by GBTA, where she spent three years on the Groups and Meetings Committee. She has also been an active member of Site, chairing its Crystal Awards committee and acting as a judge. A familiar face at industry events, Barbara often leads panel discussions or speaks on topics close to her heart, such as green meetings or how the industry can help combat human trafficking. Barbara is based outside Boston, in Groton, Mass.

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