Luxurious. Welcoming. Beautiful. The Langham hotel in Sydney is an elegant 5 star hotel located in the heart of The Rocks district. It is nestled with historic buildings on a quiet street with views of Sydney’s Western Harbour. It is in the same family as the legendary Langham in London, a flagship hotel that has been synonymous with sophistication and top-notch hospitality for 150 years.
I stayed at the Langham hotel on my recent trip to Sydney and I found that far from mere rhetoric, the Langham Sydney truly lives up to all those adjectives you often hear associated with it – elegant, intimate, personalized service, classy. From my stay, I can personally say the hotel deserves every shiny point of the 5 stars in its rating.
Here’s more about my experience staying at The Langham Sydney.
The Langham Sydney in 2015
Sydney’s Langham hotel recently reopened after a $30 million makeover. Shiny and new, The Langham now features a bright sunlit foyer, luxe décor throughout such as marble floors and art from renowned Australian artists, custom-designed furnishings and a view of the ANZAC Bridge over the harbour.
It also recently swept up 3 wins from the prestigious Gourmet Traveller, including the tippy top prize – Hotel of the Year! The other awards the Langham received were Best Club Sandwich and New Hotel of the Year.
My Welcome to the Langham
I planned to arrive at the Langham dressed in the finest outfit from the first-class section of my luggage. But as we know, travel has a way of springing surprises on your tidy plans. So instead, I showed up in an unflattering breezy outfit and ever-the-tourist trainers on my feet, a little out of breath, a bulky daypack strapped on and a giant plastic bag on my forearm. Needless to say, I felt a little embarrassed to be entering a room of gleaming marble and luxurious chandeliers looking this way.
However, it didn’t take long for me to realize The Langham is genuinely committed to their motto of making all its guests feel like they are coming home. Feeling sheepish quickly turned to feeling welcome in the moments after the wonderful concierge, Mr Michael, stepped up to open the hotel doors for me with a warm greeting.
“I have a little problem”, I told him, feeling a little antsy while waiting for check-in. “I booked a Whale Watching tour and the boat leaves in 20mins.” In a jiffy he relieved me of any worry – he set my bags down, ensured they’d be in my room when I got back, kicked off the check-in process without holding me up, and put me speedily in a cab, giving the driver precise directions to my wharf without even needing to ask me. I made it just in time, thanks to him.
I returned hours later to the Langham with windswept hair – to top off my sophisticated look of course – and headed to the shiny reception desk made of gold leaf cracked porcelain. I got my keys from hotel staff who were all smiles and kindly asked if I’d enjoyed any good whale sightings. Great first impression.
Service at its Best
Mr Michael Balazik giving a tour of the Langham rooms
The excellent service followed me through my entire 3-night stay.
Service Stylist, Mr Michael Balazik, was always enthusiastic in recommending what I should do in Sydney, with good attention to my own individual preferences. And with detailed directions scribbled on a map for me each time too.
Someone would always swoop in to open doors or lift my bags. The dapper concierge even offered me several bottles of water for my daytrip, and the waitstaff were very kind to me when I was in the lobby at an ungodly hour waiting for the tour bus to pick me up early early in the morning. By Day 2, I already felt like I was comfortably returning home, with friendly faces to greet me on a first-name basis and ask how my day was. How lovely!
My favourite tip came from Mr Balazik, who shared his personal sinful dessert choice with me when I told him I was going to Pancake on the Rocks – Devil’s Delight chocolate pancakes. Not pancakes with chocolate sauce mind you, CHOCOLATE pancakes. Heaven!
It’s just one of the Sydney attractions close to The Langham, but more about that later.
All Checked-in: The Rooms
I was wowed when I entered my room , the Grand Langham. I’ll let the pictures do most of the talking:
The rooms were incredibly spacious, with a vanity table/desk, a sofa to lepak in style, a round dining table.. and I’ll even count the little corridor. Why? Because the first hint of luxury starts off there, with the stylish blue carpet underfoot leading you into your amazing room, and on your way, a map of the world to motivate your wanderlust; the glean of marble from the bathroom to the left; and full-length mirrors on the glass-knobbed doors that open a classically-wooden wardrobe. It is obvious why celebrities choose to stay at The Langham.
Enjoy, Indulge, Escape
It also put a smile on my face to find that my little tea table had a personal hand-written greeting for me. Next to that, Vogue and two tiers of beautiful macaroons. I’ve never understood the fuss about macaroons. But a bite into the black sesame macaroon and I was sold! Not a crumb left behind.
Heavenly Sleeps in Fluffy White Sheets
The beds in the Langham Sydney are supersized kings. 2 metres by 2.1 metres. I didn’t even know such a thing existed. It looked HUGE! I could probably fit a whole family of four on there comfortably!
I loved that there were more pillows than I knew what to do with. And not the dainty decorative types. I’m talking real, fluffy, take-me-to-dreamland, bedroom pillows. There were also massive feather-filled ones that made me feel like I should get down on the floor and play five-stones or daidee with friends while sitting comfortably cross-legged on this pillow.
I’m a pretty tidy sleeper but because this bed was particularly (read: ridiculously) comfortable and inviting, I made sure to sprawl out to enjoy as much of the bed as I could. Heavenly sleeps in comfy white sheets. And lots of pillows to hug. Perfect.
Cosied up in the Grand Langham
I’d worked up a bit of a fever by this point of my trip, so I had to stay cuddled in bed to recover. I was perfectly comfortable doing this in the Langham. All within my room I had lovely tea choices, a kettle, a coffeemaker, a large screen TV, a giant bed with all the light controls within reach.
Something I personally like in hotels is also lots of power points to plug in all my devices. The Langham had plenty, plus USB chargers built into the walls too. Super!
The Glorious Bath
Just walking into the bathroom makes you feel a bit like royalty. Double sinks, marble everywhere, a spacious bath with Chuan spa toiletries, no shortage of towels and racks in all the right places. I loved the kit of bathroom essentials all neatly packed into a leather box.
The Langham bathtub was great but I also loved the shower. It has your regular showerhead AND a rainfall shower overhead.
If I had to pick one thing that’s important for me when choosing accommodation, it’s the shower. I prefer showerheads that aren’t stuck to the wall, and water pressure is incredibly important. There’s nothing worse than a weak drizzle for a shower after a long day of touring. So I avoided booking hotels in Sydney with fixed overhead rainfall showers.
But after trying the rainfall shower at the Langham? Best. Shower. Ever. I see why they call it rainfall! Did feel like raindrops and surprisingly liberating!
In the shower, generous-sized tubes of Shampoo and Conditioner from Chuan Spa, plus a little platform in the corner. I can’t say I know what it’s actually meant for but it sure was handy for girls shaving their legs! Could imagine myself in a glamorous feminine Gillette ad, wrapped in a towel, very comfortably having a silky shave. Pan out for wide shot of silhouette through the shower door… I mean.. What? Too weird?
Other Rooms in the Langham Sydney
The star room is known as The Observatory, a name retained from the hotels former name before the Langham Group took over the reins. It features some truly delightful design elements.
Between the 77 The Grand Langham (49m²) rooms and the uppermost Observatory suite (122m²), are the Junior Suite (58m²) the Langham Suite (78m²) and The Residence 2-bedroom apartment (110m²). Some rooms have a little balcony, some face the Harbour, some have an interesting arch. But every room is fitted with stylish decor that balances luxury and cosiness.
Swim Under the Stars
The Langham rooms are definitely the kind of hotel rooms that make you want to stay in rather than go out sightseeing. I kinda invented an excuse to use every space of the room. But there is more to the hotel of course.
The Day Spa by Chuan down in the basement is a very relaxing space with the perfect lighting. Neighbouring the spa is the health club with state-of-the-art gym equipment and personalised trainers. There is also a tennis court and club house just across the road.
But the highlight of this hotel for me is definitely the indoor pool. I started off my morning with a few laps in the heated 20-metre subterranean swimming pool. A great way to start winter days.
The pool room is just magnificent. The bluest depths, stone walls, detailed stone pillars, beach murals at either end of the pool, a bubbling sauna partially tucked behind pillars for a little more privacy… But the outstanding bit is when you look up. The lights above simulate the stars in the Southern Hemisphere night sky – complete with slow twinkles. I must admit it felt every bit tranquil and even a little magical.
After my swim, I enjoyed warming up in the fun bubbles of the semicircle sauna. I found myself noticing and appreciating the stone decor, including benches and flower pots. It felt a little like being a roman goddess enjoying a private spa in my royal kingdom.
Afternoon Tea at the Langham
Tea and scones anyone? During my stay, I got to delight on in the hotel’s signature experience of Afternoon Tea with Wedgwood. The setting was lovely in Palm Court among the blue and gold accents and plush chairs.
After choosing my tea, I sipped from the Wedgwood teacup while peering through the shutters at the golden sunset over the harbour. Soon after, 3 tiers of bite-sized yummies arrived.
The homemade jam and cream for the scones were glorious. Ohh the cream! Mmm. Next to that, my favourite was the blueberry tart with the soft filling. You work your way down from the light sweets at the top, to the savoury sliders and rolls in the middle tier, followed by the filling scones at the bottom.
Ladies especially would love the Afternoon Tea experience at the Langham. The Langham also holds special themed tea sessions for little ladies.
Dining at the Langham – Kent Street Kitchen
“Led by Parisian-trained, Chef de Cuisine, Daniel Rudolph, experience old world techniques meeting new world sophistications.”
The picture of warmth and sophistication continue through to Kent Street Kitchen, where the chefs work their magic. The food here is known to delight the Australian palate. The discerning professional judges of Gourmet Traveller seemed to favour the flavours here quite a bit.
I sat down to enjoy breakfast in Kent Street Kitchen during my stay. As always, attentive service. And the baby at the next table kept me well entertained as he tried to share his smashed biscuits with me throughout the entire breakfast.
I opted for the breakfast buffet. I was in a bit of a hurry so I didn’t get to work through the wide spread of dishes. What I did notice was a generous number of dishes were prepared hot-on-the-spot by the chef. I went for a sampling of my two favourites for brekkie – eggs benedict (with salmon) and scrambled eggs. I found the scrambled eggs to be tastier, served with my choice of spinach and mushrooms.
Hot chocolate came in a cute pot. Scrambled eggs in the background.
A hot cup of coffee is of course a must for an Aussie brekkie. I had a perfect latte to go with my meal, followed by some hot chocolate because that’s really my favourite drink. Both were great.
The food was good and the ambience in Kent Kitchen was rather nice in the morning. But what really stood out for me was the chef’s attention. I’d simply asked if I should order something from him or from the waiter. He said both were fine but it’d be better to go through the waiter.
I was pleasantly surprised when the chef then appeared at my table several minutes later, concerned about whether I’d managed to order what I wanted. He come out all the way from behind his counter to attend to me!
Location – Sydney Rocks
The Langham Sydney is located in an area of Sydney known as the Rocks. The Rocks is probably my favourite part of Sydney city (besides the beaches). The cobblestone laneways and sandstone brick buildings create a charming historical feel in this area where the first European settlers arrived. There are many Sydney attractions near the hotel.
From the Langham Sydney, you can easily walk to Circular Quay and it’s only a little further to the Sydney Opera House on foot from there. Just minutes away from the Langham Hotel, is one end of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the start-point of the Harbour Bridge Climb – one of the top things to do in Sydney. In the other direction, the Darling Harbour is also not too far away on foot.
On the weekends, walk down to The Rocks markets for a great selection of handmade goods, from jewellery to art to clothing. Walking from Kent Street to Circular Quay, you’ll also pass through an ‘underpass’ that seems to be hewn out of a massive rock. The vaulted roof of the ‘Argyle Cut‘ is a pretty cool tunnel, especially during Sydney’s winter Vivid Festival.
Sydney Attractions Near the Langham
- Museum of Contemporary Art
- Circular Quay
- Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb
- The oldest pub in Sydney
- Pancake on the Rocks (Open 24 hours)
- The Rocks Markets
- Nurses’ Walk
Review of The Langham, Sydney – The Verdict
Top marks! I loved my entire time at the Langham hotel in Sydney. It’s a classy, sophisticated hotel that doesn’t let luxury get in the way of comfort. Form never overpowers function, so you’re always comfortable and never overwhelmed. The hotel is bright and spacious, but small enough that you feel like more than just a blank face in the crowd. The staff pay attention to making you feel welcome.
The rooms were great. Particularly the ones facing the harbour. My personal favourite is the room with suite with the arch. And I couldn’t gush enough about how comfortable those beds were! Best hotel in Sydney? Well, the Gourmet Traveller experts say so and I am inclined to agree!
The Langham Sydney is a great hotel and I highly recommend it to anyone visiting Sydney. It puts you in a great location, in a beautiful setting, in great comfort and in the hands of service excellence. If nothing else, go in to enjoy breakfast, afternoon tea, or some drinks at the mixology bar in the evening when jazz music adds an extra ambience to the Langham hotel.