It really is the perfect place to land after an Atlantic flight. So joyous and grand is this secluded sanctuary. Set in Buckinghamshire, The Langley is super convenient with Heathrow (20 minutes away) and Central London (40 minutes). But there’s no sense of being so close to the city as it has such a peaceful countryside feel.
Meaning ‘long meadow’ or ‘long wood’, The Langley is the rural partner of its sister London hotel The Wellesley, and part of Marriott’s Luxury Collection. It was built in 1738 as a hunting lodge by Charles Spencer, the 3rd Duke of Marlborough (a distant relative of both Princess Diana and Sir Winston Churchill). It was later used as a hospital for army officers, with visitors including Queen Victoria, before recently becoming this hotel.
Down a gorgeous long lime and oak avenue I went. I had left the old world behind and stepped over the threshold into my new world of relaxation and pampering. My spectacular arrival continued at the circular fountain in front of the stunning frontage of this 5-star hotel. It’s styled on Palladian houses with Doric columns, two curved wings, and a double staircase. The honey-colored bathstone is offset by two beautiful trees. Part restoration, part conversion, it felt like a Georgian country home. At night it’s lit up to enhance a sense of romance.
I was greeted by a porter at the steps and taken up to the bronze Venetian door into the grand hall. It has magnificent pillars and an Italianate mosaic floor. The interior felt brand new and super-fresh with such a high-quality finish. Lots of mirrored glass and beneath the high ceiling is the dramatic statement of a glorious light. There’s a huge fireplace, doubtless roaring in the winter, and an elaborate centerpiece of a round table with its fresh, floral display.
I climbed the central staircase beneath a glazed cupola to my room for which rates start at US $542 a night. There are only twenty in this main building (with twenty-one more across the grounds in the 18th-century Brew House).
I dived deep, as you do, onto my sumptuous king-sized bed. I loved the leather headboard and enormous television. Thick drapes and plush carpets provided utter comfort. My stand-alone bath on the heated marble floor came with products from Noble Isle.
Cedar, the hotel’s restaurant, is named after the pretty Lebanese Cedar tree outside. It’s an exquisite dining room and felt cozy and romantic with only fifteen tables well-spaced between large, gilded mirrors and below lovely, low lighting. The British and European food from the confident menu is beautifully presented and all sourced from local suppliers. What a thrill to have breakfast served outdoors and on such a spacious terrace.
Corridors of fresh blue carpets with waves heralded the excellent water activities on offer. Beneath is a massive subterranean spa with a lengthy, heated swimming pool. Private, blissful, and discreet, the spa is also supremely pampering and comfortable. There are air beds, vitality pools, and massage jets. There’s an amethyst crystal steam room beside a pink Himalayan salt-walled sauna. There’s a ladies-only thermal suite, a nail bar, and a hair salon. The spa treatments include deep facials using the classy Sisley products.
There’s even a wonderfully designed heated pool outside hidden by pompoms of white hydrangea. The gardens themselves consist of 150 acres of formal gardens and 50 acres of parkland designed by the famous Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown. They sweep around a serpentine lake with silver-leaved trees dreamy in both color and size. Pigmy goats and white peacocks roam, cows graze and ducks and geese frequent the lake. Neighboring Langley Park, where once the famous artist Joshua Reynolds had a cottage, has many a track and footpath, wild grasses and flowers, and an arboretum for true repose. At nearby Temple Gardens there’s a famous step from which, on a clear day, you can see Windsor Castle (one of King Charles’s homes and where the late Queen is buried).
With so much space it felt like a luxurious boutique hotel. Nowhere does it feel remotely packed as guests appear in small groups taking quintessential afternoon tea in the Drawing Room, selecting cigars from the humidor, resting in their cocooning cabanas by the lake, taking dogs for a walk, allowing kids to wander, explore, and enjoy the adventure playground or embark on an expansive bike ride. The Langley is just perfect for all of us who want country living but insist on urban luxury.