By Ali Webb
Since 1972, the 52-story tower of anodized aluminum and bronze-tinted glass, designed by world famous architect Mies van der Rohe, has been a landmark on the Chicago skyline. In 2013, the skyscraper was transformed into the luxury Langham Chicago, part of the Langham Hospitality Group whose luxury hotels are known for their locations in iconic and historic buildings.
This Langham is no different. The first-floor lobby of the hotel, designed as a tribute to Mies by his architect grandson, Dirk Lohan, included a two-story bronze beaded curtain along the east wall. Every floor featured a different artist, and one could spend hours looking at the over 1,500 works of art throughout the hotel… but that might take away from your luxurious stay.
For a truly extraordinary stay, book a room on The Langham Chicago’s Club level. Guests are whisked up to the Club Lounge on level 12C where they are greeted by floor-to-ceiling windows and panoramic views of the Chicago River and cityscape. There the fabulous Carlos Carrera, the director of butler services for the hotel, singlehandedly makes every visit one for the memory books. The hotel employs a rotating staff of eight butlers to serve guests staying on the Club level.
Club Level Guestrooms
The large guest room featured wall-to-floor windows facing the river, a great carry-over from Mies’ original design. The dark walnut paneling of the closet opened up into a wonderful Travertine marble bathroom. A soaking tub filled one wall, while the enclosed rain shower filled the other. One of the special treats of the trip was the butler-drawn bath complete with rose petals and a glass of champagne. Heaven in a tub?
Early evening at The Langham Chicago was time for canapés and wine in the Club. Sitting around the brightly burning fireplace, which was open to the room on all sides, and with the snow swirling against the windows, it was a cozy place to spend an hour.
Before dinner, a quick workout in the state-of-the-art gym was also an opportunity try out the spa saunas. The amenities in the locker room included three saunas and two aromatherapy showers available to all guests. An hour was happily spent between the dry and wet saunas followed by 30 minutes on the heated stone lounge chair. An indoor pool – also with heated lounge chairs – completed the opportunity for exercise and relaxation.
The Finest of Dining
Every meal is a treat at Travelle Kitchen + Bar, where Chef Ricardo Jarquin focuses on local and seasonal American cuisine. The young chef, just on the far side of 30, is an emerging force on the Chicago food scene. Raised in Miami, he’s studied under some of the world’s culinary icons and brings his unique flavor palette to Travelle. Where else can one find brunch choices of waffles and chicken or steamed mussels with spinach, fregola, and vanilla saffron aïoli offered along with two types of benedicts?
The bar also serves excellent cocktails and small plates for a late evening beverage and nibble. The 1865 cocktail pays homage to the year the hotel line began at The Langham, London, and features Hennessy VS, Chase Elder Flower, and Moet and Chandon champagne. For a lovely bite and sip, pair any cocktail with one of the flatbreads or the crispy Thai chicken wings with peanuts and lime.
With so much else to do, fitting in mid-afternoon tea in the two-story Pavilion Lounge wasn’t possible on this visit, but the setting was spectacular. Huge hand-blown glass pebbles were suspended at varying distances from the ceiling and are designed to mirror the Chicago River, which runs along the south side of the hotel. All in all, it’s a perfect place for a high tea.
The hotel’s great location means that guests may easily venture out for Chicago’s legendary shopping and exceptional restaurants, but they will undoubtedly wish to return to the luxurious Langham as soon as they can.
To learn more about The Langham Chicago, visit the hotel’s website at http://www.langhamhotels.com/en/the-langham/chicago/
Contributor Ali Webb took her first airplane trip when she was six weeks old and has been traveling ever since. Born and raised in California, she now lives in the middle of the US and is frequently published as The Indulgent Traveler. Check out her travels at her website, www.indulgenttraveler.com