What comes to our mind when we think about New York City? Fifth Avenue – check. Empire State Building – check. Arts and culture – check. If these three things top your list, then the Langham New York will bowl you over. Right at the heart of midtown, thishotel oozes pure luxury.
Part of the Hong Kong-owned brand synonymous with exquisite hospitality, its New York City outpost perfectly fuses urbanity and sophistication, with an eye trained firmly on attention to detail and superb service. There’s a lot to say for the Langham New York’s location, situated on Fifth Avenue, one block north of the Empire State Building and within a few minutes walk of the hip, buzz of ‘Korea Town’ (and pretty much everything else worth seeing in the city).
Since our last visit, the hotel has had a little nip and tuck. Notably, there’s a lot more eye-catching art throughout the hotel, adding to its personality … not to mention a newly infused, contemporary take on modernist interior decor now appearing throughout, thanks to Meyer Davis. It’s hard to miss the large, colourful paintings by Alex Katz, culminating in a US$2million collection of his portraiture, supposedly capturing real-life New Yorkers. Interestingly, despite the city’s reputation of one of the world’s multi-cultural melting-pots, the hanging Katzs are predominantly of white subjects, and it became something of an inside-joke to us throughout our stay here, with the all-white faces glaring back at us throughout the hotel, at every turn. In the hotel’s pursuit to add some colour, they neglected to add some ‘colour.’
Inside our 27th floor suite-refuge, the push of a button opened the curtains to the east-facing windows, framing a jaw-dropping and cinematic view of Manhattan, the highlight for us being a partial view of the iconic metal roof of the Chrysler Building (our favourite!). The theatricality continued inside. Two sliding panels behind the huge, inviting bed revealed an equally tempting, large bath in a generous white-marble bathroom, complete with luxurious double sinks. Our one-bedroom suite was beautifully appointed … a sprawling space, with so many doors and amenities for us hotel-hounds to open or investigate – so we took comfort in knowing that this property has left no stone unturned when it came to our, well, comfort. For those looking for longer stays, there are suites with kitchenettes; and for those with bigger budgets, the Penthouse is a must.
We had dinner at Ai Fiori, where the food and service were impeccable, a testament to its Michelin star. Their signature lobster bisque was simply out of this world, so much that it almost overshadowed the rest of the meal. Breakfast in-room, the next morning was also delicious, but sadly lacked the care and attention to service-detail afforded by Ai Fiori.
The proximity to the Empire State Building meant that we were first in line there and enjoyed spectacular panoramic views – including that of our own hotel lit up in the glorious late autumn sunshine. And back in our room, we spent hours doing just the opposite, watching the Empire State Building, just beyond our window panes, in full view. When dusk settled, the view came into its own as the ESB lit up for us in rainbow colours. We already loved this hotel, but now it’s a definite entry into our New York Basecamp Hall of Fame.
Right on time
JFK / EWR
While you’re Out There
The Empire State Building’s after-dusk lights are part of a tradition since 1976 to celebrate notable events like holidays and societal milestones. Who gets to decide exactly which colours and what occasions to light up is a closely guarded secret, but applications for special-lightings can be made via their website. So next time you’re staying at the Langham New York and celebrating something special, it might be worth an ask. Or perhaps you could time your visit with a special event like NYC Pride and perhaps you can claim that the rainbow colours were as per your request.