Exclusive first review
Sizzlingly quick on the uptake, we've been in, chilled out, and reviewed the hottest new five star hotel in the UK on its second day of opening. Say hi to The Langley.
I don’t like to brag (much) but I’m pretty certain there ain’t a journo who knows The Langley hotel in Iver better than me! I’d already had two hard-hat visits when it was being constructed, and having bowled in to do an overnight review on just the second day of opening I’m also the first journo (apart from the obligatory London broadsheet) to bounce on the beds, investigate the thread count on the sheets and get the insider line for you. I know, what a trooper I am! Read on for everything you need to know.
Bring out the bunting! Sound the trumpets! The Langley hotel, a new luxury hotel in Iver Heath, South Bucks, opened its doors just a few weeks ago. A labour of love, it’s taken five long years to come to fruition, and let me tell you, it’s a stunner, a sympathetically renovated Palladian mansion that once belonged to the Duke of Malborough in lovely grounds in Langley Park.
The hotel has 41 rooms, some in the main mansion house, others in the The Brewhouse that sits opposite. There’s a stonkingly beautiful spa – the second biggest underground spa in Europe in fact – with more marble per square foot outside Athens (OK, I made that bit up but you get my drift), a hammam and 5 treatment rooms, plus a gym if you can be bothered to get into your lycra.
The Langley is the sister hotel to The Wellesley in London and it has that same well-heeled, refined aura. Kids are welcome (in fact I brought all three of mine and the staff were totally charming) but unless you’re a tourist in the area – and a wealthy one at that – I’d say The Langley is more of an adult space, a lovely spot for couples, special occasioners and wedding parties, where you can marry in the orangerie and spill out extravagantly on the huge terraces.
The communal spaces at The Langley are grand and beautiful, retaining gazillions of original features as you’d expect from a project that’s no doubt had English Heritage breathing down the architects’ necks. Having said that there are some some modern touches too, in the dramatic chandeliers and the fabulous ‘paint splatter’ chairs in the dining room. But overall I’d say tradition rules the day here, with muted colour schemes, historical paintings (plenty of the Duke of Malborough, battles and horses) and a portrait of a hulking Winston Churchill in the bar.
The vibe over at The Brewhouse, by comparison, is quieter, less showy and doesn’t require the parading walk up and down the central staircase. My preference would be to the main mansion because I prefer the styling but see what you think below.
Want to feel like a film star? I stayed in The Malborough Suite (above), with its adjoining bedrooms, huge lounge with dining area and marble bathroom, which is a splutter-worthy £2850 for the night. This is literally how celebs and heads of state will experience this hotel, so if you have a special occasion, getting hitched, or fancy putting your foot in the door before Daniel Craig can close it on you (Pinewood is just next door) this is what you’ll be getting. Beautiful no?
But of course as you’d expect there are a whole range of rooms on offer, so it’s just a case of choosing style and budget. All the bathrooms are undeniably luxurious with marble everywhere, super-fluffy towels and dressing gowns, and Hermès products though not all have baths, so if that’s important to you, remember to ask the question.
The Brewhouse rooms (above) are slightly less expensive with modern, more ‘country’ styling (think tweeds, darker woods and leathers). The ground floor rooms are disability friendly and there are garden rooms for pooches so you do have more flexibility in this side of the hotel.
SCOFF & QUAFF
I really loved my experience at Cedar, the fining dining restaurant. Firstly, any discomfort the waiters may have felt about a six foot teenager with a top knot and tracksuit in their midst was entirely hidden – full marks! Secondly they’ve nailed the delicate balance of creating a fine dining restaurant that looks elegant but also manages to be stylish (the art deco chandeliers are supercool).
There was something really magical about sitting and eating here with my children – they all rose to the occasion so that my ‘white carbs’ youngest happily wolfed down wholemeal sourdough with homemade red onion butter and the waiters did a great job of selling in ‘house specialities’ that elsewhere might not have passed muster. But it’s also relaxed – there’s a kids menu that offers pizzas, posh chicken nuggets for superfussy eaters.
For adults, there was a choice of two tasting menus (either meaty or veggy) that, had I been with Mr M, I’d have gone for in a flash, but with the kids I ate a la carte, skipping the entrée because I knew they would get to their mains quickly and instead choosing a white crab risotto (£19). Pretty as picture on the plate, unxious and the kind of rich, complex flavours that made eating it a slow pleasure (so slow that two of my kids started eating it too).
It was really very filling and only journalistic curiosity and general piggery moved me onto dessert, a Pistachio parfait with white & dark chocolate mousse and mint meringue (£10). Delicious too, though I’d have liked a bit more mint to come through the meringue. On a psychological level a smaller bowl would have been more manageable too but that’s my straining waistband talking.
Service was excellent, and the wine picked out for my main by the maitre’d was punchy and the perfect counter point to my risotto.
OUT AND ABOUT
There’s the spa to keep you busy all day as an adult, or for a little bit with kids (children can swim between 3-5pm), or take a walk around the small arboretum that then leads you into the park with its weekend picnickers and strollers. For kids Go Ape is less than 2kms away and Legoland is close too. Windsor Castle, Cliveden and Eton are Berkshire go-tos while on the Buckinghamshire side you’re a short drive to well-heeled Beaconsfield for shopping.
THE MUDDY VERDICT
Good for: Couples, special occasioners, splurgers, luxe-searchers, girly day spa breakers, celeb-hunters. It’s more relaxed than you might think here too, with all day dining in the Churchill Bar including sandwiches, pizza, light bites and sharing platters.
Not for: Budget conscious? Swipe left!
The Langley, Avenue Drive, Uxbridge Rd, Iver SL3 6DU. Tel: 020 7236 3636.
WIN! A £1000 stay at The Langley!
Head over to Reader treats for your chance to win an overnight stay in a Junior Suite for two guests to include breakfast, full use of the Spa facilities and The Langley signature cocktail on arrival PLUS dinner for two!