A longtime favorite among royalty, rock stars, actors, and visiting dignitaries, the Langham hotel completed a $30 million renovation in December 2014. London-based GA Designs was charged with retaining the hotel’s stately character—check out the original fireplace transplanted from the Sydney's beloved Elizabeth Bay House—while creating a sun-drenched new look dressed in white, amber, and silver. The new design also maximizes the property’s Darling Harbour views, most notably in the opulent lobby, whose Calcutta marble floor and gold-leaf paneling are reminiscent of a high-end spa. What hasn’t changed is the Langham’s superlative customer service. Guests can request a chartered yacht or helicopter to get to their show or meeting, and arrange a private picnic, tennis match, sunset Harbour Bridge climb, or tour of the hotel’s display of Sidney Nolan paintings (Australia’s largest private collection of his work). There’s even a discreet entrance and in-room check-in for guests who want maximum privacy, as well as an unpacking service for travelers eager to feel at home right away.
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The Langham is situated on a tree-lined residential street just west of the Rocks district. Roughly equidistant from Circular Quay, Darling Harbour, and the Central Business District, it's a convenient springboard for all the city’s major points of interest. The hotel abuts Observatory Hill, a popular place for sunset picnics and telescope viewings of the southern sky. Walsh Bay and the Sydney Theatre Company are a quick stroll away. The hotel offers complimentary pink bikes, adorned with wicker baskets, perfect for exploring the weekend markets. Sydney speakeasies such as Lobo Plantation, the Barber Shop, and Baxter Inn are all nearby, and guests can always call one of the pink Langham cabs for a free ride home.
Need to Know
Rooms: 77 rooms, 21 suites; from $445. Check-in: 3 p.m.; check-out: 11 a.m. Dining options: The afternoon tea experience held in the Palm Court lounge is led by a certified tea sommelier who manages the on-site tea vault, which brims with rare and expensive varieties from around the world. Kent Street Kitchen offers three fine-dining meals a day. The charcuterie, cheeses, and breads are all made from scratch by head chef Daniel Rudolph, who formerly worked at Sydney’s award-winning Est. restaurant. Spa and gym details: An underground gym features high-tech equipment and direct access to an indoor pool and Sydney’s first upscale urban spa. At the new incarnation of the Day Spa, you can match essential oils with your mood and physical needs. Each service ends with a detox juice and the option of lunch beside the indoor pool, whose ceiling glitters with fake stars.
Who's it best for: Affluent travelers, pop culture figures, and politicians looking for impeccable service and absolute privacy. Our favorite rooms: Room 313, a corner Junior Suite, has a wraparound terrace that offers sunset views to the west and the views of the city skyline to the east. Plan ahead: Book far in advance for the afternoon tea service, a day at the spa, and the Chef’s Table at Kent Street Kitchen. A private astronomy tour at the adjacent Sydney Observatory—ideally with an Aboriginal guide—is another favorite activity.