Leading Langham: A Conversation With Bob Warman, CEO

Bob Warman, CEO of Langham Hotels and Resorts 

Luxury Travel Advisor caught up with CEO Bob Warman in London, checking out the final touches of renovations and addition of 115 new rooms (including 25 suites) to the Langham’s flagship hotel, meeting clients and press to share the exciting expansion news: three new U.S. properties, another three in the Middle East plus 15 in Asia—for a total of 21 new hotels and resorts in the pipeline globally. Langham Hospitality Group, owned by leading Hong Kong-based real estate company, Great Eagle Holdings, currently the company operates 20 hotels and resorts around the world.

Since joining Langham in 2014, Warman has been busy putting deals together, overseeing the growth and refinement of the Langham, Cordis and Eaton brands. Most recently he was president and chief operating officer of Capella Hotel Group, prior he spent the much of his career with Ritz-Carlton, instrumental in the sale of the company to Marriott International in 1995, remaining on as EVP of Operations, heading up growth and new openings for the brand world-wide.

As we’re in London, Warman was effervescent about the gleaming transformation of this iconic hotel, considered Europe’s first ‘Grand Hotel’ when it opened in 1865, thrilled about the opening this month of the 115 new guestrooms including 25 suites, “The hotel is looking superb, and I’m particularly excited about the suites, especially the six-bedroom Sterling Suite, London’s largest, and the five new designer apartments,” said Warman.  Clients for the suites and apartments come from around the globe needing a home base in London for a few weeks, “We have many families coming, some with their own staff or drawn to our Butler service and new Club Lounge.” 

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Committed to being a top player in London’s luxury hotel market, next up is a full renovation of the Chuan Spa and the addition of a new bar by designer-of-the-moment, Martin Brudnizki , who just dazzled London foodies with the much buzzed about Sexy Fish in Mayfair. “Upon the completion of these plans, every part of the hotel will be fresh,” said Warman, adding “Londoners are coming for the food and drinks, the partnership with Chez Roux, by Michelin star chef Michel Roux is a tremendous draw, and the hotel’s talented pastry chef, Cherish Finden just starred as a judge on the popular BBC TV show Bake Off, all working together fabulously.”

Warman explained the U.S. is a major focus for Langham, increasing room count by 60 percent with three new hotels planned: Frisco, Texas (30 miles outside Dallas), San Francisco and Santa Fe, NM in a combination of contemporary and historical properties. 

Why these locations?  “We’re looking in all the top U.S. markets where we don’t have a presence and going for the most exciting projects. The Frisco development, Wade Park, is a $1.6 billion mixed-use project spearheaded by Jerry Jones, T Bone Pickens, and other big-name Dallas businessmen, with two towers, training facilities for the Dallas Cowboys, shopping, movies, so it’s going to be a hot destination,” said Warman.  

Opening in 2018, the hotel will have a modern design, 250 stylish and spacious guest rooms and suites including two Texas-sized 2,906-square-foot Presidential Suites, a rooftop pool deck, a full-service Chuan Body + Soul spa, indoor and outdoor function space and dedicated walkway to the offices and shopping of Wade Park.

“In 2020, we will open Langham Place, San Francisco, part of the new Transbay Transit Center Project in downtown San Francisco, set to become the “Grand Central Station of the West” when it is completed later this year,” enthused Warman. A $4.5 billion project located at the intersection of First and Mission Streets, to include 11 transit systems, a 5.4-acre rooftop park (similar to NYC’s Highline), offices, retail and homes. “Famed Italian architect Renzo Piano, is designing our 205-room hotel, so you know it is going to be stunning.”  The property will have a 2,150-square-foot Presidential suite, a top-floor bar and roof garden, and a Chuan Spa. 

Next year, Langham will open its first resort in the US, The Langham, Bishop’s Lodge, Santa Fe, nestled on 317 acres in the foothills of New Mexico’s Sangre de Cristo range of the Rocky Mountains, four miles from the Santa Fe Plaza. “This historic resort was first opened to the public in the 1920s but traces its history back to the 1870s. Like in London, Langham loves to embrace the history of a hotel and infuse it with our own brand standards and style of luxury.” The renovation includes the demolition and re-modeling of the existing rooms and public areas, expanding the hotel to 139 rooms and suites, plus special amenities including private stables and trails for horseback riding

Langham already operates four luxury hotels in the U.S., ranging from the modern Langham’s in Chicago and New York, to the Langham Boston in the former Federal Reserve Bank and the 101-year old Langham Huntington in Pasadena, California. Warman’s focus at the moment for existing U.S. hotels—suites, “our high end client base want spacious accommodation, so we’ve just upgraded the ‘Tournament of Roses’ Presidential Suite at The Langham Huntington.”  Located on the top floor of the hotel, this suite is 3,200 square feet over two separate floors, two bedrooms on the upper floor with Italian marble bathrooms (Jacuzzi tub and separate shower in the Master) and double vanity sinks. The bedrooms open on to a large balcony, set with a table and chairs to enjoy spectacular views of The Horseshoe Garden and surrounding San Marino Valley.  The downstairs level has a spacious living room with sofas, lounge chairs, baby grand piano, a kitchen and separate service entrance. 

A new suite is planned for the Langham New York, which Warman promises is going to be very large, but couldn’t share more details yet other than to say it should open by January of 2017.  

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