by Oliver Smith, The Telegraph, November 2, 2017
To what does the Infinity Suite at London's Langham hotel owe its name? It might be because of its infinity bath – were there ever two words that promised such overblown indulgence? Or perhaps it's the sheer size of the sprawling space. It goes on forever. If you find it hard to envisage what 2,540 square feet might look like, consider this: I counted 44 strides from one corner to the suite to the other. That's the length of two cricket pitches (an apt comparison, given that Joe Root and his England side were among the hotel’s other guests during our stay). It's a haven of contemporary luxury, whose crowning glory is a high-ceilinged, semi-circular living area with floor-to-ceiling windows that offer imposing views of the Regent Street crush.
The suite: Refurbished in 2017, the Infinity Suite is understated and contemporary, all cream carpets and dark wood, with golden fabrics, artwork and fresh flowers, and a couple of daring chandeliers, providing a dash of colour.
An L-shaped entrance hall contains nothing but a giant circular table topped with orchids, echoing the circular space beyond. It connects to the main lounge and, to the left, the enormous master bedroom, featuring a four-poster bed, separate dressing room, desk, and reading corner with views of Langham Place. The en-suite marble bathroom conceals that OTT infinity tub (as with infinity pools, water rises to the tub's rim with the overflow being contained in a surrounding gully), two sinks, and a separate shower.
The guest bedroom, on the opposite side of the suite, is nearly as spacious, and also features its own bathroom. There’s a guest WC too, and a kitchen with cooker, microwave, fridge and tea- and coffee-making facilities, including a Nespresso machine.
The hotel: A London institution for more than 150 years, this storied 380-room hotel has hosted an absurd number of illustrious names. Mark Twain, George Orwell, Oscar Wilde, Napoleon III, Winston Churchill, Charles de Gaulle and Diana, Princess of Wales have all stepped through its doors. The hotel is also reputedly haunted... if you believe that sort of thing.
A fine-dining restaurant, Landau, run by Albert Roux and his son Michel Roux Jr, adds culinary appeal. The menu offers a modern twist on the French classics, complemented by Asian influences (lobster tortellini and foie gras terrine sit alongside the likes of chicken gyoza).
The Langham’s swanky drinking hole, Artesian, has experienced something of a fall from grace - under Alex Kratena it was named the best bar on the planet for four years in a row (2012-15), but since he left it hasn’t made the top 50. Nevertheless, it still looks the part and draws in the punters. Opened in autumn, The Wigmore is the hotel's upmarket take on a traditional British boozer; it's finished in a striking glossy green and offers sophisticated but unpretentious pub grub.
And then there’s the Palm Court, whose pillars of swirling marble, mirrored ceilings and tinkling ivories make it one of the most lavish options in London for afternoon tea.
What to expect: This is a suite that’s hard to leave. You’ll be greeted with champagne on ice (other requests are welcomed), sustained with welcome snacks (including enough fruit to make a dozen hats for Carmen Miranda), and then sent to bed with a little something from the complimentary private bar. It suits a lazy evening and a good film. The 72-inch TV, Bose speakers and vast enveloping sofa see to that. Other distractions come in the form of fine art and photography books – I spent a worrying amount of time poring over snaps of the Queen on her travels.
The Langham Club is another huge draw. Moments from the Infinity Suite, and open to all guests staying in a premium room, it’s like the swankiest of airport lounges, with sofas and comfy fireside armchairs, quirky artwork and all manner of culinary treats, from canapes and cocktails to a buffet of salads, cheeses and cured meats, and a mini-version of the Palm Court’s afternoon tea . Other privileges for Infinity Suite guests include 24-hour butler service, a clothes-pressing service and use of an event space and screening room.
Despite all its grandeur, the Infinity Suite isn't in fact the most palatial of all the Langham's suites. At 4,844sq ft, the hotel's six-bedroom, £25,000-a-night Sterling Suite is the biggest suite in all of London.
Standout feature: That spectacular living area, which occupies the upper floor of a two-storey rotunda that faces Regent Street (Landau, the restaurant, lies beneath), is where you’ll spend most of your time. Do your best not to smirk at the sight of gridlocked black cabs and harried shoppers from this eyrie of calmness.
Not so keen: Most of the street noise is blocked out, but this is central London, so you’ll occasionally hear (and feel) the shudder of passing lorries. Luckily this isn't problematic at night – sleeping quarters are further away from the main road.
While it's convenient for shoppers, there are far nicer parts of London to step out in, and the view from the suite is mixed: ignore the eyesore Saint George's Hotel across the road, and fix your gaze instead on John Nash’s regency-style All Souls Church.
Location: Just off Regent Street, making it ideal for retail therapy and trips to the theatre. Regent’s Park, The British Museum and The Wallace Collection are also within walking distance.