Langham Place New York: Understated Elegance in Midtown

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The Langham Place New York, Fifth Avenue lobby.
The Langham Place New York, Fifth Avenue lobby.

The subtlest of details often have the most impact: Oxidized copper. Smooth jazz. The perfect pink orchid.

The Langham Place New York, Fifth Avenue excels at those fine touches. For example, each guest’s stay begins with an e-mail from his or her personal assistant. In my case, Dennis was available to arrange transportation, make my dinner reservations, acquire theater tickets—or anything else my stay required.

First impressions are critical, and the Langham delivers. Its ultramodern lobby features contemporary furnishings and creamy polished marble floors, wrapped around a stunning focal point, a floor-to-ceiling blown glass drop that appears almost like a tear that started at the ceiling and did not quite make it all the way to the floor. Soft jazz from one of the hotel’s two restaurants, Measure, filters into the airy space, creating just the right ambiance. In the rooms, luxurious touches include Nepresso machines, sumptuous marble baths, Duxiana beds and Pratesi linens, and floor-to-ceiling windows—that open—overlooking the bustle of Fifth Avenue and the old Tiffany’s building.

On the second floor is chef Michael White and Altamarea Group’s signature restaurant, the Michelin-starred Al Fiori. Its menu of Riviera cuisine features both French and Italian dishes and an extensive wine list spans the region from Provence to Liguria. The passionate descriptions of our dishes by our waiter, Michelangelo, were delightful. Who wouldn’t want to try a soft-shell crab dish that had been kissed by its herbs? The lamb chops were encased in ground lamb and foie gras, tender and juicy, while the pastas were handcrafted.

The restaurant includes several semi-private spaces around the corner from the main dining room, set in nooks among what our host referred to as “a functional wine room,” which can be used for special events or wine dinners for groups of 12 to 50.

The New York outpost for Langham shares all the traditions of the other properties in its elite hotel group, which was founded in 1865 with the Langham, London (considered to be Europe’s first grand hotel). Among them is the passing of hors d’oeuvres in the lobby at exactly 7:15 each evening. Every flower in the hotel is pink, the brand’s trademark. A modern twist on afternoon tea is served at Measure, featuring such unlikely treats as hummus gougers and warm scotch eggs, topped off with the mandatory sweets.

The city’s art crowd is abuzz about the private collection of the hotel’s owner, Dr. Lo Ka Shui—143 original and reproduced works by Brooklyn artist Alex Katz. The former heart surgeon and chairman of Langham Hotels International purchased the building to house these monochromatic portraits, which he has been quoted as saying “are reflective of the energy of New York.” They will soon grace the lobby, the new meeting area, which is being re-created to the tune of $6 million (to be completed in early September) and the guestrooms. For more information, visit