Someone – was it Simon Manning? – had the brilliant idea of promoting Langham‘s luxury hotels with pale pink taxis, and not any-old cab but the classic Addison Lee London taxi, painted baby pink. The gal has seen these in Shanghai, where Langham Xintiandi‘s taxi was prominent at the oh-so-successful ILTM Asia 2015. Other taxis ply the streets of Boston and Hong Kong and everywhere else, indeed, that the group has a hotel. In Chicago the taxi is, says hotel GM Bob Schofield, a major photo background. People want to show they are taking selfies against TripAdvisor‘s best hotel in the whole of the USA.
Schofield says this accolade, when announced, resulted in 65,000 hits in 24 hours. It also brings extra business, as first-timers then post ‘yes, it is as good as they say’. In two years he has seen 1,160 reviews, and he has replied to each one. In that time there has been only one ‘poor’ rating, from the sorrowful young owner of a stuffed toy which got itself wrapped up in dirty laundry and sent to an outside facility to be laundered. (It was later found, and returned to its delighted owner.) There is always something in town, by the way, here at AMA Plaza, at the junction of Wabash and the river. See this recently installed statue, The Gentlemen, by Taiwanese sculptor Ju Ming – it is part of the collection of Great Eagle Holdings, owners of Langham.
Also around the area are some of the 100 lifesize Horses of Honor sculptures, installed by the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation working with Win Trust. Since 1853 over 500 local police officers have lost their lives on duty, and these horses are sponsored, to benefit the Foundation. The statues have been made by Orlandi Statuary, founded here in Chicago in 1911 by Egisto Orlandi, who had just arrived from Lucca: four generations later, the company is big on angels as well as animals, and garden statuary and much more. Each horse is uniquely decorated, and all provide marvellous photographic backgrounds, as evidenced by the thousands of tourists, 95% Americans, who have flooded into Chicago this summer.
And there is art, too, actually within this luxury hotel. Langham Chicago‘s upper floor lobby has floor to ceiling glass walls and, from that ceiling hang dozens of glass balloons, coloured to reflect the lakeshore sand and the blue water. Each balloon reflects bits of the black in cream marble pattern of the floor, below – well done, designer Richmond International. Then, after all this culture, it was more than time to head round to the hotel’s Travelle restaurant, which cleverly offers a Wabash Express lunch, bento box style but on separate Schonwald plates, presented simultaneously, say mixed greens salad, Scottish salmon with Romano beans and tomatoes, and chocolate cake. Well done, and all for $29.