Luxury Hotels


This is the pink-and-rosy hotel of Southern California. No, the pink’s not too obvious at The Langham Huntington in Pasadena. The edges of the turning circle in front of the porte cochère are pink. GM Shane Pateman’s welcome letter is sealed with pink sealing wax. The flowers in room #850 are pink. That kind of detail – and the mock-up room of Richmond International’s forthcoming renovations for all 353 rooms honestly does not feature any pink at all.

What does feature continually throughout the rolling 23 acres of this massive estate is heritage. See the art-painted covered bridge above. Yes, it’s based on Lucerne’s bridge. In about 1930 then owner of the hotel, railroad magnate Henry Huntington heard about the Lucerne bridge and he wanted one too. He commissioned a local artist to paint his bridge, with views of Southern California. Similarly, Huntington’s second wife Arabella (formerly the second wife of Huntington’s uncle, Collis Huntington) went to Vienna and fell in love with their chandeliers. She paid US$5,000 for three, which now hang in the hotel’s Vienna Ballroom.  Amorous Arabella was always falling in love, by the way. (At some point apparently she ran away with a non-railway magnate and had a son. She had no offspring from either Huntington husbands.)

There’s incredible 29th century art throughout the hotel, and the Spanish-style building itself is heritage. Opened in 1907 as the Wentworth, for veteran General Wentworth, it was picked up by Henry Huntington in 1914. It’s been completely rebuilt, to make it earthquake-proof.  It’s been Sheraton and Ritz-Carlton but then when Great Eagle bought it for $170 million it was bound to become Langham.

Now it is heritage and today. There’s a 19th century bell in the courtyard run nightly at 7.05 pm by a hotel guest to mark the Change of Day, the local version of Trump Turnberry’s Scottish piper at 6 o’clock, or, at the same hour, slicing the top off a Champagne bottle in any St Regis properties.

Thinking of today, however, Langham Huntington’s Carriage House, which in earlier times stored precious motorcars, is now the Chuan Spa, and it’s splendid. Spa DirectorCheyenne Bowers lays on masses of activities for the 200 local members: the morning Girlahead was there the programme included three back-to-back hour-long yoga classes with a leader who instanty established rapport with the six students who represented some five decades age-wise and the entire spectrum of ability. Chuan also has a well-displayed boutique, see below. It’s worth noting that Shane Pateman is keen on retail: which is the big name he’s about to announce as tenant in the hotel’s main building?