The Langham is proudly analogue in a digital age. The lavish marble lobby with tiered fountains is a time capsule from an earlier century, a calling card continued somewhat less impressively in the rooms with their heavy wooden furniture and floral carpets. The secret to The Langham's success is simple: know thy customer. Old-fashioned ritual and service prevail – just ask the dressed-to-impress crowd enjoying the daily high tea, the stay-cationers lazing near the riverfront pool, or the genteel throng at Melba Restaurant, where buffet dining is anything but abject. And what's not to love about a crack team of concierges with the secrets of Melbourne at their fingertips?
The service at The Langham is second to none, whether it's the concierge offering to use his contacts to secure a last-minute dinner reservation, the appearance of children's bathrobes or the civilised midday check-out.
A hotel dedicated to The Langham "experience" has a gift shop par excellence, drenched in signature pink. Will you take home a bed and linen, an embossed pet collar, or the hotel's signature ginger flower-scented oil as a memento?
The Melba will convert the biggest buffet snob with its multicultural breakfasts ($40), and an impressive selection of shellfish and culturally diverse cooking stations at lunch and dinner. You can even have the hotel's popular Wedgwood high tea delivered to your room.
Though busy, Aria bar lacks X-factor and city views, and there are many better options nearby. Swing by at 7.05pm, however, for a complimentary Peach Melba cocktail.
This review was made independently for the Gourmet Traveller Hotel Guide. The guide's reviewers visit unannounced and pay their way.