I love summer in London. On the few sunny days we get, the city buzzes with outdoor festivals and events, and every terrace and garden is packed with people. As a sun-loving Californian, I am not immune to this phenomenon. As such, I was very excited to be invited to the launch party of the annual outdoor terrace bar at The Langham hotel in London.
The bar has a unique theme every year, and this time it was Cuban. A man hand-rolled cigars, waiters served special rum cocktails, and the weather was like a warm Havana day.
While there, I learned about the recent opening of the new Langham hotel spa, the Chuan Spa, as well as the newish Langham restaurant, Roux at the Landau. When I was offered an invitation to review them both, I readily accepted.
Earlier this week I arrived at the Chuan Spa and spent an hour enjoying the steam room, sauna, and indoor swimming pool before my massage treatment. The facilities were top-notch, and each locker came with a personal loofah, comb, and other grooming items in addition to the standard robe and slippers.
Ten minutes before my massage, I went upstairs to relax in the beautiful zen-like waiting room. After I filled out the requisite forms and a questionnaire to gauge my mood, my massage therapist, Jenny, showed me to one of the treatment rooms.
Jenny told me about the Chuan Spa’s traditional Chinese medicine philosophy and how the client’s earth element would be used to create a unique massage experience to re-balance and revitalize both mind and body.
The massage itself was very relaxing. It was similar to other massages I’ve had, but definitely had an added element of acupressure that was in line with the spa’s Eastern philosophy.
After the treatment I enjoyed some tea and water in the waiting area, and then went back downstairs to get ready for dinner. While there, I was a bit surprised to find two children in the women’s locker room. Most spas I have been to have an adults-only policy.
It wouldn’t have bothered me except that the children were noisy and one was a boy that could not have been under the age of 12. Given that I had change into my clothes in the open room, I felt uncomfortable.
Back upstairs, I entered Roux at the Landau, the new restaurant from famed chefs Albert and Michel Roux Jr. After a dark corridor, the room opened up into an airy dining room decorated in pretty pastels reminiscent of a Laduree shop. It was lovely.
So was the food. After starting with a glass of Champagne, I decided to order the warm Kent asparagus with bone marrow, morel crumb, and shaved Serrano ham to start, and the Dover sole meuniere with Jersey royal potatoes and wilted spinach for a main.
The starter was excellent, if the asparagus was a bit more cooked that I would have liked. The stalks were fresh, though, and the accompanying ham was divine. It was paired with a glass of Saumur Blanc Les Vignerons de Saumur 2008 that was very well chosen by the sommelier. The sole was excellent and indulgent, and the simple sides served it well. It went beautifully with a half bottle of Sancerre Andre Vatan 2009.
For dessert I went for the lemon verbena panna cotta with Hereford strawberries, which I enjoyed with a great glass of MR Moscatel, Telmo Rodriguez, Malaga Spian 2008. Smooth and fresh, it was the perfect summer dessert.
I left The Langham hotel, spa, and restaurant feeling relaxed from my massage and pleasantly full from my dinner. It was a great way to spend an afternoon and evening in the heart of the city. If the true summer sun shows up in London again, I will have to go back again and revisit the terrace bar as well.