A love letter to the Langham
We’ve just braved school holidays in July temperatures. My work is flexible so I didn’t this time need to put the kids into holiday programmes or hire outside help.
Instead we embraced the chance to put tools down and took off on a family holiday to Taupo and Rotorua. It was fun. Although in this day and age with modern technology, I couldn’t help but notice the overwhelming number of images of people’s holiday’s in Bali. Fiji. Thailand, The GC. In fact – anywhere that had a warmer climate than the central North Island.
There were smiling happy kids. Swimming pools. Smiling happy parents. Cocktails. Yoga classes on the beach. Divine food in beachside restaurants. I’m not saying that Taupo and Rotorua don’t have their charm, but it was hard not to have a severe case of FOMO.
I love the sun. I’ll choose beach and bach over snow and sub zero any day. Especially with the 3 kids in tow.
But I had an idea. An idea that would help re-set us. Re-charge us. Because let’s face it, aside from the sunshine and cocktails what we’re really looking for as parents is some time out. Some time-off the dishes. Off making multiple different dinners. Time off doing the never-ending washing (is that basket EVER empty??)
And so we headed to the Luxurious Langham in Auckland city for a night, the last weekend of the school hols.
My husband and I have had a few nights here over the years, pre kids. It’s a calm oasis in the midst of Auckland city. As soon as you step inside – all your cares and worries and jobs from the outside slip away.
The grand circular driveway is like something out of Beverly Hills. and an old friend is there to greet you. Kevin. He’s been there on and off for years, and is always ready with a top hat and a smile. He never forgets a customer, and makes you feel right at home.
As our family of five fall out of the car with our hastily packed bags, books, toys and nappies, the staff are gracious and treat us like we’ve arrived all in tact with Louis Vuitton luggage.
The Grand Chandelier in the lobby makes Tilly, our eldest to gasp. “This is the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen”. Jude, our middle child just wants to know what it’s made of “Real diamonds?”
They have thought of everything here; our adjoining rooms on the tenth floor are next to the coveted club lounge where beverages and treats are available for most of the day and evening. The cot is set up. And the décor is decadent.
Our kids can’t believe their eyes. Neither can we. It’s high tea in the lounge and after a quick jump on the bed (the kids) we try and re group to look like a highly tailored French family – and hit it.
Scones and Jam. Ice cream. Little morsels of deliciousness await. Even Freddie our 4.5-month-old baby wants in and he grabs my hand complete with scone and jam and shoves it in his mouth. Ok then – I guess we now eat food. Scones and jam it is!
There is so much to squeeze in to our one night stay – the troops grab the togs and hit the 27deg tropical pool, the baby sleeps at Chuan Spa reception watched over by the lovely staff and I head to the incredible Chuan Spa for one of their signature massages.
It is heavenly. From the room décor, to the smell, to the quietness, the calm. This mama of 3 has found her new spiritual home. My gorgeous masseuse Anna is a master with her hands and works her magic on my tight shoulders and neck. Within seconds I am totally relaxed.
So relaxed that when we wander into the room to get ready for dinner at the in-house Eight restaurant, I find myself smiling and laughing with my kids. "You’re different,” says Tilly, ‘you look happy’ (note to self, appear more happy!) Yes, it did have a transformative effect.
If the kids eyes were wide over the chandelier and the pool (which rivalled any overseas pics I’d seen on SM – even Freddie had his first swim in the middle of winter!), then when we got to their family friendly buffet restaurant, they were practically falling out of their head.
The trickling chocolate fountain is possibly the most effective bribe for the kids ever. The promise of making their own chocolate sundae was enough for even our fussiest to try a plate of “real food” before he was allowed desert.
And so, dear Langham, our love affair continues. You were our special place pre kids and it turns out you’re equally as special when we take them. Plus, the efforts you’ve gone to since to be sustainable, are enviable. No wonder you’ve earned the country’s first ever Earthcheck Platinum status for your hard work. Honey bees on the roof top, no plastic water bottles in rooms, nose to tale use of protein in the restaurant. You’ve save millions of litres of water through educating your staff and guests how to be more conservative.
You are a hotel of the future, and one that we are proud to support.