I have a room at the Langham. It’s on the twenty-second floor So it’s going to be a great stay. Twenty-two is my birth date and my special number along with seven which is the number you get when you add up my whole birthdate. And my room is 2217. Zero seven would be better but 2217 is pretty auspicious.
My room has an amazing view out over the CBD looking on to Flinders Street Station, and a church dwarfed by some modern boxy mirror buildings. The marble tiles in the bathroom are floor to ceiling and there’s a big bath to soak in, a comfy bed, a well-stacked minibar, a couch, a chair and a desk. There’s also a turn down service where I’m given two cute little bottles of water with pink Langham labels.
Yet I don’t really need any of this because I have something even better than a room on the twenty-second floor at the Langham Melbourne. I have access to the Executive club on the twenty fourth floor. I’ve been in Executive Clubs before but I haven’t tended to use them. However I’m on my own this visit and the Executive Club is my new best friend.
First of all, there’s a friendly smile from a pink-jacketed receptionist who welcomes me in and delivers me copious amounts of English breakfast tea with hot frothy soy milk. (Unfortunately it’s tea bag tea. This is about the only thing I can fault in my whole stay. Coffee drinkers won’t suffer anything less than a barista made coffee so tea drinkers need to rally against the tea bag servers of the world and demand leaf tea.) The bag is Twinings so they are as good a teabag one can get but it is the equivalent of Moccona for the coffee snobs.
Not only do I receive hot tea in a white china pot but freshly made gluten free sandwiches are organised for me. They even have the crusts cut off. Is there anything more elegant than a cucumber sandwich sans crust? I nibble away and sip my tea, pinky stuck out and think ‘this is the life’. Can it possibly get any better? And it does. I’m offered gluten free scones with strawberry jam.
I don’t want to leave. But then I’m told that afternoon tea finishes at 5pm. I wipe off a crumb from my lip and watch the pink jackets take away the food on display. Seconds later they return with canapés for the 5.30 pm crowd. Complimentary drinks and canapés are served from 5.30 to 8 pm. Now there are olives and hummus and carrot sticks. Nuts and vegetarian dumplings. There are cakes too. I’m never leaving. I think I’ll bring my pyjamas up on my next visit but then I read the dress code. No pyjamas! So others have had the same thoughts? How cosy it would be just to sleep in one of the chairs and be woken up with tea and scones.
There is more however. There is breakfast. This is also complimentary and served between 6.30 – 10.30 am. But what to do between free meals? I discover the Chuan Spa.
Whilst treatments are not free, (I really would never leave if they were) they are worth every cent. I have a massage with Savette. I lie there and she squeezes warm oil over me and massages it in down my left arm with firm fingers. Then she starts on my right arm. It is at this moment that I dream of being an octopus. Oh to have eight arms and have each of them massaged by Savette. I wonder if she would charge extra if I did somehow have an extra arm or six. The time passes in citrus heaven. Savette says she’ll leave me to get ready after the massage. I plan to get up but when that door closes I don’t. I’m woken by a gentle knock at the door and realise I’ve fallen asleep. Embarrassing. I quickly dress and visit the pool and the sun loungers that look out to the same view as my room except from two floors higher. It’s sunny in Melbourne – although the forecast was for rain so I decide to test the loungers. Pretty comfy. Like who needs a room?
If one ever wanted to leave the hotel, The Langham is smack bang in the middle of Southbank. I could cross the bridge and shop but I hold back from spending any more money and decide on a stroll along the Yarra.
It’s ten in the morning and there are not many people around but the wildlife in the middle of the city is abundant. I see three families of ducks – two parents and a whole lot of fluffy babies. I hope it’s not duck hunting season. They are so cute and fluffy I want to pick one up but I keep my distance and continue to walk towards the Botanic Gardens until I see Loch Yarra Monster. Yes truly. There is some huge thing slithering into sight and just out of sight into the river. I see it twice then it disappears. Perhaps it’s afraid of receiving a swimming fine. It’s illegal to swim in this part of the Yarra. I wish I could stay to watch it surface but I have a flight to catch. The Yarra flows like a river of Wonka chocolate through Melbourne and seems like the ideal place for a picnic. If I’m staying at the Residence by Kerrie Hess at the Langham, included in my $1800 per night packaged is a Season’s Harvest picnic hamper for two.
I plan to come back and sit by the river and take a photo of the monster perhaps then I’ll be able to pay for a night at the Residence. But otherwise I’m bringing a lock and a chain and chaining myself to the Executive Club. I’m sure they’ll serve leaf tea by then because the Langham is that sort of place. It listens to its guests and it goes the extra mile.
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