The UK has a number of genuinely high-end country hotels near London – Four Seasons Hampshire, Chewton Glen, Whatley Manor, Coworth Park etc.
These hotels have two things in common. They are exceptionally expensive at weekends and they are not available with hotel loyalty points.
This is why I have been intrigued by the imminent (June) opening of The Langley. Take a look at its website here.
The Langley will be part of Marriott Bonvoy’s The Luxury Collection. Based in Iver and:
“Sitting in a former royal hunting ground and with landscaping originally designed by England’s greatest gardener, Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, the setting of this grand country manor amidst acres of formal gardens and parklands, offers an escape where time slows and natural beauty bounds. The hotel’s boutique selection of 41 exquisite rooms and suites are to be designed by Dennis Irvine Studio with the height of sophistication and refinement in mind. The rooms are divided across the main house and The Brew House, a Grade II listed 18th century outbuilding. The Langley Spa, a world-class wellness centre will feature an indoor and outdoor pool, thermal area and five expansive treatment rooms. A specially designed fitness suite by leading personal trainer and author, Matt Roberts will use technologically advanced systems and equipment.”
The Langley is as reassuringly expensive as you would expect. Opening next month, the cheapest room for a Saturday night in late June is £546 and goes up sharply from there.
For Marriott Bonvoy points, however, it is exceptionally cheap. The Langley is Category 5, which means it is 35,000 points per night. I tend to value a Marriott Bonvoy point at 0.5p. Spend them at The Langley and you’re getting 1.25p+.
Note that, whilst the Marriott website says “We’re sorry. This property is not taking redemption bookings at this time.” this is not true. Click through and rooms will show if there is any reward availability left.
But strange things are happening ….
I took my own advice and made two bookings at The Langley. It would be a weekend break without much of a drive, and of course I could review it for HFP.
On Thursday I got this very weird email:
“Warm regards from The Langley, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Buckinghamshire and thank you for your reservation with us.
We are currently holding rooms for you as follows:
We are now in our final preparation stage for our hotel opening in June, which is proving to be very successful. As we are experiencing very high demand on the first opening months, I would like to kindly ask you to reconfirm your reservation with us and your estimated arrival time, as well as of any requests or preferences, so that we may make your stay with us as memorable as possible.
If you wish to continue to hold your reservation, please reply to this email within 72 hours with a reconfirmation. If we do not hear back from you within 72 hours, until 5th May 3 PM local London time, we will assume you are no longer interested in holding your room and will proceed with the cancellation of your reservation.
We would be delighted to discuss your reservation over the telephone with you should you wish to do that. In this case, please advise us of your best contact telephone number and the best time to call you.”
I mean …. when was the last time a hotel contacted you and threatened to cancel your reservation if you didn’t reconfirm that you were coming?!
One possibility is that they are further behind than they admit, and this is a way of reducing the number of people to whom they need to pay compensation.
Another possibility is that, with just 41 rooms, fully flexible bookings for cash or points – like mine – are turning out to be a big risk. We are 5% of their occupancy and if we cancelled close to arrival it could be the difference between profit and loss for that night. The email they sent doesn’t change that, however, as I retain my 24 hour cancellation right.
Look out for my review in June (assuming they don’t cancel my booking!)
How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points via UK credit cards
As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Marriott Bonvoy points from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!
Do you know that holders of The Platinum Card from American Express receive FREE Marriott Bonvoy Gold status for as long as they hold the card? It also comes with Hilton Honors Gold, Radisson Rewards Gold, Shangri-La Golden Circle Jade and Melia Rewards Gold status. We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here.
Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Marriott Bonvoy points. That page is regularly updated with the latest special offers and will still be accurate even if you are reading this article months after publication.