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A bizarre email arrives from Marriott’s new UK luxury country house hotel, The Langley

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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 LangleyTake 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.

The Langley hotel

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:

[Deleted]

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!)

The hotel website is here if you want to find out more.

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.

Can you get an Amex sign-up bonus if you already have the same card as a supplementary?
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Comments

  1. Kevin says:

    Re: Langley – I have an October redemption booking, no such email for me as yet.

  2. There was some discussion recently on FT and one of the blogs (OMAT I think?) about this happening at some of the Bonvoy hotels now. I think St Regis Maldives, St Regis Deer Valley, a Luxury Collection hotel and a couple of other St Regis hotels were mentioned. It seems to be that Marriott don’t reimburse the hotel at all if you don’t show up (and then just forfeit your points). I think that’s the risk they’re trying to cover.

    Though I guess at a short cancellation period they’re also running the risk that if lots of people have made speculative bookings across a range of dates (and planning to decide on whether to go depending on the weather forecast for example). Given how expensive it is compared to points I would think a significant proportion of their bookings are on points.

    Perhaps you only get this email if you have more than one booking with them on points at this point?

    • Very possibly. Our 2nd booking is speculative, but only to the extent that if we don’t like it the first time we’ll cancel the 2nd one!

    • John says:

      Doesn’t the hotel charge you one night at rack rate if you no-show? Or is it different with bonvoy, as that’s what it says on my IHG confirmations and Rob had an article about getting charged when he forgot about his IC London reservation

    • Young L says:

      I only have one booking in August and I’ve got the email.

      • Alex W says:

        I’ve booked for August Bank Holiday week and no such email.

  3. Mark e says:

    In about 2001 I had rooms reserved at the Holiday Inn Reading (now Crowne Plaza) for Reading Festival weekend. The hotel is next door to the festival site.
    The rooms were booked as soon as they went on sale 50 weeks in advance and were flexible rate bookings. A few months before the stay they posted me invoices for each room demanding that I paid in full immediately to confirm my bookings as they were busy. I suspect that they meant to withdraw availability before they went on sale but I got them in the early houra of the morning. I emailed them pointing out the booking T&Cs and they honoured my bookings under them.

    We had a great festival weekend and a wonderful stay.

  4. Rob MC says:

    Would titanium get any food perks at this hotel?

  5. Mike says:

    All this excitement for a hotel in Slough!

    • John says:

      All this excitement for a hotel!

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Don’t knock slough also getting into some parts of central isn’t as bad as you’d think on a weekend night.

  6. Sorry V OT as no bits:

    – I can see Avios availability in CX F on LHR-NRT connecting in HKG obviously. However the same seats aren’t available direct from LHR- HKG. I assume this is to do with married segments. However does this mean these seats are technically bookable by calling BA ticketing?

    -Does anyone have any experience of booking Alaska awards on CX metal and do they share similar/same award availability as BA shows?

    Many thanks

    • Lady London says:

      The nonavailability of just the first leg is prob a marketing decision. They want you to pay on that stretch. But if you’re buying to the further destination then availability will show.

      BA does exactly the same. Often you’ll find you can’t get availability to or from London for somewhere outside of the UK but add an internal flight that makes you change in London and hey presto.

    • Matthew says:

      Unfortunately as you suspect availability will be the married segment only unless it is showing on the single route too. They won’t be able to ‘split’ it.

      I’ve booked a few CX awards with Alaska and they didn’t see the same as BA. Rule of thumb is 2 less seats in each cabin than BA shows but I’ve never found a pattern in reality. Just phone them up and ask to check availability and be prepared for a no especially for F awards! Have the flight number and date ready to give them as that will help 👍

  7. Ethan says:

    Sounds like great value – for Amex into Marriott points is it just transfer into Starwood??

  8. Lady London says:

    Demanding that you reconfirm your reservation when you’re already on the hook for it contractually (and they or Marriott have established cancellation requirements on you that are already in the contract that is made by your booking) is a bit sleazy.

    Many of their customers will be HNW individuals who are not just sitting around waiting to reconfirm a booking they’ve made with Marriott and no, they don’t all have PA’s. Some of them may be off doing mad things like sailing the transatlantic single-handed.

    I don’t think this is legally sustainable if someone doesn’t see the email etc or not in a position to respond for their deadline. I would love to see Marriott legally challenged on this if someone turns up and no room. Not exactly an easy level of hotel to ‘walk’ someone to an equivalent. I suppose they could always try Cliveden. But not much likelihood on a summer weekend.

    If this hotel wanted a reconfirmation then they or Marriott should have made sure it went into the conditions upfront. But at this level of hotel doing it now out of the blue is really sleazy behaviour. I think big parts of the hotel are not going to be ready (cue compensation for loss of advertised amenity) and the hotel is trying to contain its losses just as Rob is thinking us hinted.

    • and how many of these “reconfirmation” emails will get picked up by Junk mail filters – so the customer never actually sees them !

      • Lady London says:

        Exactly.

        I really hope the hotel gets their just desserts for this.

        Someone with a guest they wanted tb treat nicely, or someone with a family us going to arrive and find it anything but relaxing as they have no room or perhaps promised amenities not functional. Hotel needs not to put people in this position and deserves to be punished for the sleazy way they’re trying to get out of the contract they’ve already made by taking the booking.

        At this stage in the life of the hotel their issue won’t be about how much profit they make but more likely about their ability to fulfil what they’ve promised in the booking.

        What else would you expect from a hotel in Slough 🙂

    • Anna says:

      Totally agree, if they are going to do this, it should be opt-out rather than opt-in. It’s akin to airline “off-loading” except with no offer of compo!

  9. Stu N says:

    I have a booking for a night in August, no reconfirmation request as yet.

    I figured the Langley is a better option for an overnight before a lunchtime long haul flight than anything on the Heathrow estate and I nearly fell off my chair when I saw the jaws between cash and a redemption booking. We are seeing almost 1.5p per Bonvoy point, or 0.8p vs default of a room at Sofitel.

    It’s being publicised in the May High Life too so may see an uptick in bookings.

    • Seems to be some Marriott / BA deal on, because the guy who runs Bonvoy in Europe was profiled in Business Life last month and there was a full page for another Marriott offer.

      • Stu N says:

        Big sign up in Concorde Room publicising a Double Take offer too. I think you’ve covered this already anyway.

        marriottbonvoy.co.uk/doubletake

    • \perhaps a certin name has triggered “Reputation ” for bed runs on London Hotels over the years that has single handed destroyed credibility !

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Really don’t think so.

        Also £500 a night or 35k points isn’t in mattress run territory.

        A hotel selling at £40-50 a night obviously isn’t full and would rather have a paying guest than no one even if it is for 15 mins.

        • Peter K says:

          Exactly. In my line of work, someone the company is not making money on but bringing in a nominal amount is better than zero income.

  10. I also had this email. Not a points booking, reservation in June 🤔 we did get a very competitive rate compared to what’s now advertised so I’d wondered whether it was that.

  11. Waribai says:

    I’ve booked for early June. Haven’t had the email but I’ve noticed that there is still points availability.
    Now I’m wondering how many Titaniums will be there on the same weekend!

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