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FIRST REVIEW: Inside The Langley, Marriott’s new uber-luxury UK country house hotel (Part 2)

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This is Part 2 of our review of The Langley, the brand new uber-luxe UK country house hotel which has just opened in Buckinghamshire.

It is part of Marriott’s The Luxury Collection and can currently be booked for the exceptionally low rate of 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night.

Part 1 of our The Langley review can be found here.  It focused on the public areas and the rooms.

The Langley’s official website is here.

The spa

The spa complex is exceptional.  Apart from the fact that it is entirely underground, so there is no natural light, you may well have never seen better.  The gym, often an afterthought, has been designed by Matt Roberts and features an amazing array of equipment, some of which I had never seen before.

Review The Langley Hotel

The interior designers really went to town on the pool:

Review The Langley Hotel

There is also a multi-functional jacuzzi complex with a number of different areas (air beds, massage jets etc).  These have proper on/off buttons, so you can stop and start the jets whenever you want – something you rarely see.  There is a Himalayan Salt Sauna, a steam room, some ‘sensory’ showers and all the usual bells and whistles you’d expect from a luxury hotel spa.

For many people, the spa alone will be a good enough reason to visit.

There is also an outdoor pool.  This is finished but not yet open – I was told that it is still awaiting certain approvals.

Review The Langley Hotel

Because there is nowhere else to mention it, I will drop in at this point that there is a very impressive function room, see below, which would work well for a small wedding:

Review The Langley Hotel

Cedar Restaurant

The restaurant is where it all fell apart, unfortunately.

The main long-term problem is that it is very small.  I counted 15 tables but some separation of larger ones may add another one or two – although if a lot of rooms had a child as a third guest the total usable count may drop.  This is simply not good enough for a 40 room hotel, even if they do not accept outside bookings (not sure if they do or not).  There are some outside tables but this isn’t any use most of the year.

Review The Langley Hotel

I was told in a pre-arrival email to book a table on arrival ‘as it gets busy’.  I decided to pre-book to be sure, which turned out to be a good move.  The best they could offer another guest who was asking when we arrived was 10pm.

There are no other eating options in the hotel except for room service or bar / lounge snacks.  With no other walkable options, the current situation isn’t acceptable.  They will need to either turn the lounge or bar into an evening restaurant or build a more casual eaterie in the Brewhouse – although this may mean cutting the room count even further.

Breakfast was a total, utter disaster.  It can’t be sugar-coated.  When we arrived at 10am there were literally no staff in the room, and none appeared for over five minutes.  The very small buffet was depleted and not refilled.  Even getting coffee was difficult, and when it arrived it was in a very tiny cup.  When you wanted more, the staff would take away our existing cups and not return for a few minutes.

The two photos below are 80% of the entire buffet, a bargain at £28 per person:

Review The Langley Hotel

and

Review The Langley Hotel

We did – after a l-o-n-g time – order and receive some a la carte items.  The quality, admittedly, was high but the wait was unacceptable.  There was a downward spiral in place because so many people were complaining that the staff didn’t have time to serve.

Time was also wasted on other things – there were no cereal spoons on our table, for example and when we requested them they were brought on a presentation tray!  All very nice, but not when the empty dirty table next to ours had still not been cleared over an hour later.  The room was also weirdly dark because the lights were turned off.

I’m sure this will be fixed over the coming weeks.  What won’t be fixed is that, when no-one can sit outside, they have a 0% chance of seating all of the guests when full.  By encouraging a la carte, people will stay longer than average too.

Secret tip – the buffet is pitiful value for £28, especially as you are unlikely to find much food left on it if my experience is anything to go by.  Platinum and Titanium members of Bonvoy, like me, get the buffet for free if they choose breakfast as their ‘welcome amenity’ but need to pay for a la carte items (£15 for Eggs Royale for example, plus service charge).  Go into the park and follow the signs to the Visitor Centre.  This is actually a really, really nice independent cafe with full breakfasts at £6.50.

Is The Langley good for children?

Not really.  They are not banned – and I was there with my 8 and 11 year olds – but life isn’t easy.  There is no kids club.  The pool hours are VERY restricted – 9am to 10.30am and 3.30pm to 5pm.   There is a kids menu in the restaurant, albeit at prices which are more than your average restaurant charges for adult meals.

However, Langley Park itself IS good for children.  There is a playground near the visitor centre and the lake behind the hotel is full of ducks.  The outdoor pool at the hotel will presumably not have restrictions on child hours, when it finally opens.  If you are planning to be out of the hotel during the day, you will manage.

Four Seasons Hampshire was like this when it launched.  People kept bringing their kids regardless, and eventually it surrendered.  A large family pool was built and the formal restaurant demolished and replaced with something more laid back.  The Langley may go this way in time.

The bottom line is that there are not many young couples queuing up to pay £400 per night (plus spa, dinner etc) for a UK weekend away.  The people with that sort of money are older and they usually come with children attached, or they are heading into Europe for a short break.

Review The Langley Hotel

Conclusion

The Langley is a very, very impressive hotel in terms of hard product.  I can honestly say that, in terms of quality, there is very little in the UK to top it.  It is on a par with Four Seasons Hampshire in the country house hotel stakes.  Langley Park also has more of offer than the grounds of the FS, although it can’t match FS for activities such as tennis (coming soon to The Langley apparently), clay pigeon shooting, fishing etc.

I was also impressed by the demeanor and the sheer number of staff, some of whom have, I believe, moved across from the sister hotel – The Wellesley – in Knightsbridge.  It only went wrong over breakfast, where only one female member of staff gave any impression of realising she was in a disaster zone and was actively apologising and trying to help where possible.  The others melted into the air.  As my wife pointed out, there were the same number of people working as doormen (three) as were working in the restaurant serving breakfast for 40 rooms.

I strongly recommend you give The Langley a try.  It won’t be 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy points for long, and I would expect the food issues to be sorted out soon – just make sure you book in advance for dinner.  The hard product in the rooms and spa is excellent and we really enjoyed spending time in the park.  If you are thinking of paying cash, you may want to hold back for a couple of months until the outdoor pool opens and the breakfast issues are resolved.

You can find out more about the hotel on The Langley website here.

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!

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.

FIRST REVIEW: Inside The Langley, Marriott's new uber-luxury UK country house hotel (Part 1)
My experience suing British Airways, after CEDR failed
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Comments

  1. The Savage Squirrel says:

    Hope this is allowed. In the interests of credit where it’s due and sticking it to the man and their penchant for charging £28 for some semi-frozen bread… here’s the link to said cafe, even though it’s not quite independent but part of a small chain. £6.50 for a full Englih in the park sounds great.

    http://langleyparktearooms.co.uk/

    I agree with Rob’s comments – if you’re not catering to various flavours of families then at £400/night that only leaves the more affluent retired or semi-retired, and a hotel or restaurant where EVERYONE is 65+ does have a certain ambiance … that most do not enjoy, even those from within the 65+ range.

    • Sounds interesting although one wonders why someone would actually need to source a local cafe to get breakfast whilst staying in a luxury hotel 🙂

  2. Does the points redemption give you complementary access to the spa facilities along with the gym?

    Or do you have to buy a treatment/pay for entry separately?

    • You get free access to the pool / sauna / steam room / jacuzzi. Treatments are charged separately, never saw a price list.

      • Thanks for confirming, assumed so but just wanted to make sure.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Prices were on the tablet in the room

      • sdconniechan says:

        I emailed the hotel and they sent the spa price to me as a PDF. You’d expect things are for at least £100, £200.

  3. Munch says:

    Wow plenty of HFP’s at the Langley last weekend. We stayed Friday and Saturday night and had similar experiences. Overall the restaurant / bar was like some kind of interactive live comedy experience – lucky we have a good sense of humour.
    I’m only gold but upgraded to the Brewhouse with a garden patio – excellent room.
    We had pre-drinks in the bar. The barman made one drink and then just disappeared? We shared the drink and gave up waiting.
    In the restaurant the waiter accidentally poured two glasses of champagne over a guest and then just ran back into the kitchen. Not sure we saw him again over the weekend?
    Breakfast was as previously reviewed. Coffee finally comes out but with no milk or sugar. Wait another 10 minutes. Served bread but no butter. Served cereals but no spoons. How they will serve a full hotel?
    Spa was wow – its free to guests, you just pay for any additional treatments.
    At 35,000 points its a great hotel. I’m sure the restaurant staff will improve but I do agree with Rob, how they will manage a full hotel in such a small room.

    • This makes 5 HFP guestrooms (6 as we had two) on Saturday night. Good job we didn’t decide to have a little drinking session together though, judging by your bar report 🙂

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Is that Including me even though I left as the room had broken AC and a Lukewarm shower.

        Three days later and still it phone call from the GM. Will be chasing them up tomorrow and bringing their like of reaction up.

  4. Stella64 says:

    I have just booked for December. Will they honour the rate if it is increased later up from 35,000 points?

    • Stella64 says:

      Please ignore this. I can see it is answered in the comments in the other part of the review.

  5. Bobby says:

    Can anyone recommend a good redemption for a family with four young children (ten and younger) in the UK? Happy to have separate rooms but would need to be interconnecting as a minimum.

    • Here’s the golden rule – NO-ONE guarantees connecting rooms. Forget whatever they promise. I have paid £500 per night at hotels which promised and then failed to deliver interconnecting rooms. You are always at the mercy of the check-in desk not allocating other people one of the two. Always accept that you may end up as 1 kid / adult per room. If that’s a problem, forget about it.

      Places we went to which are OK – Hilton St George’s Park (good for Thomas Land), Hilton Bournemouth, Crowne Plaza Marlow. Plenty of other options but these are ones we did personally. Hilton Syon Park too as mentioned in the review.

    • Rupert says:

      We’ve done the Intercontinental O2 before – easy to drive to and the you have the boat in to London to explore and then Emirates Airline which can be done as a return trip.

      Also hotel has a pool.

  6. Peter K says:

    My wife is not interested in this hotel sadly but if I did go it seems it would be cheaper (and better) to not purchase breakfast from the hotel but buy a mini/beer-fridge to take and have cereal brought from home with ice cold milk in the morning.

    • Shoestring says:

      yep you wouldn’t want any gut issues, spurious as they might be

    • Talay says:

      I have actually done similar when staying long term and not wanting to be beholding to room service or traipsing around the hotel or nearby for food.

      I brought a microwave and fridge and had then delivered to my room at the hotel. When I left, I gave them to someone.

  7. gustavmahler says:

    Thanks to seeing this yesterday, I booked up a Saturday night with points in July. My wife is pregnant with triplets, and we are hoping they don’t arrive before mid September (34 weeks is about all we can hope for) so this is about the limit of our travel this summer. We live in SW London, so this is ideal, as we can’t go overseas this year anyway.

    Will be interested to see if there’s anyone else our age – as above, we’d never pay £400 per night for a UK hotel. For that money I’d want a beach resort. I’ve made a reservation at the restaurant to keep our options open, but may head out somewhere else (my wife can’t drink anyway so we can always drive).

    I’m only Gold, too so not sure what kind of room we can hope to be upgraded to. Really hoping the outdoor pool is open – my only chance for that kind of thing this year!

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