Built originally in 1907, there is quite a history behind this grand old lady perched in the tony suburbs of Pasadena. Surrounded by houses costing multiple of millions of dollars, it is situated perfectly to host upscale events for the rich and famous. The hotel is the frequent location for business meetings, private parties and weddings. There were two weddings the Saturday night we were there. Perhaps that accounts for some of the unease I felt about ranking this a five star experience. It had all the ingredients, including the pedigree and the service, but something was missing.
We had booked our room through TripAdvisor's sister company, Tingo, and were delighted to have a significant reduction in price during the two months or so we waited to attend a UCLA football game at the Rose Bowl. And it wasn't as though they treated us shabbily at check-in. But there was that forced smile when she said, "We have assigned you to an 'executive' room in our Lanai Building" that made me uncomfortable. The smile that says, "Because you got a big discount on the room rate, you are going to be in the worst room we have."
And it wasn't a bad room. At least I don't think so because of course I didn't see all the other rooms. But I could see that the Lanai Building was the only one across the bridge and on your way to Grandmother's house! The Lanai Building is a three story structure with standard rooms facing the street on one side and rooms with a balcony overlooking the pool on the other side. Our room was facing the street...no balcony.
And It is not as if we were on the 2nd floor next to an elevator shaft, an ice machine and an air conditioning unit. Our view was across Wentworth Street looking at million dollar houses. Outside leaves fell in the autumn breeze, people sauntered by with their dogs and the occasional homeowner zipped by in their Lamborgini or Aston Martin. But we were about as far away from the lobby as you could get and, while not knowing how many rooms were vacant, I suspect we were not given a room with a balcony because our rate didn't justify it.
So here is where I get the real rub. And most of you will never experience this. It turns out on this particular Friday when we check in at about 1:30 pm, there are roofers on the building tearing off the old roof. I get it, I understand it, maintenance has to be done and it isn't always convenient. But don't you think the young lady with the overly polite smile at the registration desk knew about this seminal event taking place? Would it not have been appropriate to warn us, "There are roofers on your building but they will be done by 4:00 pm or so. Our apologies in advance for this inconvenience."
Needless to say having been placed on the third floor of a three story building, it was obvious there was something going on above when we walked in the room. The valet who brought our luggage acknowledged the noise only when we asked him what was going on. Of course he had no knowledge of how long it would be going on, if it would start again the next morning and if so what time. He did offer that if we had a problem with it be sure to check with the front desk and perhaps they could move us. Yeah, right. This should have never happened in the first place.
But in truth, this was not a deal breaker. The construction crew knocked off just about the time we had to leave for the football game. Although they did some work the next morning, it was brief and did not entail nailing or anything like that. They just put up some safety barriers from what I could see. So while the initial thumping around was annoying, it was short lived.
In general I have to applaud the Langham for undertaking the renovation of this beautiful old hotel. My understanding is it went through management by Sheraton in the '80's, Ritz Carlton in the 90's and was taken over by Langham to be their show piece in the Los Angeles area. The grounds are immaculate. The interiors are well polished and clean. The staff generally very professional although somewhat aloof.
Our room was very large. The bed was comfortable with high quality linens. The bathroom was not particularly big. It had a bathtub/shower combo lined with marble. We did hear our neighbor the next morning on a phone call but otherwise the rooms were quiet.
We didn't use most of the facilities. No tennis, gym or restaurants. We did have our second night's meal using the bar menu in The Tap Room while watching football. Prices were high, ($15.00 mixed drinks, $9.00 beer) and the small plates were expensive for small quantities of food ($15.00 for three Kobe sliders) but the ambiance was wonderful. There is music after 9:00 pm and there is adjoining balcony seating overlooking the extensive grounds.
We met some interesting guests while we were staying at the hotel. A back up singer for a major American rock star and an owner of a recently crowned Breeder's Cup winner. If I think about it the problem is me. As the old saying goes, if you have to ask the cost, you don't belong. But I still had a great time while it lasted.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Capturing the grace and elegance of a bygone era, The Langham Huntington, Pasadena, Los Angeles is located at the base of the picturesque San Gabriel Mountains, just nine miles north of downtown Los Angeles in beautiful Pasadena. Located on 23 acres with grand historic ballrooms and gardens, the landmark hotel features delectable dining, the award-winning Chuan Spa and a number of recreational choices such as tennis programming, fitness classes, swimming and nearby golf. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- The Langham Huntington, Pasadena, Los Angeles Hotel Pasadena
- Langham Huntington Hotel
- The Langham Huntington Hotel