Tuesday, December 17, 2019

It's a Posh, Posh, Traveling Life, Traveling Life for Me

Back in the 1980’s, I had the pleasure of being one of the first employees at the brand-new Ritz Carlton Hotel in Rancho Mirage California. 

I had just moved back to the state after spending a year in Massachusetts after my discharge from the active component of the US Army. 
I had applied for a job at the Ritz in Boston, but I didn’t do well on the interview. I did well, but I stumbled when we were talking about dealing with high end guests. 
Oddly enough, my ability to tear into the hide of junior soldiers in need of a course correction, using long strings of carefully sourced expletives, was not seen as a force multiplier in the luxury travel sector. Go figure.
I did, however, find my first job in the luxury travel sector at the Hotel de Layfette in downtown Boston. The department head that hired me had been a US Army military police officer. 
I learned a lot during that brief time, enough that when I interviewed for the position at the Ritz in Rancho Mirage, I didn’t make the same mistakes as before.
Working for the Ritz Carlton changed the way I thought about travel. In my younger days, price was the sole motivation for where I stayed. After Boston and Rancho, I understood that sometimes paying a little more for service was worth the cost. Sometimes. 
I’m still a bit uncomfortable staying in truly “posh” accommodations, but sometimes it can be very enjoyable. 
Which brings me to the Langley in Buckinghamshire, England.
I was looking for a hotel near Heathrow Airport (but not too near) for our last night in England. When I saw the picture of the front of the Langley, I had to stay there. 
The front of the Langley Hotel

Turns the hotel was under renovation and it hadn’t opened when I reserved our room, but it had been open for about three months before we arrived.
The best way to describe the hotel and grounds are breathtaking. Several employees were able to shed some light on the history of the site, but I did some digging and found a bit more, but not much. 
The development of the site goes back to the 1700’s when Charles Spencer, the third Duke of Marlborough constructed a hunting lodge on 150 acres in the Iver countryside. In 1758, he commissioned Stiff Leadbetter to build a new manor home on the site, which I believe is part of the hotel.
It seems that the historic property fell into a bit of disrepair, there is mention of it being inhabited by bats, but after a multi-million six-year restoration, it has opened as a luxury resort managed by the Marriott Corporation.
The property sits alone in the middle of Langley Park, which makes the drive in feel like your arriving at the palace. 
View of the hotel from Langley Park

We arrived on a rainy afternoon and were met by the bell staff, armed with umbrellas they made sure we made it to the lobby as dry as possible. 
The lobby area is just amazing. I can’t remember ever taking pictures of the front desk area while checking in.  
Sitting area in the lobby
Our room was in the front of the property, on the second floor. Unfortunately, there is no elevator for that part of the hotel (of course the bell staff brought the bags up, so a little extra tip for the effort was in order).
The bedroom was large, with some of the nicest furniture I have seen in a hotel, with a big fluffy bed that made you want to just stay in all day. 

There was a good size living room, with plenty of space. 
The living room
I do have to say, my favorite part of the room was the bath. I think every hotel bath should have heated floors and towel racks. 
The bath featured heated floors and towel racks
We only ate dinner at the hotel, and to be honest, we felt that we were too under-dressed to go into the main dining room. We ate in the lounge, the tables were a bit awkward for dining, but the food was fantastic.
The Lounge
I’m really sorry that we only had one night at the Langley, I would have liked to stay longer.

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