The Langham Huntington
The Langham Huntington Hotel was reviewed here, in 2000, as the Ritz-Carlton Huntington Hotel.
The stunning grounds include the restored Japanese and Horseshoe Gardens, originally designed from 1911 to 1914 by William Hetick, the same landscape architect for the nearby Huntington Library and Gardens. These gardens are what stand out, in my mind, as truly unique to this Ritz-Carlton. The Horseshoe Gardens resemble the Huntington Library Gardens with a lovely walking path, allowing easy access for pushing a stroller. The Japanese Gardens, which consist of wooden bridges, tranquil brooks, and sculpted gardens, create an otherworldly ambiance for your family. One part of the Japanese Gardens did include some stairs, but, for the most part, you will find at this resort very child-friendly walking accessibility amidst these two romantic gardens, where it is easy to lose yourself in the serenity. As you gaze at the blue skies and dramatic San Gabriel Mountains, you will hardly feel you are on the parameter of a major metropolis. But, in fact, the resort is located just twenty minutes from downtown Los Angeles.
The hotel is composed of 392 guest rooms, including eight cottages that comprise nineteen suites and one special Tournament of Roses Suite. The cottages are designed to look like the Tudor estate homes of the surrounding neighborhood. Altogether there are thirty-seven Ritz-Carlton Club rooms and suites. These rooms with "Club access" have a separate elevator key that takes you to the Club on the 8th floor. There, guests with access find a Club lounge, personal concierge, complimentary beverages and five food presentations daily: continental breakfast, mid-morning fare, afternoon tea, cocktails and hors-d'oeuvres, late evening cordials and chocolates. At the Club you will find plush sitting rooms with comfortable chairs, sofas, small tables, and, for the most part, polished and accommodating service. The Club at the Huntington provided satisfying supplements to meals, not necessarily the case with all Ritz-Carltons, as the Clubs vary quite a bit from one to the other. The Huntington Club offers a pleasant place to relax with family, snack on cheese and fruit or, in the after-dinner hours, contemplate the day with a cup of coffee or tea.
My experience at the Huntington Club is that their finger foods provide nice hors-d'oeuvres and snacks but are not substantial enough to pass as main courses. Club servers will, however, try to accommodate you. For instance, during my stay, I was pregnant, and suddenly found myself experiencing a fruit craving that could not be satisfied by the bowl of fruit on the Club table. The gallant Club server was kind enough to order me a lavish fresh fruit salad from the kitchen at no additional cost, even though they were not serving this at the time.
Although it is on the pricier side, I strongly recommend arranging Club access as part of your overall Ritz-experience. If you are pregnant during your time there, do remember to ask how long the food (particularly meats, fish, and chicken) has been sitting out, since the presentations sometime last up to three hours. At one of my visits, I asked at 2:30 p.m. how long some turkey and cheese mini-sandwiches had been out, and I was told since 11:30 a.m. This is good information to know.
The spa, which opened November 1997, features a salon, spa boutique and fitness center replete with virtual reality fitness equipment and an aerobics room for classes. Over thirty different treatments are available at the spa including massage, body exfoliation and aromatherapy oil wraps along with various skin and hair services. I was happy with the haircut I received at the salon, which I was able to book at the last minute on my day of arrival.
Meeting facilities are extensive at this resort. A variety of different rooms and a special conference concierge are available with over 30,000 square feet of the hotel divided into several rooms designated for conferences.
Other amenities include an outdoor swimming pool designed as a replica of California's first Olympic-sized pool; an outdoor whirlpool; sundeck and pool bar; three tennis courts; jogging and biking trails adjacent to the hotel; and bike rentals.
Restaurants available in the hotel are:
Food is also served at The Lobby Lounge, Pool Patio, and The Bar.
Awards accrued by this resort include the Conde Nast's Gold Star list for 2000 and 2001, Mobil 4-Star and AAA 4-Diamond.
The Ritz-Carlton Huntington Hotel participates in the Ritz P.O.L.O. (Protect Our Little Ones) Club. With this service, parents staying at this resort are given a bag with an inflatable tub support to reduce head injuries, electric plug outlet covers to decrease the possibility of shock, two night-lights, and a baby first aid kit. This hotel also provides a list of baby safety suggestions, many of which are common sense, but helpful to remember, such as to remove unsafe items from the bathroom (i.e. hair dryer, curling iron, medicine, etc.), keep the toilet seat closed, etc.
My family visited the Ritz-Carlton Huntington a few days before Christmas. This resort creates a wonderful atmosphere for children during the holidays through special activities such as:
The very first rays of the sun create an image through the small statue in the Huntingtons Japanese Gardens, as the waterfall seems to generate droplets of light in the small pond. A truly memorable flash of time we were able to share with Mandalin on a crisp, cool Pasadena morning.
Of particular note, the Ritz-Carlton Huntington Hotel has America's only covered picture bridge, which displays forty original oil paintings. Completed in 1933 by Frank Montague Moore when the hotel was the Huntington Hotel, each painting depicts a unique California scene from the early twentieth century, for instance, Catalina's Avalon Bay, Seventeen Mile Drive in Carmel, several Spanish missions, and many others, some no longer recognizable, such as the scene of San Diego bay's grassy hillsides, which have long since been developed. In the evenings, the lit bridge with its gabled roof offers a very memorable spot to stroll with someone special, as the San Gabriel Mountains frame the background.
The resort also offers various romance-oriented vacation packages that change seasonally. Ask reservations for details.