Langham Hotel: Luxury the life

MICHELLE ROBINSON
Last updated 05:10 13/04/2014

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The first days after our break were tough.

Over one delightful weekend I had gotten used to eating my fill of canapes and desserts at regular intervals.

At the risk of sounding like a spoiled brat, I had withdrawals from not having my coffee and paper served to me at breakfast. All too soon, I was accustomed to dishes magically disappearing after I had eaten. (My husband didn't take it well when I asked him to continue the magical disappearing act at home).

As soon as the lights dimmed on our first night at the Langham Hotel in Auckland's CBD, I wanted the same black-out curtains. I wondered how much it would be to install an air conditioning unit to lull us to sleep at home while keeping our room the optimum temperature.

As well as sleeping and eating, there was plenty more relaxation during our retreat for two.

Although we missed the boat in having our car parked by a trilby-wearing valet (the guests of two weddings took precedence), we parked and headed in to the lobby bar, Palm Court. It's the venue for the hotel's popular Tiffin high tea, which is on my list to try. But tonight we're hitting something a little harder.

I would have loved the raspberry and lychee caprioska, or frozen sour bash, but being three months pregnant means I am limited to juice or soda - until the iced tea menu catches my eye. My husband opts for a delicious-sounding caramel popcorn martini, while I have rose c'est la vie, soft and sweet rose tea with strawberry slices and mint.

The staff keep us topped up with nibbles as we sip away the late afternoon in cushy lounge chairs.

Adjourning to hotel restaurant Eight for dinner, we peruse the eight food stations offering a variety of cuisine before tucking into a feast that puts to shame the hotel buffet of old. But maybe I overdid it - I start to feel queasy.

"Perhaps we should go back to our room," hubby suggests. I protest. We haven't had dessert. The ebullient staff come to the rescue, and tell us we can finish eating in our room.

My husband's in bed as soon as we're in our door on level 10.

We had not slept this well in years. The promise of a Club Lounge breakfast pulls me from my fantasy of staying in bed all day.

It's funny how quickly your stomach adjusts to being full 24/7. I'm keen to pull on sweat pants and a t-shirt but a strict Club Lounge dress code sees me in last night's floral dress. At least it's roomy.

The lounge is full of families when we arrive, including a child playing with a musical toy which churns out Psy's Gangnam Style every two minutes. Aren't there any rules here? But nothing could ruin our mood as we are served strong espressos before a full cooked breakfast.

After that it's a few laps of the outdoor heated pool before we head for the hotel's award-winning Chuan Spa for a two-hour Thalgo Polynesia Spa Ritual. It's one of the spa's newest treatments.

In one of six dimly lit treatment rooms lie two massage beds (surprisingly comfy) and a bath. We can choose our own music.

Described as a four-stop journey of the senses, the treatment starts with a body scrub with sweet smelling vanilla, coconut and monoj oils to smooth the skin. Delicious.

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Next it's into a fragrant milk bath filled with effervescent "bath pebbles" to hydrate the skin and relax muscles. We're left for a good half hour to soak before reclining back on our beds for massage number two.

The therapist slowly massages with rhythmic movements, which are said to promote deep relaxation, running soothing warm sand pouches over each area.

My husband later commented, "it was like she read my mind", as the therapists worked their way up the shoulder and neck area for a delightful slow head massage.

The treatment is finished off with a gentle oil rub scented with the tiare flower and containing algomonoi sargassum to nourish the skin. It also leaves gold sparkles so you look like you have been to the islands.

Feeling utterly stress-free, we are escorted to the ‘contemplation room' for green tea, an energising tea, mineral water, a small orange juice and a delicious fruit cocktail with thick mango extract.

After all that detoxing and pampering, we are hungry again. Luckily we just make the Club Lounge's afternoon tea, where we tuck into several egg and horseradish mayo club sandwiches, miniature cakes and tarts and scones with cream and jam.

We take some time to chill out before it's time to head back to the Club Room to fill up on cocktails and canapes.

Again, we find the place almost deserted at 7.30pm, so we don't hesitate to hoe into the meat skewers, cheese platter, savoury and sweet tartlets before retiring to our room.

We realise we still haven't eaten those saved desserts from the night before, but we're way too full to care.

The next morning is our last, and it is with a little sadness that we say goodbye to our suite before ambling off to work, already dreaming of our next stay. Perhaps with a newborn this time.

We'll see what the Club Lounge diners make of that.

The writer stayed courtesy of The Langham Hotel.

- Sunday Star Times

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