The Langham Huntington Pasadena
Flashback to my first trip to Los Angeles circa 2004.
Picture this: a bright eyed and hopeful 19-year-old Drama student who secretly wished to be discovered at a random casting that would ultimately mean she'd have to pack her bags and move to the USA. She would naturally spend the next 10 years shifting between LA to shoot movies and New York where she would flex her Broadway vocal muscles, and her life would be a magical musical.
Fast forward to July 2014. More than 10 years have passed, and I’ve successfully lived my life without the bright lights of showbiz. With more than 9 trips to LA up my sleeve and so many valuable lessons learned, I’ve realised that my idea of what makes the ultimate ‘sweet life’ isn't what it used to be, and I'm more than ok with that. I’m not sure if it’s something that comes with getting older, but each time I visit California, I find myself falling in love with places I would have never thought to visit 10 years ago. I’ve been very blessed to discover that LA is much, much bigger than Hollywood, and that a beautiful Californian experience isn’t reserved only for the rich and famous.
Welcome to The Langham Huntington Hotel and Spa in Pasadena, California. Here, let me take your bags and stresses while you spend the next few days indulging in all the things that make life beautiful: the simple pleasures that work a million wonders.
This is where I spent the first 3 nights of my 7-week journey through the USA. The Langham Huntington Hotel and Spa is located is just 15 minutes away from Downtown LA in the picturesque town of Pasadena. Nothing short of a luxury resort, this iconic property is located at the base of the picturesque San Gabriel Mountains and sits pretty on 23 acres of lush green land. I stayed in a cottage style room that gave me lots of space to do everything, and nothing at all. One of the things I hate most about travelling to the US is the jetlag that comes complimentary with every trip. But this time jetlag was not an issue. In fact, I embraced it. I took every opportunity to soak it all in, no matter the hour. I cozied up in what could have been the most incredible bed I’ve ever slept in, watched late night TV, ordered room service and sipped on the complementary Nespresso coffee I had available to me in my suite. Finish with a luxe bathrobe and soft slippers, and call it bliss.
There were moments at stupid o’clock in the morning when I should have been sleeping, but there was something so charming about this place that I found myself wandering the corridors and outdoor courtyards with my camera in hand. Originally built in 1907, The Langham Huntington is remarkably enchanting, and has a real story to tell. I’m not sure if I was delirious or nostalgic, but it wasn't hard to picture the brides of yesteryear walking through the gardens dressed in white gowns. I wondered what the walls would tell me, if only they could talk.
There’s something about the iconic Californian palm tree that gets me every time, especially at sunset when the sky looks airbrushed pink, just like a movie set. So considering noisy New York City was my next destination (where hotels with massive pools are either mythical or a million dollars a night) I dedicated at least 2 hours each day to do nothing but play, poolside. No laptop, no camera, no phone. The only thing on my agenda for those hours was leisurely reading, and sensible sun soaking under those palms. The pool at The Langham Huntington is nestled in the heart of the property and makes for a great place to spend a late afternoon. Considering I had just left a cold gray winter in Sydney, it was here when it hit me that the next 7 weeks of my life would be warm and summery…and what a wonderful way to adjust.
One of the things that come with my typical jet lag is a pesky loss of appetite. But my favourite meal of the day is brunch, and if anyone knows how to serve it best, it’s a Californian. Despite not feeling particularly ravenous, I made it a point to have breakfast every day to help kick my body into American gear. Health conscious and fresh, some of the best food I’ve ever eaten has been in California. On each of my days here, I woke up to a delicious brunch served in The Terrace. The first morning, I ordered my signature breakfast meal: poached eggs on toast with a bowl of local berries, and some percolated coffee. Grounding and fresh, it was exactly what I needed after a 20 hour journey and broken sleep. For breakfast on the days ahead, I indulged in a beautiful granola bowl and an egg white omelet. Simple and delicious.
If spending time by the pool every day wasn't relaxing enough, I was treated to a massage and facial at the Chuan Spa, onsite at The Langham Huntington. The level of service was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. The best part was that the therapists looking after me were incredibly personable and didn't give off that rigid scripted and rehearsed vibe that I’ve experienced too many times at day spas. Luckily for me, my trip coincided with an event where I had the chance to experience my first HydraFacial. Perfect for that typical post flight dehydration. The whole detoxifying process felt incredible and results were outstanding. Not surprising that LA brides flock to this spa for pre-wedding prep and pampering sessions. Another thing I was thrilled to see; Australian hair care brand Kevin Murphy stocked up, front and center. Oh, and if you ever happen to treat yourself to a Langham spa experience anywhere in the world, don’t forget to snap up a bottle of signature Langham pink nail colour, especially created by OPI. It’s all about the details, and The Langham Hotels know all about detail.