Langham Hotels International

If you think Langham Hotels International—with its august Langham, London property—is resting on its historic laurels, think again. This stately brand has a very keen eye on the future and is pushing ahead into the next decade of the 21st century with full steam.

In fact, Langham Hotels International—overseer of both the classical Langham and the trendier Langham Place brands—currently has 21 hotels open or in development across four continents. “Our culture has always been about ‘innovation that matters to the guest,’” says Bob van den Oord, v.p., sales and marketing, Langham Hotels International. “It was the cornerstone of our strength in 1865 when we opened The Langham, London as Europe’s first Grand Hotel and the exciting thing about Langham Hotels International today is that we’re continuing this journey of excellence.”

Such is its expansion, says Van den Oord, that they’ve just announced they’ll be opening a hotel in The Bahamas—the Langham Place, Resort + Spa, Port St George—in 2013. In fact, it’s the first Langham Place property in the Caribbean. Langham loyalists won’t have to wait that long, though, for other Langham openings as the Langham Place Samui at Lamai Beach in Thailand opens this month.

“Langham Hotels International has effectively spent the last five years building two very strong brands that would be good development options for developers and owners looking for a brand with a distinctive heritage,” Van den Oord adds. “The European nature of the brand has worked well in Asia where the cultural significance resonates well amongst the target audience.”

And the reason the marketing executive signals out Asia is because the brand—in addition to this month’s Thailand hotel opening—will open the doors to several Langham Place properties in this region in the next few years: Langham Place, Koregaon Park, Pune in India; Langham Place, Beijing; Langham Place Phayathai, Bangkok; and Langham Place, EDZ, Guangzhou in China, among others.

“However,” Van den Oord quickly points out, “we are looking at North America as a key market for development. While we now have two Langham properties in the U.S.—in Pasadena and Boston—we are looking to establish a greater presence in key gateway cities.”

And although it’s been focusing on growing the portfolio, the company has still had time to polish its grand dame because, as Van den Oord says, “The Langham, London is the flagship property in the group—the jewel in the crown in which we’ve just invested £80 million (approximately $128 million), which signals our intent to potential partners worldwide. It is from this iconic property that we derive our DNA.”

And that DNA holds the key to one of Europe’s most romantic and powerful hotel brand stories. “Langham Hotels International is a global luxury European hotel operator, and it has an incredible luxury European hotel heritage. No one owns this space except us. While other groups have heritage hotels, no one has built a brand upon it. Others are part of ‘collections,’ which make us unique in this respect. And our brand’s history and innovative culture resonates with the guests we are reaching and indeed, offers a sense of aspiration as well.”

And speaking of reaching its guests, Langham Hotels International was prudent enough in the earlier part of this decade to launch a younger sibling of The Langham, the aforementioned Langham Place.

“Langham Place customers are younger, hungrier types with much to achieve. They are tech-savvy 30- and 40-somethings and enjoy the new ideas offered at this brand, including a focus on art and touch-points such as DJs. It’s a modern, edgier product that focuses on innovation,” says the v.p. of sales and marketing. “It’s a five-star hospitality experience, or what we call ‘stimulating hospitality.’”

Stimulating indeed. At the new Langham Place Samui at Lamai in Thailand, guests have access to 77 villas and suites, many with personal plunge pools and all set on a prime beachside location. The onsite Chuan Spa offers a range of treatments based on traditional Chinese medicine as well as new Thai traditional medicine-based treatments. Additionally, the hotel is close to several recreational and cultural facilities, including the Lamai temple and the island’s yacht club. The resort, in fact, will promote local culture with visits to the temples to mingle with monks or touring and supporting the local markets. The hotel is offering a 1+1 Night Free opening offer available through Dec. 24, 2009.