Borders may be open but travellers are swapping their passports for Myki cards and preferring family staycations to relax, unwind and bond. “Playtime with Paddington” staycations at the Langham Melbourne have proven to be a huge hit sending Melbourne families into a reservation frenzy. Writer, Sonia Komaravalli, takes her two kids along to find out why.
A staycation has the advantage of limiting time spent actually transporting the brood across borders, through airports or causing chaos in the back of the car. Couple this with the luxury and perks of checking into a breathtaking property like the Langham Melbourne, and the whole family is smiling. Here you can enjoy the Chuan world famous spa, city views from the heated pool and spa, pillows fluffier than clouds and stunning Christmas decorations in the lobby.
The Langham Melbourne is perfectly situated on the banks of the Yarra River with most rooms having a city vista. There is valet parking, multiple tram stops and Flinders Street Station nearby so getting there for a staycation should be hassle free. Part of the Langham offer is to stimulate guest’s senses and provide an immersive, intimate guest experience.
The porters and bell staff are there at the get-go to help with luggage. Concierge help navigate your way through the city and reception go above and beyond to assist with all requests. There a beautiful flowers everywhere in particular a show-stopping arrangement of roses in the lobby’s centre. Then there’s the iconic very instagrammable phone booth covered in pink roses for the kids to have a bit of fun with while parents check in. We were checked in by the lovely Maheesha Gamage, Senior Service Stylist. She was charming and delightful and made us instantly feel part of the Langham family.
Signature pink flourishes are also dotted around the hotel (think overflowing vases of Oriental Lilies, pink ties on staff uniforms, and pink sanitiser stations). The timeless architecture of cavernous lobby and the warm hospitality of the staff means adults feel indulged and the “Playtime with Paddington” Package gives the kids their own warm fuzzies. A well-loved British children’s character, with a penchant for marmalade sandwiches, Paddington Bear is polite, caring and sometimes misunderstood. His endearing, loveable nature fits snugly into families’ hearts and is a tribute to the Langham’s English heritage. The first Langham was opened in London in 1865. 150 years and 42 hotels later, the brand is now synonymous with European style, innovative hospitality and delightful guest experiences – qualities obviously well received in a city such as Melbourne.
The children squealed with delight when they saw the room. There were two Paddington robes laid out neatly on the luxurious bed, a Paddington bed runner, gift bags and a tepee! In the gift bags are a take home mug and cute Paddington slippers. We resonate with Paddington on this trip, because he is always at home no matter where he goes. Furthermore, his creator Michael Bond writes “Paddington has a habit of bringing people closer together”.
André Jacques, Regional Director of Marketing at Langham Asia Pacific agrees. He says,
“We are thrilled to bring our global partnership with Paddington Bear to life here at The Langham, Melbourne for children and families to enjoy together.’’
The kids probably would have been happy to spend the whole staycay in the tepee but I was eventually able to lure them out with the promise of playing with them in the pool. While I usually hate getting my hair wet at least I’ll get a view of the city while I do, and plus, I get to bond with my kids.
The heated pool and spa is a popular spot. There are expansive views across Melbourne, and deck chairs galore. It would have been nice to relax and settle in for the sunset however, as it is Melbourne, the sun has disappeared and the clouds and drizzle had started. It was time to head to the Langham’s Club room on level 24.
With executive higher floor bookings guests have access to the Langham Club. The club meets all expectations with a well-stocked bar, stellar five-star service staff and delicious Hors-d’œuvre such as mini-cauliflower and cheese pies, and truffle mushroom and spring onion tartlets. There is also the newly appointed silver Christmas tree that adds to the Club’s classy elegance.
Dinner at Aria Bar and Lounge is casual and friendly; we have pizza, a family favourite. We pull out some card games, the staff are ever-attentive and everything feels so easy. The kids wind-down, ready to cosy up in our room. They are hoping I’ll give in and let them sleep in the tepee but I know better. There’s already been some serious turf wars that would make even Paddington blush.
What makes a Langham room unique is the attention to detail. Luxe period interiors include settees that can be converted to luggage racks, vintage lamp shades, and original timber clothes rack with pink satin coat hangers. There’s also a marble bathroom with deep bath tub, fluffy white 100% cotton robes, divine spa-grade Chuan amenities and separate shower with the all-important large shower head. I must also mention the bathroom scales, which made me feel right at home!
The walls are adorned with paintings and illustrations of different parts of historical Melbourne. These pieces can be found throughout the hotel and add to the old world charm.
After a great night’s sleep we can’t wait for breakfast. Melba Restaurant has a world class reputation. The extensive buffet puts many other hotel breakfasts to shame. There is a wide selection of local produce including Tasmania’s Mersey Valley cheese, yoghurt from Gipplsand and ethically sourced meats from Victoria. Highlights include freshly made hash browns, omelettes made to order in the open kitchen, gyoza and freshly made pancakes. It was tough to get my kids to move past the chocolate fountain and ice-cream with lollies. Eventually I succumbed and ice-cream became part of our breakfast menu and why not….we were on staycation. I even had some sticky date pudding with ice-cream myself. I’ll just have to hide those bathroom scales…..
As our staycation came to its closing moments, we kept asking ourselves why we didn’t make the effort to do this more often. It was so easy and the restorative family time was priceless. The Langham Melbourne’s immersive approach to guest experience made us feel at right at home, and in true Paddington spirit, we strangers, had become valued guests.
- The writer was a guest of Langham Melbourne, however all opinion is her own.
For more information go to www.langhamhotels.com
*Exclusive Play with Paddington Package from $395 per room includes:
- One-night accommodation for 2 adults and 1 child
- Paddington amenities, featuring children’s bathrobe and slippers
- Breakfast for 2 adults and 1 child at Melba Restaurant
- A welcome amenity
- A Paddington Plush Bear exclusively included in Suite
- Creating Souvenirs from Magical Moments.
Offer ends December 31st 2023