By JAMES WILKINSON
Langham Hospitality Group held a lavish cocktail party for several hundred in Sydney on Wednesday night (Aug 8), just hours after officially acquiring The Observatory Hotel from owners Orient-Express.
Now known as The Langham, Sydney, the former Observatory will undergo a significant renovation to bring the property up to a Langham standard, according to the company’s CEO, Brett Butcher, who made a keynote speech at the glittering opening event hosted by Australian supermodel Megan Gale.
“We had to be here in Sydney,” he said. “We were circling Sydney for some time and the right opportunity came along.
“The bones of this hotel are right for Langham – it really does have that classic sense of luxury about this hotel.
“Now that we have this gracious hotel, we have a little bit of work to do… so we are going to do a progressive refurbishment of this hotel, starting probably towards the end of this year.
“We are going to bring Langham and infuse Langham into the bones of this hotel. We are going to do some work in the lobby areas and we believe there is an opportunity to open this hotel up to the surrounding a little more than it has in the past. [We are going to] open it up to the street [and] open it up to the beautiful views,” he said.
Butcher said a revamp of the hotel’s food and beverage facilities was a priority for the company and some “exciting plans” would be revealed in the coming months.
One of the company’s signature offerings, a high-tea, would be a key offering.
“We are going to bring The Langham’s signature high-tea from London, which started when that hotel opened in 1865, to Sydney,” Butcher said.
He also said there was a good opportunity to cement the hotel’s day spa, already recognized as one of the best in town, as the leading facility in the city once it comes under the Chuan Spa brand.
“We are going to take the fantastic and very popular The Observatory Hotel Day Spa and we are going to infuse that with our Chuan Spa,” Butcher said.
A key component of ensuring Langham’s luxury offering in Sydney would come from the staff at the property.
“The very vast majority of the team has agreed to join us on our journey with Langham – to stay with us and really bring The Langham to Sydney,” Butcher said.
Leading the team at The Langham Sydney is Sonia Lefevre, formerly Hotel Manager at The Langham Hong Kong.
“We are delighted to have Sonia on board as the General Manager of The Langham, Sydney,” Butcher said. “With Sonia’s strong sales and marketing experience in Australia, she will be positioning The Langham, Sydney to trade at the top of the luxury hospitality market.”