A surefire way to get into the holiday mood is a visit to The Langham Huntington Hotel in Pasadena. Walking through the beautifully decorated lobby, you will surely ooh and aah while strolling past various decorated Christmas trees and the creative gingerbread village. I guarantee it will put a smile on any face.
Last Sunday I was fortunate to attend a traditional high tea in the Lobby Lounge with eighteen lovely Les Fleurettes and their mothers.
Joanne from Concierge shared a little history about the property while we sipped hot vanilla bean black tea and enjoyed cucumber cups with citrus marscapone and caramelized leeks. Some of our favorite finger sandwiches included beautifully sliced Asian pear potato bread with blue cheese mousse, toasted pistachio and raspberries and the smoked salmon profiterole with caramelized shallot caper cream, a tiny sprig of dill and a pinch of caviar.
Joanne shared that the hotel was purchased in 1911 by Mr. Henry Huntington. The property was two miles away from his home (now the Huntington Botanical Gardens). At first he was going to use it as a guest house for his friends and family on the East Coast to escape from the severe weather. However, a good friend, Mr. Royce, convinced him to turn the property into a hotel.
During WW II The Huntington Hotel was leased by the United States Government and used as a hospital for Veterans. Later the Sheraton Corporation purchased the hotel and renamed it the Huntington Sheraton.
In 1985, after a major earthquake in Mexico City, the Sheraton Corporation realized that the main building was not up to any current earthquake codes. The historic property was demolished in the late 1980s. With the original blueprints in hand, contractors replicated the property to look just like the original Spanish Mission Revival style. The only big change was the main entrance.
The foundation now sits on rollers and the property is built with steel beams. “It’s 99.9% Earthquake proof,” stated Joanne. Many of the original pictures, windows and wood were salvaged and used in the new construction. After construction, the property became the Huntington Ritz Carlton and is now The Langham Huntington Hotel.
As we all enjoyed currant scones with Devonshire cream and lemon curd, we learned that the 23-acre property has two tennis courts, one large pool and 7 suite cottages ideal for longer term stays.
The tower in the front of the hotel is reserved every Dec. 31st for the Grand Marshall of the Pasadena Rose Parade. This year, J.R. Martinez will enjoy the two-story, 3,600 sq. ft. suite with views of the San Gabriel Valley Mountains and Catalina Island.
To celebrate a traditional tea at The Langham Huntington Hotel, call (626) 568-3900 for reservations. 1401 S. Oak Knoll Ave, Pasadena.