When King Edward VII attended the glamorous opening of London’s Langham Hotel in 1865, he must have been impressed by its fancy hydraulic lifts - the first in the capital.
More than 150 years later, I’m equally amazed by the elegant, mirrored capsules whizzing me up to the hotel’s exclusive Langham Club Lounge, where temporary members have their own dedicated reception.
Members of the monarchy have frequently passed through these doors: Princess Diana has partied in The Grand Ballroom, Prince Edward has dined at Roux at The Landau, and the Duchess of York still pops in for tea at The Palm Court.
But here, yards from London’s busy Oxford Street, everyone has the opportunity to live (even if just for a night) like royalty. And that experience just got better, with the introduction of a new royal-themed package to celebrate the forthcoming wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
Eager to capitalise on their stately connections across the capital, the hotel has set up exclusive behind-the-scenes access to companies issued with a Royal Warrant to provide goods or services to the crown.
I went along to sample the ‘crown jewels’ on offer...
Find out how to smell like a princess
A family-run perfumers since 1730, Floris has been supplying the royals with bespoke scents for decades, although the actual ingredients of each perfume are a tightly guarded secret.
Proud to be the oldest family perfumers in the world, the company has earned 19 Royal Warrants throughout its history and sticks to strict regulations set by the crown - including not testing any products on animals.
Filled with mirrors and ornate wooden cabinets, their flagship store on Jermyn Street is a cherished antique in its own right.
I’m led into a back room museum, where a ‘peineta’ hair-clip in a glass cabinet is a nod to the company’s Spanish heritage. On the wall, black and white photographs illustrate past and present A-list customers, including Marilyn Monroe, Winston Churchill, Gwyneth Paltrow and Ian Fleming.
Special access also takes me to an elegant chemistry lab-cum-gentleman’s drawing room, where handwritten ledgers list 18th century purchases and a piece of wedding cake gifted by Kate and William is proudly displayed.
For £450, members of the public can also purchase a bespoke fragrance. Dressed in a white overall, perfumer Nicola Pozzani shows me dozens of potions and imperial measuring jugs, all used to create scents based on memories and an individual’s life story.
Dress in a stately fashion
Royal outfits regularly feature in the fashion pages of magazines, but what about uniforms worn by the Queen’s ceremonial bodyguards? Made with fiery red wool and elaborate embroidered gold thread, each costume costs around £35K to make - so it’s no surprise they’re kept under lock and key.
Fortunately, members of the public can admire them from behind glass in the upstairs room of Gieves & Hawkes at number 1 Savile Row, an historic building once belonging to the Royal Geographical Society.
Issued with several Royal Warrants to make military uniforms (there’s some suggestion they were even connected to Lord Nelson), the company continues to take care of the bodyguards’ attire and carries out fittings and adjustments every time they are used.
Framed pages from historic ledgers hang on the walls, and a coffee table book illustrates a red military jacket commissioned and worn by Princess Diana.
On the shop floor, a mannequin is dressed in a sparkly disco adaptation of a naval admiral’s tunic - a replica of a garment ordered by Michael Jackson.
Today, the store sells both ready-to-wear and bespoke suits, with prices for the latter starting at £5,000.
Eat like a king
Embraced by a curved window flooded with sunshine during the day, Langham’s Roux at The Landau is possibly one of the most beautiful restaurants in London.
A recent renovation has given the space an oval centre counter, where diners can pull up a stool alongside Cornish crabs and bowls of oysters. It’s all part of a more relaxed approach adopted by the restaurant, where - one waitress whispers to me - staff are even now allowed to have tattoos. Relaxed, though, doesn’t mean slack. Service is delivered with finesse and chef Nicholas Pasquier’s menu is outstanding; a chicken gyoza bathes in citrus zing, and the crab salad is so meticulously shredded, I wonder if it’s been done with a ruler. It’s a banquet fit for any member of the monarchy - worthy of its own Royal Warrant, in fact.
How to get there
The Langham Hotel’s Royal Season Package starts at £695 per room per night, including breakfast for two. Price also includes the two exclusive Royal Warrant holder experiences and Limited Edition Langham Pink Hunter Boots. The package is available to book now from May 19 to October 12, 2018, subject to availability. Visit langhamhotels.co.uk or call 020 7636 1000.