An Infinitely Relaxing Stay; TRAVEL BITES

Article excerpt

Byline: SIMON DAVIS

LAST week I stayed in the most expensive two-room hotel suite in London. The new Infinity Suite is in The Langham Hotel, on Portland Place, which opened in 1865.

So what do you get for your [pounds sterling]6,169? A chauffeur picks you up from the airport (or office) and, having called beforehand, will have your chosen drink waiting for you in the car. The vehicles are not hen-night limos but Audi A8s or BMW 7 Series. The chauffeur also acts as a concierge, securing tables at restaurants and entrance to clubs should you wish.

The suite is vast (236 sq m), with two large bedrooms, two bathrooms, a massive sitting room, dressing rooms, a kitchen, and plasmas everywhere. The drinks tray has decanters of whatever you request beforehand. Maids unpack, butlers fluff about and chefs cook dinner. All very spoiling.

The price includes breakfast for four and use of the Langham Spa. The Langham is terribly excited by the infinity bath. A "colour therapist" changes the colour of the water to suit your mood. Yellow is "hopeful and illuminating". Indigo Blue is "constant and symbolic of serenity and peace".

Whatever. The bath looks cool, though.

Chef David Collard, formerly with Gordon Ramsay at Petrus, cooked a wonderful supper served in the room and a sommelier paired wine faultlessly.

The suite is the first part of a major restoration of this classic hotel.

It's about time, as it had become fusty.

Hopes are high as the man drafted in to oversee the renaissance is Duncan Palmer, formerly at The Savoy and The Connaught - a gentleman hotelier. He tells me the bar will be next and is set to rival Claridge's. Excellent.

One niggle. The price includes the use of the chauffeur for three hours and then it costs extra. This seems a little tight. It should be for the duration of your stay.

. The Infinity Suite costs [pounds sterling]6,169 with all the extras or [pounds sterling]3,750 without.

Contact 020 7636 1000 or www.langhamhotels.com or lon.resv@langhamhotels.com

What else could you spend the money on?

Drive away a new five-door Kia Picanto with CD and MP3 player and electric windows - [pounds sterling]5,495.

www.kia.com

Buy 10 of the coveted Mulberry Roxanne bags for you and your favourite girlfriends - [pounds sterling]595 each.

www.mulberry.com

Tour the country and sleep for 130 nights at a Travelodge - from [pounds sterling]46 per night.

www.travelodge.co.uk

Fly City club class to New York with Virgin Atlantic ([pounds sterling]1,237 per person, www.virgin.com) and spend Valentine's night in the Presidential Suite at the Plaza Hotel - [pounds sterling]2,500 per night.

www.fairmont.com

Take a taxi home from work every day for a year - [pounds sterling]16 a day.

PSSST!

. AMEX has launched a Traveller's Cheque Card, the first prepaid, reloadable travel money card in the UK. It can be used anywhere that accepts Amex and if it is stolen it will be replaced within 24 hours. Extra funds can be loaded online or by phone for no charge. The card is not linked to a bank account so your savings will not be exposed to theft, fraud or misuse as with stolen credit or debit cards.

Visit www.americanexpress.co.uk/travellerschequescard or call 0800 587 6023. …