From dilapidated country pile to a high end rural escape fit for the 21st traveller – The Langley has finally opened its doors following a multi-million pound, six-year renovation led by Dennis Irvine Studio.
he historic, yet somewhat diminished Grade II Listed Langley Park House has found new life as a luxurious 41-bedroom boutique hotel. Formerly the home of the third Duke of Marlborough, the Buckinghamshire property has been taken under the wing of Marriott International’s Luxury Collection, and impeccably restored by Dennis Irvine and his team.
“The brief was to restore these majestic buildings to their former glory, alongside a new and impressive 2000m2 world-class wellness spa,” Dennis explains. “We were asked to create a luxurious country escape with a warm, inviting high-end residential aesthetic.”
“The brief was to restore these majestic buildings to their former glory, alongside a new and impressive 2000m2 world-class wellness spa”
Naturally, the age of the building and the radically different requirements of a modern hotel from that of a residence presented a significant challenge for the design team. A fine balancing act had to be struck between preserving the rich wealth of original architectural detailing, and ensuring that hotel operations were suitably accommodated.
The renovation unearthed some truly exceptional design gems, not least 20 original Georgian and Victorian fireplaces, complete with marble hearths, decorative frieze details, mantels, cast iron fire baskets and intricate marble figures. Working alongside Oxley Restoration, they have all been repaired and restored in line with Historic England’s conversion requirements.
“Attention to detail was the key in bringing this Grade 2* listed building back to life,” affirms Dennis. “From traditional lath and plaster methods, sourcing rare marbles to restoring original fireplaces, as well as hundreds of metres of restored cornices after centuries of paint and neglect.
“For new additions to the building, Dennis Irvine Studio referenced existing architectural details to create timeless pieces which enhance their historical setting.”
The significant modifications began with the Bath Stone exterior of the main house, which has been impeccably restored to highlight the honeyed hues and golden striations of the rock. Extensive excavation to the front elevation of the house has also allowed for the addition of a grand staircase leading to the main entrance.
As guests enter the reception area, they’re greeted by a plethora of historic features, including Four Doric columns, and an imposing marble fireplace – depicting a relief of a cherub displaying plans for the Palladian temple – which once stood in the gardens.
A pair of intricately-detailed 19th Century cast bronze Venetian doors – brought to the house by Sir Robert Grenville Harvey in 1903 from Florence – are complemented by contemporary petrified wood coffee tables and a breathtaking bespoke chandelier by Dernier & Hamlyn, comprising 221 curved brass branches ending in glass droplets to bring to life the woodland setting.
The discovery of an original 18th Century mosaic floor whilst renovating the reception area was a welcome surprise. Its ornate design has been painstakingly restored to reveal a highly appropriate welcome message: “Welcome the Coming, Speed the Parting Guest”.
The mosaic floor extends through into the grand and light-filled staircase hall, where the statement 18th Century open staircase leads up past the first floor towards a vast oval glazed dome at roof level. This elegant and highly memorable arrival experience sets the tone for the rest of the hotel’s public spaces, which incorporate a destination restaurant, bar, drawing room and spa.
The Churchill Bar at The Langley provides an intimate retreat for guests, with an offering of light bites, sandwiches, a curated drinks selection and a rare selection of cigars housed in a custom humidor.
The room also profits from some spectacular narrow Regency-era bookcases. A popular fad amongst the English literati during the 18th Century was to line rooms with ornamental miniature books – often with humorous titles – as opposed to real books. These so-called ‘Invisible Libraries’ were famously installed at Chatsworth House and in Charles Dickens’ private homes, and have been recreated to super effect for The Langley by The Original Book Works Company.
When it came to The Langley’s destination restaurant, Cedar, Dennis Irvine and his team opted for a modern, yet romantic English feel, wishing to create “a surprising yet intimate interior reflecting the beautiful garden outside.”
Cedar’s expansive views over the estate’s historic parkland and lake are reflected in the verdant scenery engraved on the 1775 white marble fireplace, as well as the elegant made to measure blue and silver trees adorning the Casamance wallpaper.
Eight antique mirrored chandeliers reflect the silvery light of the wallcovering, while Vescom petrol blue mohair sofas, pleated velvet upholstery by Bart Halpern and custom Lawton Cole and De’Art furniture complete the look.
This blue and grey palette extends into the Drawing Room, which is linked to Cedar via a private dining room and wrap-around terrace.
Here, a statement five-tiered Dernier & Hamlyn chandelier forms the centrepiece of the room. The design features hundreds of metres of swags of differing lengths, embellished with individually positioned hand cut crystal balls, fixed to a brass frame almost 2m high.
Luxury finishes have been widely used, from the original panelling lined with hand painted Fromenthal wallcovering, to rich mohair and velvet upholstery.
Concluding The Langley’s public spaces is its vast subterranean spa, complete with an authentic Turkish Hammam, marble-lined 16m swimming pool, a juniper wood sauna complete with an illuminated pink Himalayan salt brick wall, and elegant treatment rooms.
“The spa design is engaging on a visual, physical and emotional level”
This restful, highly luxurious space is awash with soft whites and gold accents, inlaid brass joinery and vein-cut marble, as well as lacquered brass screens designed by Dennis Irvine.
“The spa design is engaging on a visual, physical and emotional level, with tactile elements of mirrored polished marbles, lacquered metal accents and soft warm wall coverings,” explains Dennis.
“At its centre is the 16m infinity edge indoor swimming pool with surrounding Eramosa and Silk Georgette marbles, specially selected for the space.”
Sumptuous detailing and high-end finishes are a key feature, too, of the hotel’s guest accommodation. The first floor of the Main House is home to The Langley’s most luxurious rooms, decorated in seasonal colours from blossom pink to Eau de Nil.The substantial, three-bedroom Duke of Marlborough suite is centred around a unique octagonal room with a large bay window, offering panoramic lake views.Original feature panelling has been painted in shades of pale grey with accents of aubergine, while large crystal chandeliers by Bella Figura feature in both the living room and bedroom of the suite.
The second-floor bedrooms, meanwhile, are set within the eaves of the building, and feature quirky original features such as the large circular windows offering views of the countryside beyond. The design team has opted for a palette of cool grey and soft green shades here, with bespoke Dernier & Hamlyn chandeliers inspired by foliage within the grounds and luxurious marble bathrooms with walk-in waterfall showers and roll top baths.
The remainder of the accommodation is housed in the 18th Century Brew House building, set opposite the Main House. The property’s various historical uses as a clocktower, stables and brewery, inspired the design of its 21 bedrooms.
Built around a central courtyard and decorated in warm neutral shades, the rooms feature textured wallcoverings by Phillip Jeffries, blown glass dimpled pendants by Holloways of Ludlow, chestnut leathers, limed oak and antique metals accented by sage green and peachy tan.
The impeccable standard of accommodation at The Langley is testament to the skill and respect with which Dennis Irvine and his team have approached this project. The gravitas of the house’s past, and the wonderful interior details so bound up in this history, have been restored and enlivened to create a truly world-class hospitality experience.
“Seeing our design and hard work come to life is always the most rewarding part of the job,” Dennis concludes. “We were lucky enough to work with an iconic piece of British history, saving it from ruin and reimagining it as a new destination for contemporary travelers to enjoy for many years to come.”