Picture it: you inside a grand country estate, snow falling outside your window and the scent of a crackling fireplace hanging in the air, complemented by the melodious musings of a pianist, filling the soundscape. Sound idyllic? It is, and the utopia has a name: Langdon Hall Country House Hotel & Spa.
Tucked away in Cambridge, Ontario’s Carolinian forest region—the simple things in life, taste, smell and feel sweeter here. Maybe it’s the atmosphere, characterized by a Victorian charm, inherent in this Federal Revival style summer home, built in 1902 and preserved in the property’s stately décor. Or, perhaps it’s the personal touches, peppered throughout one’s stay that has guests missing Langdon Hall—a true home away from home—even before their stay has reached its end. Here, such personal touches range from velvety chocolate tarts left in rooms as a warm welcome for new guests to a Lexus that sits in the driveway, beckoning luxury car admires to take it for a test drive into the town centre, where Southworks Antiques (among the largest antique markets in Canada) awaits expert pickers.
With the lobby area boasting coziness enough to entice one to push aside the plush sofa and opulent wood furnishings, so to make room for a cot by the roaring fireplace, let’s just say the average accommodations at Langdon Hall—which vary between 60 guestrooms and suites—is anything but typical.
During my own visit, even the short walk to my room felt special. Located to the side of the main house in one of the hotel’s Cloister Guestrooms, these guestrooms require a quick stroll across the grounds to reach the front door. Pass a stretch of windows, looking into an opulently dressed solarium (the ideal place for a mid-afternoon glass of red wine on a chilly winter’s day) and a rack of bikes (available for loan during the warmer months) is a wing of guestrooms and suites.
Walking into my guestroom, felt like walking into a studio cottage—the sort of lodgings one could spend an evening by the fireplace (yes, each Cloister Guestroom features a wood burning fireplace) reading, after an hour-long bath in the soaking tub. It’s almost hard to want to leave the room, even when knowing activities like cooking demos and nature walks await. It is especially difficult to pry oneself away from these luxe accommodations when situated snug under the down duvet in the sublime comfort of your feather bed. When sleeping in this bed, you will have dreams about its splendor and implicitly understand the reasoning behind Langdon Hall’s placement on Condé Nast Traveler’s 2015 Reader’s Choice Awards for top hotel in Canada.
Once you finally do convince yourself that more R&R is to be discovered outside of your living quarters, head over to the spa. The Spa at Langdon Hall is a standout, in large part because of its chosen partner Valmont. Known for its superior quality in advanced scientific research, this Swiss skincare line is a favourite among beauty diehards. When visiting give your stress levels and your skin equal attention by booking a Hot Stone Massage and a Brightness of Ice Facial. The massage will knead out tension with the help of heated volcanic stones, while the Brightness of Ice Facial will invigorate skin and leave your face luminous. The star produce in this treatment is the medical grade collagen mask by Valmont. The seemingly magical effect of this mask crowns it a skincare unicorn.
With the spa crossed off your to-do list, getting your culinary fix should be next on the list. The one-of-a-kind grandeur of this Relais and Châteaux property is in every detail of the dining experience curated here by Executive Chef Jason Bangerter. In the morning, a country breakfast buffet transcends archetypes and serves up a delicious array of bites ranging from a savoury trout rillette to a flakey scone, delicious with a dollop of cultured butter paired with a sprinkle of Maldon salt.
Should you get a late start to the day when visiting on a weekend, skip lunch and opt instead for afternoon tea. Served Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 1:00 PM and 3:30 PM seating times, it’s worth booking a getaway around these days, just to ensure you have a chance to taste the magnificent selection of delicate finger sandwiches (think outside the cucumber-and-butter-box), tartelettes—piquant with combos that see aged cheddar, black forest ham and spiced apple melded together—scones, and sweet petit fours that elevate desserts to the realm of art. For those planning a visit during the holiday season, the chef has tailored treats to add festive cheer to your afternoon of finery, though it’s almost a tease knowing that eggnog cheesecake cannot be a perennial staple.
During every meal of the day, diners can taste the kitchen’s close relationship with local farmers, foragers and quality purveyors of artisanal products. This toothsome dedication is perhaps no more apparent than in the offerings imagined by Chef Bangerter tasting menu. Dishes like a truffle purée, linger in one’s mind for days after your first bite, intermingled with thoughts of how that glass of Barolo (recommended by your wise waiter) amplified the earthiness of the truffle in such a way that the flavour of the pairing will be forever a part of your taste memory.
From the dining to the spa to the accommodations, the experience at this regal country estate is superlative—a fact that becomes downright mythical during the picturesque holiday season. No matter what time of year you visit, rest assured that remembering all the details of your stay at Langdon Hall is a near guarantee, longing to return though…that is a hard promise.