A History of Gem Langham Court Hotel

31-35 Langham Street, London W1W 6BU

It is said that the word "eye-catcher" was coined for this place. When one catches a glimpse of it from a side-street, one cannot resist going near for a closer look. What one finds is a beautiful hotel - but it hasn't always been that...

This dazzler was built in 1901 as a nurses' home. The glazed-brick is no doubt meant to look hygienic - its shiny surface would have easily shed the build-up of city grime in the smoky period when it was built. The style is a kind of neo-Norman - the semi-circular arch above the doorway is a kind of homage to doorways like the one at Elkstone, as the jagged decoration around the arch and the spiral-twist shafts on either side of the door make clear. But no genuine Norman building was ever like this. The bold black-and-white design of the frontage in an eccentric Free Style use of Romanesque takes the medieval love of pattern-making to new extremes - some of the treatment almost recalled the bold graphics of the Secessionist movement in turn-of-the-century Vienna.

The property at 31-35 Langham Street entered in the Heritage Category as a Grade II listed building in 1985 and functioned as a Private Clinic until mid-90s

Arthur E. Thompson, the building's architect, might have found the comparison between the old and new functions of the construction strange. He'd no doubt have found it odd too that his nurses' home had become a fashionable hotel. At least guests must find it easy to locate when they come back after a long night out.

After a complete refurbishment, it opened its doors as a hotel in the early 1990s and from then on, Gem Langham Court Hotel continues to be a precious gem now in our hotels' group portfolio.