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Luxurious Digs at The Langham Sydney Draw Incentives

The Langham Sydney emerged from a $30 million makeover in September 2016 with a new look. The epitome of luxury, the five-star, 98-room hotel—which first opened in 2012 in the former location of The Observatory Hotel—is already drawing corporate groups and incentives Down Under. In March, an incentive group from the United States will have a near buyout. During their stay, they’ll also participate in iconic Sydney activities, such as the BridgeClimb, the harbor tour and dining in The Rocks, the city’s oldest neighborhood. What’s the draw for American companies? “Sydney is the perfect mix of European and U.S. culture,” says Gaylord Lamy, general manager of The Langham Sydney. He would know. Hailing from Italy, Lamy worked in the hospitality industry in Hong Kong and Chicago before heading to Sydney. He recently moved his young family (pregnant wife and 2-year-old daughter) there for the job, a testament to the destination’s appeal. “People take their time here,” he says. Some say that slower pace affects service levels, but our recent stay there suggests it’s not so at The Langham. While the service culture in Australia is different from the U.S., Lamy says, that gives his hotel an edge over others like Shangri-La and Four Seasons, traditional luxury hotels that operate more like big-box properties in Sydney. Indeed, personal touches reign supreme at The Langham, with no detail left to chance. Inside the elegant guest rooms (outfitted with super-king beds), a pillow menu offers guests a half-dozen choices; towel warmers and Chuan Spa bath products take showers to a new level; and extra toilet paper rolls are tied with tiny ribbons in the brand’s signature light pink. [caption id="attachment_33760" align="alignright" width="436"]Langham Sydney Pool 620x349 The Langham Sydney pool is famous for its starry ceiling.[/caption] Throughout the property, touches of marble, brass and gold exude class, combined with delicate vases of pink roses, a baby grand piano in the lobby bar and staff who call you by name. Lamy himself writes personal welcome notes to each guest. Adding to the appeal is the hotel’s central business district (CBD) location on Kent Street, within walking distance of the harbor, the Sydney Opera House, and many cafes and restaurants. The personal nature of the hotel draws more leisure guests than meetings, but Lamy says growing the incentive market is priority, citing a 40-room block as the sweet spot for groups. Meeting space at the hotel includes a ballroom (capacity 200) plus three more intimate rooms. In his role as general manager, Lamy has his work cut out for him, but he’s up to the task: During his time at The Langham Chicago, he helped bring the hotel to the No. 1 spot in Chicago on TripAdvisor within the first three months of opening. On a broader scale, The Langham brand is making meetings a global focus, keeping groups top of mind as it looks to expand its roster of 22 hotels to 50 worldwide by 2020. Until then, the relative novelty of The Langham brand to U.S. planners is another asset for Australia, which has a second Langham property in Melbourne. “Thirty-five percent of overseas travel [to Australia] comes from the U.S., and that keeps going up,” says Lamy. “We are definitely a destination.”
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