The Langham gets a pub; North Korea gets a ‘hotel’
The Langham gets a pub; North Korea gets a ‘hotel’
07 AUGUST 2017 7:45 AM

There are destinations for everyone. Two that opened in recent weeks include The Langham London’s Wigmore pub and—perhaps—the tallest hotel in the world.

Two weeks ago I ambled over to what remains the only London hotel I have ever stayed in, the Langham London, to visit its new bar, The Wigmore, on its debut.

I live in London, so I do not need to stay in hotels there, and when I lived in New York City, on my return to England I would stay with my parents.

The Langham already has Artesian, a bar that often is named the best in the world. It has plenty of unique cocktails. The bar tab can quickly escalate, but the experience is wonderful.

The Wigmore, named for the street on which it stands at the rear of the Langham, was designed to be open for all. It looks like a real London pub, with racing-car-green walls, a curved bar, tables and bar stools and a British menu, albeit one overseen by Michel Roux Jr., of the famous Roux restaurateurs that run the Langham London’s Roux at the Landau.

A star, though, is The Wigmore’s partnership with Brew by Numbers, a brewery in Bermondsey, London, which created a beer called The Wigmore. It’s a saison, a type of pale ale that has lemony tones.

The pub is a perfect spot at one of London’s hotel gems for those who find themselves not mollycoddled in The Langham’s two-story Langham Club area “hidden” deep within the hotel.

Will North Korea’s famed hotel finally open?
Hotel watchers have long loved following the fortune, or lack of it, of North Korea’s tallest building and the world’s largest “hotel,” the Ryugyong, which has been a feature of capital Pyongyang’s skyline for three decades without having ever checked in a guest.

The rogue nation has been in the news in the last few weeks for continuing its nuclear policy, and it is unlikely the Ryugyong will ever be filled with invited international atomic observers.

I did hear many years ago that Pyongyang’s taxi drivers, among others, were forbidden by their government to mention the hotel as a route landmark.

Passenger: “Sir, I think I need to go to just behind that 1,082-foot-high, 105-story building.”

Taxi driver: “What 1,082-foot-high, 105-story building? Nothing like that in this city, guv’nor.”

Construction on the hotel first started in 1987, and this year, apparently, walls intended to keep anyone out were pulled down. But bucket-list hotelgoers should not get too excited.

According to The Independent, last year a light was seen flashing at the top of the building, which was designed by Chinese-American architect I.M. Pei, which one might suppose is not to protect the hotel from low-flying airplanes. (Pei, by the way, turned 100 this year.)

Then, in the last two weeks, the walls came crashing down to reveal shiny walkways and new signs, although those signs referred to those missile launches.

All this has led to the hopeful believing the hotel might open soon, and I am sure there will be those wanting to stay there, even if nothing else in the country is of appeal.

Me? Sure, but I think I will stop into The Wigmore for the time being.

Email Terence Baker or find him on Twitter.

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