The San Marino/Pasadena area is one of the most elegant neighborhoods in the U.S. Driving around here is very reminiscent of Beverly Hills, with immaculate large homes and beautiful wide streets. The Langham Huntington Pasadena is set right in the middle of this upscale area. If business or pleasure takes you to Downtown L.A. or Pasadena, this would be my first choice for lodging.
Once a year, Pasadena dominates American attention as it hosts the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl football game. As the months go on, the beauty of this area is sometimes forgotten. The community is set at the foot of the San Gabriel Mountains with Mt. Wilson always in view. Many of the buildings date back almost 100 years and have been continually restored. An example of this is Huntington Hospital, which has retained its classic Spanish design while being continually updated. Mature trees line all the streets, giving walkers plenty of shade on the frequent warm days. This is the way one is supposed to live.
The Langham is an American castle set on a knoll with the same lush landscaping as its neighboring multimillion-dollar homes. This property is a California landmark much like the Fairmont San Francisco or the Beverly Hills Hotel. The hotel is celebrating its 101st year, but you would never know it. The entire property has been kept up-to-date without changing its charm.
The common areas are adorned with huge chandeliers and classic works of art with marble floors throughout. This kind of luxury is very hard to duplicate today. The rooms have all you would expect from a five-star property with the finest in bedding and electronics. Oversized marble bathroom areas complete your restful stay.
The Pasadena area has some of the best year round weather in the nation, with warm days the norm. The hotel has a large pool area and a state-of-the-art fitness center in case you just want to relax on property.
The Langham Club
On this visit we were fortunate enough to be on the eighth floor with access to the Langham Club service. This is service at a new level. The multiple servings each day would take care of any appetite and in a swift manner. I have visited a number of these clubs but never have I seen sushi available as it was here each evening. Breakfast included many choices of fresh fruit, eggs, bacon, sausage, smoked salmon, and bagels. Smoothie samplers hit the spot as well as the variety of juices. Their elaborate espresso machine can make any coffee drink you want, and the quality was excellent. In addition to sushi, evening offerings included satay chicken, beef kabob, and an open bar. It is well worth the price to upgrade to this service, especially if you are on the run during this visit but want good food.
The closest and best public golf option would be Brookside Golf Course right next to the Rose Bowl. There are two 18-hole layouts here with the #1 and #2 options. The #1 course once hosted the Los Angeles Open and is home to many large amateur events each year. Both layouts are flat and easily walked as you stroll around this storied valley with the famed Rose Bowl always in sight. They actually park cars on these courses for all UCLA football games and the Rose Bowl game. The tough kikuyu grass found here recovers quickly enough to give the golfers good playing conditions shortly after a game.
If you have access to private club golf, there are two great venues close to the Langham. Annandale Golf Club is just west of the Rose Bowl and about 10 minutes from the Langham Huntington. This is a very elite club set on a hilly section of Pasadena. The course is always in great shape, but you will need a cart. San Gabriel Country Club is about the same distance from the hotel to the east. This is the better of the two private clubs, in my opinion. The course is fairly flat and easily walked. The routing is also more “player friendly.”