In case you haven’t heard, Langdon Hall Country House is the stuff of legends in the hospitality world. Nestled within the Carolinian Forest near Cambridge, Ontario, it’s one of 14 properties in Canada that’s a member of the illustrious Relais & Châteaux family that’s famed for their incredible Five-Diamond dining experiences, exquisite accommodations and storybook architecture. Aside from offering luxury accommodations, what’s truly special about Langdon Hall is that this majestic property has roots spanning over a century.
The grand estate was built in 1898 by Eugene Langdon Wilks – the son of an Englishman who inherited American wealth. Wilks and his wife hired an architect to draw up plans for their new residence, which was intended as a summer home. The end result was Langdon Hall – a spacious thirty-two room Federal Revival-style country house that totalled more than 25,000 square feet.
The property still exudes the air of an old Ontario estate, but today, Langdon Hall has been restored into a lavish resort. It’s been expanded twice since opening in 1989, and includes a spa, a pool with a lounge, tennis courts, a croquet lawn, 12 kilometres of walking trails, a whirlpool and sauna, indoor exercise room, and impressive vegetable and flower gardens. It’s a sanctuary for those seeking Old World Charm and a little pampering near Toronto and the GTA.
Stepping into my room, I felt instantly soothed by my surroundings, and wanted to curl up on the couch by the fireplace with a cup of tea.
It’s not an uncommon experience at Langdon Hall. Each of the 60 elegant guest rooms and suites in the Main House, adjacent Cloisters, and restored Stables, are carefully curated to create the utmost comfort. All the rooms have generous spa-like bathrooms and feather beds with down duvets, and many have a sitting area with wood-burning fireplace or private patios. I especially loved changing into my terry cloth bathrobe and sampling the complimentary charcuterie board – a welcome gift from the hotel.
Dine In or Out?
Dining here is an epic experience that should be part of your visit. It has one of Ontario’s dreamiest restaurants, set within the majestic pillars of an elegant country estate. After a cocktail by the roaring fire, indulge in an exquisite eight-course tasting with wine pairings in the dining room, or enjoy High Tea set inside a solarium overlooking the lush gardens.
Langdon’s claim to fame is its award-winning, exquisite cuisine. The chef uses the 75-acre estate and its bounty as inspiration for the menus: outside, I watched the kitchen staff wander the sprawling vegetable garden, filling their baskets with fresh herbs and vegetables for that night’s menu. The staff also forage for wild edibles and collect honeycombs from the onsite hive, which are all incorporated into dishes. Dining here, you really are getting the freshest ingredients in your food.
To get a real taste of what Langdon Hall has to offer, reserve a table in the dining room and order the Chef’s Tasting Menu. From sea scallops to milk poached veal to sweet corn sorbet, you’ll be treated to a parade of seasonal dishes that incorporates the “best ingredients from the field, farm, forest and water.” PS – leave the ripped jeans and hot pants at home. The dress code is formal, with suit jackets recommended, and denim, sportswear and shorts banned.
The hotel also hosts some pretty spectacular culinary events. I attended one of the legendary summer barbecues, which had an all-you-can-eat spread of gourmet dishes. I salivated over the fresh halibut and scallops sizzling over an open fire, while eyeballing the long table heaped with cheeses, salads, and dips. The canoe filled with mussels, clams, and shrimp will forever live in my memory, as well as the peach tart on the dessert table.
If I could change one thing:
Can I add rather than change something? I would be in absolute heaven if Langdon added a real deal Finnish smoke sauna to the spa. Located outdoors, it would be a phenomenal experience in the wintertime.
What We Loved:
The food! My god, the food. I pigged out during our weekend here, and for good reason. The dining room is headed up by Executive Chef Jason Bangerter, a culinary star in Canada who has cooked alongside some of the world’s leading chefs.
My favourite food memory was dining at the laid-back Wilks Bar, where there’s a small menu of upscale comfort cuisine. I swooned over the wild salmon with braised leeks, hazelnuts and brown butter vinaigrette, but the mile-high Wilks Burger with Black Pepper Bacon and Molasses Compote and fresh cut fries looked pretty phenomenal too.
If you can’t afford a weekend stay at the hotel, treat yourself to a meal at the formal dining room that overlooks the gardens and Carolinian forest. On weekends, the hotel hosts an afternoon tea menu with kitchen-baked scones and preserves, as well as other sweet and savoury treats.
Did you know that the hotel has 57 wood-burning fireplaces? A great feature for fall and winter visits.
This is a hotel ideal for:
Couples. The place exudes romance, and a weekend here is sure to get the mojo flowing.