Lackluster Luxury: Lancôme Afternoon Tea at the Langham

By Marian Rosenberg, October 9, 2021

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Pairing a world famous top cosmetics brand with one of the best names in hospitality ought to have been the epitome of a luxury experience, serving as a benchmark of the rapid development in Hainan since last year’s announcement to build this island province into a Free Trade Port.

Unfortunately, Lancôme Afternoon Tea at the Langham Haikou was anything but.


Starting from the broken ‘click here to purchase’ link in the initial announcement on the Langham’s Official WeChat account and ending with the frankly shocking lack of property maintenance, about the only thing we found ourselves capable of praising were the two Lancôme swag bags (each of which came with around RMB 250 in value of gifts on a RMB 343 afternoon tea for two).

Langham is a brand where we expect no effort to have been spared, but it seems that no effort was actually made, from the shabby frayed ribbon around the vase of roses to real Wedgewood china sadly stacked upon a rusty metal tiered frame.

Frayed ribbon up close. Images by Marian Rosenberg for That’s

Rusty metal, real china and contents of one swag bag. Images by Marian Rosenberg for That’s

Even before sitting down to eat in a converted space on the first floor that used to be where guests and visitors waited for friends and taxis, we couldn’t help but notice issues such as unswept carpet, chipped furniture, and a bit of rubbish blending in with the Carerra marble paneling in the bathroom.

Images by Marian Rosenberg for That’s

Greasy-head spots and leftover lipstick. Images by Marian Rosenberg for That’s

Leftover lunch and more greasy-head spots on the wall. Images by Marian Rosenberg for That’s

More lunch. Images by Marian Rosenberg for That’s

Although we knew this was a promotional event sponsored by Lancôme, the make-up sales counter on the other side of the lobby took what ought to have been the refined classiness of a century old brand and replaced it with the feeling of being in a shopping mall food court. This lack of refinement and class was further enhanced by the shoddily made Lancôme branded embroidered pillows that were scattered about the chairs and sofas.

Images by Marian Rosenberg for That’s

Quality of the pillows’ lettering. Images by Marian Rosenberg for That’s

The food was acceptable. If it had cost half as much, one might even go so far as to call it good. For the price and venue, we would have thought the seasonal fresh fruit selection would include a nicer selection of fruits or at least more of them. In addition to the fruit, a pot of tea each, and a plate of room temperature scones, there were five sweets and three savories. Of these, with the exception of the macarons, none of them were really anything you’d expect to find coming out of a kitchen in a Langham property.

The verdict is that there is absolutely no reason to go for the special Lancôme tea.

This is particularly true when compared to the pool float tea set (RMB158 per person on Meituan) which comes with all day use of the roof top pool, steam room, and sauna, and—at least this month—still has the Lancôme swag bag.

Images by Marian Rosenberg for That’s

Images by Marian Rosenberg for That’s

Images by Marian Rosenberg for That’s

Image by Marian Rosenberg for That’s

Images by Marian Rosenberg for That’s

Image by Marian Rosenberg for That’s

Langham Haikou Afternoon Tea Pool Set

Open daily, 2.30-5pm. 77 Binhai Blvd, Longhua District. See listing.

READ MORE: 15 Fresh Events from Haikou to Sanya: Swaps, Breakletics & More

A translator living in Hainan for 17 of her 19 years in China, Marian Rosenberg is best known for her annual cycling trips through rural China. These trips not only have her blogging on Cycleblaze (username: brucianna) and helping people out on the Travel in China During Covid groups (Cyclist Translator), they've also landed her in the Washington Post's travel section and are the reason she has more than 40,000 followers on Douyin (我是凡一).

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[Cover image by Marian Rosenberg for That’s]

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