When one of Asia Pacific’s leading luxury hotel groups first opened an European outpost in Paris in 2010, I was honored to be one of the first to review it. The hotel quickly became one of my Parisian favourites, surpassed only by the city’s Le Bristol hotel.
So when Shangri La Hotels and Resorts announced that they would be opening a hotel in London a few years ago – in The Shard, Western Europe’s tallest building – you can understand why I had only one reaction to this bit of news: total and utter excitement.
Half a year after its opening in May this year, I was finally able to review the hotel last week.
Location: Levels 34-52 of The Shard, Western Europe’s tallest building. Geographically, it is situated south of the river at London Bridge, an area most definitely not known for its concentration of luxury hotel properties. In fact it’s quite a distance from the swanky establishments of Knightsbridge, Park Lane, Mayfair and the West End. It is however in very close proximity to some of London’s most iconic cultural and historical treasures, including but not limited to The Tower of London, The Tate Modern, Shakespeare’s Global Theatre, Borough Market, St. Paul’s Cathedral and the Royal Exchange, among others.
Rooms: Check in takes place either at the reception on the ground floor or at the second one on the 35th floor, whereupon you truly begin to grasp what a treat you’re in for. Every single one of the hotel’s 202 rooms and suites has a view. How could it not? In fact the view is so alpha and omega at the Shangri La London that rooms are categorised by the magnificence of the London panoramas they can afford a guest, instead of the standard hotel practice of going by size. Speaking which, the rooms are among the largest in London, coming in at an average of 42 square meters. My room for the night was a Deluxe City View on the 40th floor whose floor-to-ceiling windows afforded me uninterrupted 180 degree views of the truly historic and iconic city that is London.
No expenses are spared either when it comes to the bathrooms which are large and marble-clad and feature heated floors, high-tech Japanese washlet toilets, luxurious Acqua Di Parma bathroom amenities and mirrors with integrated televisions.
Food and beverage: The hotel has three dining and drinks venues: Lang, a patisserie and artisan deli on the ground floor; Ting, the signature restaurant and lounge on the 35th floor where breakfast, lunch and dinner are served and Gong – the highest bar in London – located on the 52 floor.
Other amenities: An infinity pool and 24-hour gym on the 52nd floor, River Thames-facing event rooms, complimentary fruit bowls for every guest upon arrival, complimentary high-speed WiFi, and a pair of binoculars in all rooms, to mention a few.
Tripadvisor rating: Rated either Excellent or Very Good by 340 out of 392 reviewers.
Luxury Travel Beat’s last word: There are a number of hotels in this city that will always have a special place in my heart. The Shard, however, has firmly established itself as my favourite. It is by no means perfect: there’s the small matter of many guests being able to see directly into parts of their neighbour’s rooms due to a combination of the floor to ceiling windows and the shape of the shard. Once you look past that – or away from that, as it were – you find a hotel that’s warm, welcoming and – although it’s still finding its feet a little more than a half a year from its opening date – infused with personality throughout. Especially highly recommended for first-time visitors to London.
The lowdown: Rates at the Shangri-La London at The Shard start from £450 a night, and can be booked by visiting http://www.shangri-la.com/london, emailing email@example.com or calling (44 0) 207 234 8088.
For TĪNG reservations the contact details are (44 20) 7234 8108 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
GŎNG reservations can be made on (44 20) 7234 8208 or by sending an email to email@example.com.