Cheeky and I were celebrating our anniversary and what better way to spend it than a night at one of London’s newest iconic hotels. As locals, it felt rather decadent staying in a hotel that was not far from home as the crow flies, but on this occasion I am not sure that crows would be flying quite this high, for we were to be experiencing the heady heights of the Shangri-La Hotel at the Shard. We drove through the bustling district of Southwark and right up to the front door where our car and luggage were whisked away and we were escorted through to the lobby. With flair and friendliness we were welcomed into the Shard as if we were regulars and after a slick check in we were climbing aboard the elevator. Before we knew it our ears were popping as we accelerated towards the skies of London and 28 seconds later the doors opened up to the Shangri-La Sky Lobby on the 35th floor.
WOW! What a spectacular view of my city, my London. With floor to ceiling windows the Italian architect Renzo Piano has created quite a spectacle here. The weather was playing nicely so we could see as far as the eye could see. Far below us was one of the greatest cities on earth with its 8.788 million residents (or thereabouts), or ants from this height going about their daily business as they have since time immemorial. The Hotel is just over the river from the City and a short 15 minute river taxi from Canary Wharf so it is ideally position for business, however the Shard is right in the centre of historical London and walking distance of such sites as the amazing food market that is Borough Market, the Tate Modern, St Paul’s Cathedral and a little further are the likes of Tower of London, Maritime Greenwich, Westminster Palace, Westminster Abbey and Saint Margaret’s Church plus the West End with its theatres and bustling shopping and nightlife. In all, the Shangri-La is well positioned for whatever your reason is for visiting London.
We were greeted and shown through the very open and expansive lobby to the elevators that service the rest of the hotel which occupies the 34th to the 52nd floor. Up we went once again even higher until we arrived at our floor, at which point we were shown to our ‘Iconic Shard Suite’. We entered into an expansive space with separate bedroom, living room, office, en-suite bathroom and dressing room. Once again the floor to ceiling windows gave us an even more breathtaking view east, north and west of the capital, this view was to keep us amused for hours as we explored the sprawling city beneath us, played ‘Spot the iconic building’. From the River Thames slowly meandering through the city to the likes of the Tower of London and Tower bridge, London looked even more toy town from this height. Like the rest of the 185 guestrooms and 17 suites this spacious suite has modern furnishings with a hint of Oriental elegance with marble throughout the bathroom, silk textiles and the comfiest 600 thread count bed linens. The devils are in the detail with washlet toilet with heated seat, heated floors, integrated TV in the bathroom mirror and possibly Cheeky’s favourite, a pillow menu and body-contouring bed to promote the perfect night’s sleep. All of this luxury including our own personal butler service too, ‘Quick lock the door Cheeky, we are never leaving!’
It was now time to explore some of what the Shangri-La had to offer, so it was off to experience the Infinity pool on level 52. Once again the views are what make this quite a unique experience, with views out West towards St. Paul’s Cathedral, the London Eye and the houses of parliament; once inside most hotels one could be in any city, but not here. What a way to spend the afternoon, floating around 180 metres above the city in the 11 by 4 metre pool, and because it is only reserved for guests, it did not get busy whilst we were there. On the same level is GŎNG, an Asian styled bar and highest in the country. With a great collection of Champagne, cocktails and a collection of seasonal drinks made using locally sourced spirits one could spend many hours up here sipping one’s way through the drinks menu, enjoying the views and good friends. After a couple of G&Ts it was off to eat at TĪNG on level 35, but that is another story. However, once we had finished dinner we somehow found our way back to GŎNG for our last one or two drinks!
The following morning, we opened the electric blinds, enjoyed the shower and bath with best views in the city and made our way to breakfast. The sun was shining over London which gave a sense of feeling on top of the world. Breakfast was a huge affair, with a vast buffet stretching almost the width of the building offering pretty much anything one could possibly desire to start the day, from freshly made healthy smoothies to the classic British fry up. This is a venue worth taking one’s time in, slowly making one’s way through breakfast and preparing oneself for whatever lays ahead. The Shard may not be the tallest building on the planet, and I am so glad that it is not, for those buildings would ruin the skyline of London; the Shangri-La Hotel at the Shard does not need to show off because it has style, design, service and elegance in spades. If you want to experience possibly one of the best situated hotels on the planet, then this could well be it. There may not be mountains, lakes or stunning geographical locations outside the window, but there is London spread out below you, and that is where the party is at and always has been!
Shangri-La Hotel, At The Shard, London
31 St Thomas Street