Since opening just last May, the five-star Shangri-La Hotel at The Shard has already become one of the most iconic and sought-after hotels in all of London.
Located in London Bridge, the Shangri-La Hotel is walking distance from Borough Market and the hip Bermondsey Street, and a stone’s throw from the Underground and National Rail stations. Connected to the Northern and Jubilee lines, reaching the rest of London is quick and easy, while if you arrive into London Bridge by train, hotel staff will greet you on the platform to help with any heavy bags.
But really it’s not about where you are in London, it’s how high up.
The Shard is the highest building in Western Europe, standing at a remarkable 309.6m (1,016ft) tall. Shangri-La occupies the 35th to 52nd floors, but it takes just 26 seconds in the lift from ground level to the lobby. Taking in all of central London, from Whitehall, to St. Paul’s, to Canary Wharf, with glass panelling on every outer wall, the views of the city are something you’ll never get used to, and never get bored of.
We stayed in an Iconic City View room, on the north-west corner of the building. The rooms are sleek and luxurious, with an exceptional quality of finish and touches of Asian flair. It’s a seamless fusion between refined materials like marble and silk and more contemporary surfaces like wood.
After walking through the entry way which houses a huge two-person cupboard, much of the very generously sized room was an open plan sleeping space. With a sofa to settle in on, every guest is welcomed with a complementary exotic fruit bowl, while a desk at the far end provided the best out-of-office workspace you could ever dream of.
The ginormous bed, however, was the centrepiece of the room, and makes the most of those amazing views. With binoculars on every desk room, guests are invited to take advantage of the floor-to-ceiling windows and enjoy some of London’s most iconic landmarks; you could spend hours enjoying the the 180-degree view.
But it’s the view in the morning that’s the real sight to behold. Worth the money alone, just lie back in bed, press the button that automatically opens the black-out curtains, and let the sunlight spill in. It’s a magnificent wake-up remedy as you sleepily acclimatise to the views over London.
All of the Shangri-La’s beds are fitted with Frette linen (300 thread count in rooms, 600 thread count in suites and 1,000 in the three Signature Suites) and our bed had one of the most comfortable mattresses I’ve ever slept on. The rooms aren’t left lacking for technology either. Guests can enjoy local or international television on the 46″ LED TVs, plus a JBL sound dock to play music and an iPad to browse the internet or read the free digital newspapers.
As you might expect the minibar was well-stocked with some of the finest champagnes, spirits and snacks, while there’s also a Chinese tea set and Nespresso machine if you need an afternoon pick-me-up or after-dinner coffee.
One word of warning, if you’re in or next to a corner room, there are quite apparent views through your neighbours’ windows. It’s not the fault of the hotel, but it has led to the building being given the nickname, the “Eyeful Tower”. Every room has privacy blinds if you are worried the room over are seeing a little more than they should.
Our magnificent marble-clad bathroom was the epitome of luxury. Featuring heated floors and a big walk-in shower, the excellent level of finish made freshening up before dinner and showering in the morning a dream. With Acqua Di Parma bathroom products you can leave your shampoo at home, while a TV built into the bathroom mirror means you won’t miss a beat if you have to nip to the loo in the middle of a movie.
The star of the bathroom, however, was the Toto Washlet toilet. With a heated seat and pop-out shower spray, if you’ve never used a washlet before it’s an unusual experience but you’ll quickly find yourself using it every time you have to visit the bathroom.
Some of the “eyeful” views do include bathrooms, so if you have a window bathroom, you might want to lower the privacy blinds before you de-robe.
The Shangri-La Hotel makes great use of its unique views across London for its health and leisure facilities. Up on the 52nd floor, the infinity swimming pool might not run right up to the windows – which is probably a good thing – but you can still gaze down upon St. Paul’s, the London Eye and Westminster from the pool’s edge.
The 11m x 4m pool is a tranquil escape for guests, with staff bringing swimmers exotic fruits salads and cocktails to enjoy poolside; for a real workout you need to head next door into the gym.
Open 24-hours, jogging in front of such a view was an amazing experience. The 52nd floor gym also offers a full range of cardiovascular equipment, resistance training machines and free weights.
For a little pampering, guests can indulge in spa treatments either in the comfort of their room or in one of the spa residences. The Shangri-La also offers free WiFi throughout the hotel, including in your room, photo processing service, house doctor on call and foreign exchange counter. For events, the Shangri-La Hotel offers three big river-facing rooms.
Restaurant and bars
The Shangri-La’s signature restaurant and lounge is situated on the 35th level. The elegant TĪNG dining hall spans half of the floor, with large tables for a dinner with friends or a romantic evening with your partner.
Subtle Asian influences complement Head Chef Emil Minev’s modern European menu. The dishes at TĪNG are very well executed, with attentive and friendly service from the restaurant staff. A special mention must go to Head Sommelier Anne Lomas, too, for a fantastic range of paired wines alongside each dish.
We had the Chorizo and Langoustine Risotto and Hand Dived Scallops to start, both of which were delicious. The Fillet Steak and sides were exquisite for our mains too, before more delicate desserts rounded off a fantastic meal. For guests looking to try a number of dishes, TĪNG offers a four-course set menu for a very reasonable £49.
TĪNG is also home to breakfast every morning, putting on a lavish breakfast buffet and À La Carte menu. From an English Breakfast to a fantastic selection of breads and croissants, yogurts and fruits, the buffet also includes Oriental and Arabic options. Favourites like French Toast or Waffles can be ordered from the staff.
GŎNG, the Shangri-La Hotel’s destination bar, is on the 52nd floor. The highest bar in London, GŎNG hosts a number of intimate chambers, including the main Cocktail Bar, Champagne Bar and Swimming Pool. The talented barmen and women will serve up a number of signature cocktails plus your favourite spirits and champagnes.
The last of the Shangri-La Hotel’s offerings is on the ground floor. An artisan deli and cafe, LÁNG offers a selection of Shangri-La’s renowned signature cakes, home-made chocolates and pastries, plus seasonal hampers and sandwiches to eat in or takeaway.
The five-star Shangri-La Hotel at The Shard is an opulent experience, mixing meticulous Asian hospitality with the local character of its all-South London staff.
The hotel’s stunning views over London are unique and the Shangri-La makes the most of them at every opportunity. From jogging overlooking Westminster, to a swim over St. Paul’s, the hotel is an unparalleled experience in all of London. Rooms start at £450 a night, but it’s well worth the money to spring for an Iconic City View room (£600) and enjoy the night looking over central London.
But the Shangri-La Hotel at The Shard is much more than just a view. The hotel is every bit a five-star experience, with wonderfully helpful staff, an exceptional quality of finish in the rooms and a first-rate restaurant. The 52nd floor swimming pool is the icing on the cake.
The perfect hotel for a special weekend with your partner or a week’s getaway in London, Shangri-La Hotel at The Shard is every bit the memorable experience you expect.
For reservations and more, please visit: www.shangri-la.com/london
Shangri-La Hotel at The Shard, 31 St Thomas Street, London, SE1 9QU