When it comes to luxury hotels, London leaves very little to be desired with more than 100 five star hotels welcoming guests every day. Stirring up an established hotel scene like this takes one hell of a property, and the brand new Shangri-La hotel at the Shard promises exactly that!
We recently stayed a night at the Shard’s Shangri-La hotel on the South side of the Thames and look forward to tell you more about the experience. Located in Western Europe’s tallest skyscraper measuring 309 meters in height, the Shangri-La hotel occupies floors 34 to 52 of the 72 story tall building offering incredible views of London.
The Shard is designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano and imagined as a spire-like sculpture emerging from the River Thames. The outside is clad in 11,000 angled glass panels that reflect the sunlight and the sky above giving the tower its ever changing look. Construction on The Shard started in March 2009 and topped out in March 2012. The building was inaugurated in July 2012 and the public observation deck opened on the 1st of February 2013.
The observation deck called the View from the Shard 68th until the 72nd floor. Above the outdoor observation deck at 244 meter a spire expands into the sky to the 308 meter top. Visitors of the View from the Shard are whisked up to the 68th floor with special express elevators that cover 6 meters per second and display a special animation as you go up. One level up from where you arrive is a triple height, main viewing gallery which gives 360 degree views of Greater London up to 40 miles away. This floor also has several digital “Tell:scopes” through which you can explore the city around the Shard in real time, as well as view pre-recorded day time and night time views. The Tell:scopes are fully interactive and are able to identify over 200 famous landmarks. Even if you are not staying at the Shangri-La, a visit to the View from the Shard is worth the trip and 25 GBP entrance fee.
The entrance of the Shangri-La hotel is hidden away on a quiet side of the Shard. At the ground floor lobby the staff takes over your luggage and swiftly takes you to two of the hotels own express elevators that go from the ground floor lobby to the main lobby on the 35th floor. Stepping out of the elevator the views of the Thames and City of London are right in front of you. Mainly thanks to double height windows that extend down to the 34th floor below the views have a majestic impact.
The Shangri-La at the Shard is home to three restaurants and bars. The signature restaurant is called TĪNG and located on the main lobby level on floor 35. It serves modern European menu with subtle Asian influences. It is open every day for lunch (12pm – 2.30pm) and dinner (6pm-11.30pm). GŎNG is the bar located on the 52nd floor with stunning views of the Thames and Tower Bridge. The bar is open every week day from 5pm til 2am and in the weekend from 2pm til 2am. Additionally there is LÁNG, a artisan deli and cafe at the ground floor lobby. The restaurants and the 60 staff stand under supervision of Executive Chef Emil Minev who previously worked at the Shangri-La’s in Tokyo and Maldives, Jumeirah Emirates Towers in Dubai and the Ritz Hotel in London.
Besides the restaurants and 202 guest rooms and suites, the Shangri-La at the Shard also offers conference, banqueting and events Facilities on the 34th floor and a gym and pool on the 52nd floor.
The infinity pool alone could be a reason to stay the night at the Shangri-La at the Shard and deserves a paragraph of its own. Hidden away on the 52nd floor it offers a magnificent view over London and while we were there we had the pool all to ourselves which made it even more special. Finding the pool in the first places has a high James Bond level as there are several near-secret doors that only open with your rooms key card to make it from the dressing and shower room to the pool area.
On the same level as the pool you will also find a fully equipped gym which offers views towards South-West London that can reach as far as Kent on a bright day. Also on this level you will find the bar which might be a bit inconvenient as hotel guests on their way to the pool mingle with bar guests. Sadly this is one of the downsides of a compact layout in a tower like the Shard.
Our room was a corner-room located on the 48th floor with stunning views extending from Central London and the Thames all the way to South-West London. Due to the Shard’s layout every room is unique in layout but all feature floor-to-ceiling windows. The room features marble and silk in combination with light wood, giving the room a very luxurious yet modern touch. The rooms have automatic climate control and integrated sun-shielding, although at the 48th floor you don’t really have to worry about privacy and we slept with the blinds open to enjoy the view as much as we could.
The bed is one of Shangri-La’s own body-contouring beds with 300 thread count Frette linen which offered excellent comfort. Besides a spacious bathroom with separate shower, Acqua Di Parma bathroom amenities and ‘a bathtub with a view’, the room also had a large open wardrobe, working desk and sofa. Uniquely the room comes with a pair of binoculars that guarantee hours of entertainment and thousands of things to explore. Its things like this that show that this is not just another ‘off the shelf’ five star hotel, but a unique place that takes pride in the details.
Besides 185 ‘normal’ rooms in four classes between 30 and 60 m2 in size, the Shangri-La has 17 suites which include a personal butler service. The three Signature Suites, including the Westminster Suite, the London Suite and the Shangri-La Suite, offer the ultimate indulgence and have uninterrupted views across London’s landmarks and measure between 117 and 232 square meters in size.
Our stay at the Shangri-La at the Shard lived up to our expectations or even exceeded it, like the binoculars, complimentary WIFI, the peaceful getaway from London’s busy streets and welcome tea served in the room. However as with every new hotel there were a few details that still need to be ironed out. Per example the routing between the dressing room / shower and pool on the 52nd floor is a bit inconvenient and also the water pressure in the shower could be tweaked a bit.
Located in the tallest building in Western Europe on floors 34 to 52, Shangri-La Hotel, At The Shard, London is the city’s first high-rise hotel. It offers unique views of London in every direction, overlooking such landmarks as the Houses of Parliament, Tower of London and St. Paul’s Cathedral. The hotel is also the first luxury property to open south of the River Thames. The Shard replaced Southwark Towers, a 24-storey office block built in Southwark in 1975.
The Shard is the center of Southwark’s redevelopment that includes many new residential and commercial properties that spring up like mushrooms. The Shard is placed virtually on top of the London Bridge train station, providing a direct connection with many destinations in Greater London and beyond at the hotel’s doorstep. But you don’t have to travel far to find things to do: the Tate Modern, Tower Bridge and St Paul’s Cathedral are walking distance away from the hotel.
The Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts group is based in Hong Kong and one of the world’s premier hotel ownership and management companies. Shangri-La Hotel, At The Shard, London is the hotel group’s 83rd hotel and third in Europe, following the openings of Shangri-La Hotel, Paris and Shangri-La Bosphorus, Istanbul in 2010 and 2013, respectively. Inspired by the legendary land featured in James Hilton’s novel Lost Horizon published in 1933, the name Shangri-La encapsulates the serenity and service for which Shangri-La is renowned worldwide. Shangri-La properties are primarily five-star deluxe city centre and resort hotels with the majority of the city centre hotels having over 500 guestrooms, whereas the resort properties tend to be smaller.
Shangri-La’s tradition of service excellence started with the opening of the Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore in 1971. The hotel’s 15 acres of landscaped gardens, beautifully appointed guest rooms and gracious Asian style set a new standard for hotel excellence, which to this day continues to guide the group’s design features.
The Shangri-La at the Shard is a unique luxury hotel and a true addition to the hotel scene in London. The rooms leave very little to be desired and the staff gives you the feeling they have been working in the Shard for years already. But what really sets the hotel apart is the incredible view of London that impresses and overwhelms wherever you go in the hotel!
To make the most of your stay at the Shangri-La at the Shard make sure you bring your swim gear for a dive in the 52nd floor infinity pool and take time to have a drink at the GŎNG bar.
Room rates at the Shangri-La at The Shard Hotel start from £450 per room per night.