“Shangri-La” is a Tibetan term for a 'remote beautiful imaginary place where life approaches perfection'. And the London outpost of this global hotel group is exactly that. It's located in the The Shard, England’s tallest building that protrudes over the City of London. It takes just 26 ear-popping seconds to whizz up to the 35th-floor lobby, where views from the gallery stretch all the way to Kent and Sussex. Just steps from London Bridge station – one of the city’s most important transport hubs – The Shangri-La hotel takes you up 18 floors of The Shard, with its own entrance at street level. Dapper doormen stand poised, ready to lead guests to the lift – and what an entrance. As the lift swings open, you’re greeted with a sparkly lobby that thrums with the awe of guests fawning over the panoramic view of the big smoke down below. CSP Times contributor Eva Piskadlo checks in for an urban retreat.
Image courtesy of Eva Piskadlo | CSP Times
The hotel is a gem in the heart of South London, an area with an unrivalled concentration of really good food. Borough Market, one of the oldest markets in London is just a 5-minute walk away. Bermondsey Street, with a plethora of some of my favourite wine bars and restaurants, is just a stone's throw further south.
The window to our room provided this blissfully peaceful presentation of one of the busiest cities in the world. Adorned with sleek oriental décor and fixtures and a sky-high view, the room makes you feel like you could be in a suite in Hong Kong. Rooms are spacious by London standards, with chaise longues by floor-to-ceiling windows that shed abundant natural light. The ornamentation is a nod to the Shangri-La’s Asian heritage, with sliding doors, cherry blossom Chinoiserie and a great selection of Eastern teas. The brown and white marble bathroom is very easy on the eyes, the centrepiece being the bathtub.
Room rates start from £580 a night. As a result of the iconic design of The Shard, each room is distinctly unique and features floor-to-ceiling windows views. Truly, from up in our suite, the frantic city seems so serene. Other thoughtful additions include a pair of binoculars to use at your leisure and champagne on arrival.
Complimentary high-speed Wi-Fi access, room service, parking, laundry and fitness centre are just a few of the standouts. The service in general was impeccable. The star of the show was obviously the infinity pool, again with that moody view. As you enter the place you’ll be overwhelmed by a feeling of calm. With a sauna (may I add, the most unique I’ve ever sat in) and state-of-the-art gym next door, the facilities are truly memorable and unique to the stunning property.
The hotel has an array of dining options, including the famous and super-swanky Gong bar and Ting restaurant. With an impressive menu of ever-changing drinks, it's recommended that you enjoy the view with an expertly crafted cocktail. Although, keep in mind that you’re dining at an altitude of 52 floors… so it's a killer view at sunset.
And what about breakfast? The hotel’s buffet breakfast includes Western and Asian choices featuring everything from exotic fruit selections to continental spreads (meats, yoghurts, pastries), Chinese congee and a hearty full English. Pancakes and French toast are also available on the a la carte menu.
Tip: have your breakfast in your room so that you can capture an epic flat lay of your food amongst the London skyline.
This isn’t the sort of hotel you pop into on a regular basis, and, as such, most people here are having the time of their lives – it feels like a treat and I was very lucky to review this gem of a property. The Shangri-la in London is definitely one of my favourite properties in London. It's a truly unique experience that I highly recommend anyone, especially if you’re a Londoner, to experience at least once in your life. What an incredible experience.
Shangri-La The Shard, London, 31 St Thomas Street, London SE1 9QU, UK, (44 20) 7234 8000
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