Contributor/ Saffron Powell Brown
Best Known For
Shangri-La hotels are known worldwide for their opulence and high service standards. Shangri-La in London, is without doubt, the tallest one. It’s lobby is located on the 35th floor of The Shard, which is architecturally speaking, London’s newest object of desire.
The Good Stuff
After being shot sky-high, you enter the lobby and an aroma, reminiscent of a spa, engulfs you (although sadly there isn’t an actual spa). The staff falls all over themselves to be of service while escorting you to your room. Ensconced in our Iconic City View Room, we could see all the way from St Paul’s to Tower Bridge along the meandering River Thames. Binoculars are provided for diligent and gratuitous gawping, which we did. That night we slept with our blinds open, as we didn’t want to miss a second of that view. At 5am, as London began to stir, we flicked the conveniently located bedside switch to close the blinds; and that view almost bought a lump to my throat.
The Shangri-La just oozes serenity and calm. The clientele are generally glamourous but a mix of high rolling sightseers, locals and overnight guests. Although it was at the hotel restaurant TĪNG we witnessed everything from cocktail dresses (with ample side-boob) to, the far lesser, tracksuit and trainer warriors. Simply put the food is delicious, but the pricing is more on the fine dining side, European with an Asian twist, the spice-roasted piglet with endives, pineapple and vanilla was bordering on perfection, though the service was slightly haphazard. The only sore point was there was no room for drinks at the bar, GŎNG on the 52nd floor, so book in advance.
Inside the hotel 9.5 /10
The hotel occupies the 34th to 52nd floor and a grand staircase with a suitably glass walled elevator links levels 34 and 35. Shangri-La offers a whopping 185 rooms plus 17 suites, most of level 34 is event space. Our bedroom had everything, and that included a Nespresso machine, iPad and, not just the mandatory, white fluffy robes but authentic kimonos too. The bathrooms feature marble-clad fittings with gorgeous Acqua di Parma toiletries, plus a TV screen within the mirror. Perhaps the most fascinating feature was the toilet, complete with its own remote and offering a myriad of services, including deodorising and seat warming, we failed to get ours to work. Meanwhile, upstairs on the 52nd floor next to GŎNG is the not-to-be-missed sky pool, yes, there’s a swimming pool. Breakfast was a pan-Continental feast serving traditional favourites along with dim sum to even an Arabic-styled breakfast.
Outside the hotel – 9/10
That view! Sadly we then dropped some 40 floors, back to the real world, but we soon perked ourselves up with a visit to the nearby Maltby Street market to indulge our bellies. Borough Market is also just around the corner, and the City and West End are just a tube ride away.
Images courtesy of Shangri-La at The Shard