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London's First Hotel High Up: Shangri-La at the Shard

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  Site Where: 31 St. Thomas Street, London, United Kingdom, SE1 9QU
May 7, 2014 at 3:34 PM | by | ()

Yesterday we attended the evening portion of opening day at Shangri-La at the Shard, nearly four years after we first saw the concrete core going up at London Bridge Station.

As promised, now is the time to settle in and ogle what’s inside, which we’ll break down for you in four parts. You can click on the sections below or just scroll at your leisure.

· The Public Spaces on floors 34 and 35
· The Guest Rooms
· The Amazing Views
· Bonus Snapshots

1. Public spaces

Walking out of the sky lifts on floor 35, you’re facing west, with the above seating area in front of floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking everything from St. Paul’s Cathedral to the London Eye and Houses of Parliament. Behind it is the glass elevator that can take you down one floor to the event spaces on level 34. Two marble reception desks are to your right.

Just beyond, the floor opens up to below, giving a two-story view of the City of London across the river Thames, with the controversial Walkie-Talkie taking center stage.

Continuing on clock-wise, the lounge section of Tīng takes up the rest of the northern side of the building. The carpet nearly puts a spring in your step it’s so soft and new, and we’d gladly take a pair of those groovy low-slung off-white and cognac armchairs home if the hotel would let us.

The restaurant mixes a lot of different seating arrangements along the eastern (direction Tower Bridge and Canary Wharf) and southern side of the Shard, with the latter having a direct view of the open kitchen.

In case you struggle to tear yourself away from the views, fear not: even in the bathrooms they’re right there.

It’s worth doing a loop around the floor, with lots of details in the furniture, art, and stacks of books to explore as you wander around. A second set of lifts takes you up to guestrooms from floors 36 to 50, with no two alike.

2. Guestrooms

Almost all of the 59 rooms currently available (a count that will go up to 202 by October) were booked out, but we managed to see an Iconic City View and Deluxe City View room, on floors 48 and 47, respectively.

Above is the Iconic City View room, which space-wise felt almost like a Junior Suite. Views were nearly 270 degrees, with the bed facing directly north, a small seating area, a work space, and bathroom to the right past a short hallway with wardrobes as you entered.

The bathtub had views from the City to Tower Bridge and Canary Wharf, with a separate shower clad in dark grey marble. Toiletries are by Aqua di Parma.

The Deluxe City View room was slightly smaller, but shared the same design (sans windows and freestanding tub in the bathroom). Given the irregular shape of the building, be aware that there are sight-lines between rooms and floors, especially at night as reflections add increased visibility: looking out from floor 47, we saw the couple checking out the room above us clear as day. Just a word of warning before you think privacy is guaranteed this high up.


We don’t have much to say about the views: they are stupendous, in every direction, both during the day and at night. Behold.

4. Bonus Snapshots

We’ll have to go back and spend some more time at Shangri-La; a short evening definitely was not enough. Between watching the lion dance and taking a stab at making a Lost Horizon, the hotel’s signature drink referencing James Hilton’s famous novel from which the group takes its name, there was too much to take in.

We did spy that – as we were told a month ago would happen – seating in the ground floor lobby (below) and coffee shop / patisserie LÁNG had been changed.

Whether you want to stay the night or come in for a meal / drink, we’d suggest getting in touch with the hotel and booking ahead. Expect to leave the better part of $1000 behind for a night in a Deluxe City View room.

[Photos: JasonD for HotelChatter]

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