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What comes to mind when considering a trip to Tibet? Checking out (perhaps from a distance) Mount Everest? Studying the teachings of the Dalai Lama? Visiting seriously ancient temples? Whether you do all or none of these things, Shangri-La Hotels wants to end your day in the peak of luxury--no pun intended--at their first hotel in Tibet’s capital city, Shangri-La Hotel Lhasa.
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Having waited for so long, we were pretty psyched to check out Shangri-La at the Shard last week. One thing we can say for sure now that we’ve been inside? It will be unlike any other hotel in the city – the Asian-influenced design and skyscraper setting is more Tokyo or Hong Kong than London, even as you look out over the British rooftops.
Arrival happens through the ground floor lobby on St. Thomas Street, which has a reception desk, small seating area, and around the corner, coffee shop and patisserie LÁNG. We liked the mural made out of coffee cups and saucers (see below for a picture), and as the final furniture arrives, LÁNG will also get outdoor seating, between the Shard and the escalator that runs up to the concourse level of London Bridge station.
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About a month from now, Shangri-La Hotels will finally cut the ribbon on its long in the works skyscraper hotel at the Shard in London. Ahead of the May 6 opening, we packed ourselves into a construction lift - high-visibility gear, hard hat and all - for a first look at what you can expect between floors 34 and 52 of the Renzo Piano-designed landmark.
As we heard when reservations opened a few weeks back (opening rates start at £450 / $750), the ground floor lobby facing St. Thomas Street looks nearly finished, but some changes to furniture and set up are still to be made. We saw the sky lobby at level 35, which hits you with head-on views of the City and St. Paul’s, all the way west towards Westminster, the second you step out of the express lifts.
Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts has decided to save the planet in their own small way by introducing environmentally-friendly digital newspapers rather than offering daily delivery of the real thing to each guest’s room. Considering the digital service replaces approximately two million print newspapers annually, there are a pretty significant number of trees that are all breathing a sigh of relief.
They’ve partnered with PressReader, a digital newspaper and magazine service, to do the deed. Hotel and restaurant guests can connect through each hotel’s complimentary WiFi via their laptops, tablets or smartphones and read to their heart’s content over 2,000 local, regional and international publications from 100 countries in 60 languages. That’s a lot of words.
The service can be found across all Shangri-La and Kerry Hotel properties in any and all WiFi enabled areas of the properties, including — yes — hotel cars.
For those of us who still prefer the smooth feel of the newsprint and black, inky fingers in the morning, Shangri-La Hotels are offering a limited number of print newspaper editions by request.
[Photo: Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts]
The hotel will open its doors to real, live, paying guests on May 6th with a superior room starting at 450GBP a night, or an eye-watering $748 USD. Thankfully, that includes VAT.
While the rooms will open on May 6 as will Ting, the signature restaurant and lounge on level 35, the hotel's champagne and cocktail bar, Gŏng--located on the top floor and named after the interlocking wooden brackets commonly used in traditional Chinese architecture and featured throughout the venue-- will open later on in July. It will be the highest champagne and cocktail bar in London when it opens. (FWIW, the infinity pool will also open on level 52, but in the fitness center, not as part of Gŏng.)
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We can’t believe we’re typing these words, but the Shangri-La at the Shard London has an opening date. For real!
May 6, 2014 will go down in the history books as the first day guests will be zooming up to level 35 of the Renzo Piano-designed Shard to finally explore the tallest hotel in Western Europe.
Level 34 and 35 will contain the sky lobby, linked together by a grand staircase and offering floor-to-ceiling windows. Guestrooms will be between floors 36 and 50, with views broken down by category, like we talked about just before the end of the year. Over a third of the bathrooms have windows as well, with Aqua di Parma toiletries to use while you soak and soak up the view.
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London has had a few big years in hotels, including our best opening for 2013, but the next twelve months should give us plenty to pore over too. Just like the five worldwide openings we lifted out of our Master List of Worldwide Hotel Openings, here are 6 London hotels you should keep an eye out for this year.
Firmdale's Ham Yard Hotel : we’ve been taking pictures for a long time of the construction site, but this year should really be the year when Firmdale adds a new flagship to its quirky collection of individually Kit Kemp-styled hotels. Located just off of Piccadilly Circus with 90 rooms and suites and a whole range of amenities (bowling alley anyone?), the hotel will complete a piece of the puzzle in this revamped area between Regent Street and Soho. Recruitment has started, and based on the website, we think it will actually be called the Ham Yard Hotel when it opens in May.
It's that time of year again: the 2013 HotelChatter Awards! Today and tomorrow, we'll be showcasing the best (and worst) of hotels over the past year. But we couldn't do it without you! Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, or shoot us an email. And the Award goes to...
Pictures of the rising skyscraper housing the hotel on floors 34-52 started us off way back in 2010, when we were ever so hopeful that it would arrive in time for the 2012 Summer Olympics. We all know how well that turned out, but later that year we saw some promising signs go up.
We can’t tell you much that you don’t already know when it comes to Shangri-La at the Shard; we’ve documented its long and winding road to opening ad infinitum on this site. In fact, it’s nearly three and a half years ago we took our first pictures of the then under construction tallest building in Europe.
And no, unfortunately we still have no more specific window for opening than “first quarter of 2014”. But! The hotel has an updated, and slightly expanded, website, with details on room types, their views, and what looks like some actual photography from inside the hotel. While we pour over these snippets, we’ll go ahead and take it as confirmation – for now – that Shangri-La is indeed committed to making it across the finish line with its second western European hotel.
With the holiday season just a month or so away (sorry to be the bearer of bad news), Shangri-La is giving members of its Golden Circle rewards program the opportunity to help out two Hong Kong based charities, Oxfam Hong Kong (which aids poverty and disaster relief) and MedArt (which brings care to those in long-term confinement, such as prisons, psychiatric institutions, hospices, homes for the elderly, etc).
For every 1,000 points given by a member, Golden Circle will donate $20 to one of the charities on the member’s behalf. The minimum donation starts at 2,000 points and can be increased by increments of 1,000 up until a maximum of 10,000, equivalent to a $200 cash donation. Members may donate by visiting the “Redeem Points” section on Golden Circle's website.
The donated points are forfeited from your account in exchange for the donation made by Golden Circle. How much these points are actually worth varies. For example, at a Shangri-La "collection A" hotel, a standard room is worth 1,000 points/night. At the highest tier of hotels, "collection G," a standard room is worth 20,000 points. So, a guest who donates 2,000 points sacrifices a two-night stay and the hotel donates $40 to charity.
Once upon a time
in a land far, far, away in London, there was a beautiful castle hotel being built high up in the sky amongst the clouds at the top of a very tall giant building called, The Shard. And the castle hotel on a cloud was given the name, Shangri-La London at The Shard.
castle hotel was meant to be open to everyone in the land and beyond by the time the great gladiators Summer Olympics came into town in 2012. But that didn't happen. Yet the hotel kept building and a new date of June 2013 was given. Then another new opening date of September 2013 was given. And then mysteriously, there was no new opening date to be found.
the people us very worried. Then behold, a super secret messenger arrived at our door inbox with a mysterious note that said, The hotel will not open for quite some time. The fairytale has turned into quite a bit of a nightmare.
Ditching the Grimm-speak for a bit, we've learned that The Shangri-la had some serious issues with their builders and so they are starting anew with a different group of builders. We're not quite sure if this means ripping out existing construction and starting fresh or just having them finish up the job to Shangri-La's expectations. (We suspect it's the former.)
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Who can believe the Shangri-La Hotel Toronto is one year old? They grow up so fast...
The hotel is marking its big birthday by partnering with Sunny Fong of luxury women’s wear label, VAWK, to create spiffy new Lobby Lounge outfits. Celebrities have traipsed down the red carpet in VAWK designs worldwide, including the Cannes International Film Festival, the Grammy Awards and the People’s Choice Awards.
For the Shangri-La Toronto the designer drew inspiration for the sexy and sophisticated outfits from the “artwork in the lobby, the Ming vase tea library and the ornithological theme that is prevalent in the hotel, and the Zhang Huan ‘Rising’ sculpture.” The dress design borrows from traditional Asian design with shoulders reminiscent of the pagodas found in Chinese gardens and a sleeker silhouette of the traditional qipao with mandarin collar. The goal was to create something dramatic, almost theatrical, and holy-cremolely, he did achieve that.
And then there's the VAWKtail.