SE1 9QU Travel Guide
The Premier City View should have looked like this
The best thing about Shangri-La at the Shard London was, indisputably, the view. As part of the tallest building in the UK – nay, Europe – those glass walls overlooked everything you could possibly want to see in London.
Which brings us to the worst thing about the hotel: the unimpeded views – thanks to all that glass, the shape of the building and some seriously unfortunate reflection – of other rooms and their occupants.
Well, according to the Daily Mail, the hotel has hit on a genius way to avoid the reflection issue – privacy stripes down the windows. This means guests in other rooms will be unable to see you.
Unfortunately, it also means that if you can’t see in, you can’t see out. Those beautiful views that you paid so much to see? Ruined.
Available from May 6 (yes, that is exactly a year since we took you inside on opening day), the Shangri-La Suite is one of three “final and most spectacular suites” of the hotel, the other two being the Westminster and London Suites. We talked about these way back when, with their completion at the time projected for fall last year, but here they finally are.
Above a rendering of the Shangri-La suite’s living room, which comes in at 188 sq m (2,023 sq ft) and comes with 180-degree views of the city from floor 39. Creams and golds dominate (or for the more refined: “champagne, citrine, and bronze), with all furniture custom designed for the suite. Access is through a private elevator, there is a 24-hour butler, and you will have a private chauffeur, too.
When Shangri-La at the Shard finally opened in May, the highest bit of London’s first hotel high up was still a work in progress: the 52nd floor with bar Gŏng, swimming pool, and gym. While the pool will arrive mid-August, bar Gŏng (derived from dougong, a Chinese architectural element of interlocking wooden brackets) is now open and has claimed its title as the city’s highest hotel bar.
We headed over earlier this week to see it for ourselves, arriving without a reservation – something that, given the capacity restriction at 90 people, we wouldn’t recommend during weekend peak times. You make your way up to the 35th floor first, where you switch elevators to complete the journey to level 52. Once there, you’ll find two main sections: a cocktail bar facing north with a range of seating, and a larger section facing east with a champagne bar towards the back.
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 day is finally here: the long-awaited Shangri-La at the Shard London is open. Following a traditional Chinese ceremony of ‘awakening the lion’, and ribbon cutting and speech by Mayor Boris Johnson earlier today – two things that surely don’t come together very often – we stopped by this evening to see what difference a month makes.
The answer to that? A lot, with guests milling about restaurant and lounge Tīng on floor 35, where four weeks ago everything was still wrapped in protective plastic and the only guests were hard-hatted construction workers.
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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.