In Review

Shangri-La The Shard, London hotel review: ‘sweet dreams in the clouds’

The stunning views from this iconic skyscraper hotel will take your breath away

In life and in business first impressions really count. From the moment you meet someone, or visit somewhere for the first time, that initial memory can last a lifetime, good or bad. 

Do a quick Google search of “first impression quotes” and you’ll find plenty of examples explaining how important it truly is. One classic quote – “you only get one chance to make a first impression” – must be on the training manual for hotel staff at the Shangri-La The Shard, London. Because from the moment we arrived to when we checked out the standards were impeccable.

Of all the memorable moments at the Shangri-La, the most lasting “first” impression came when we checked into the room, which was located on the 46th floor of this iconic skyscraper. 

We were welcomed by darkness, which at first felt a bit strange, but when we inserted our room key card into the wall slot, that was when the magic happened. The blinds slowly raised open to reveal stunning panoramic views of London and some of the capital’s most famous landmarks – Tower Bridge, the Tower of London, the River Thames, and the Walkie Talkie building to name just a few. The views really took our breath away. 

Written on one of the bedroom’s floor to ceiling glass window panels was the message “sweet dreams in the clouds”. As first impressions go, it’s hard to top this. 

Sweet dreams at Shangri-La The Shard, London

Sweet dreams at Shangri-La The Shard, London

Mike Starling

Why stay here: the room  

The Shard, the tallest building in London and western Europe, officially opened in February 2013 and consists of office space, residential, restaurants and the hotel. The Shangri-La occupies 19 floors of the skyscraper and starts on level 34 – 125 metres high – where the reception is located. The hotel itself has 202 rooms and suites, all of which have spectacular views of the city. 

Staying one night in a deluxe city view king room on the 46th floor, we were so comfortable here that we only left it to visit the infinity pool, more on that later. It had all the mod-cons expected of a luxury five-star, including a widescreen TV which was perfect for a movie night and a computer tablet on which you could order food or find out more about the services on offer. As is the modern hybrid life, there was a desk space where you could do a few hours of work. 

Service to the room was also excellent. My wife requested a yoga mat for her daily Yoga with Adriene session on YouTube. This was not a problem for the staff of a hotel which has wellness as a key theme. 

Soak in the views from the free-standing bath tub

Soak in the views from the free-standing bath tub

Mike Starling

Watch Antiques Roadshow while in the tub…

The stunning panoramic views are not just from the living and sleeping area either, but also from the bathroom. The free-standing bath tub offers views of The City. Another amazing thing in the bathroom was the TV... in the mirror. I have seen televisions in bathrooms before, but within the mirror? This was certainly a first. 

Checking in on a Sunday means you can soak in the tub, look out over the Square Mile and watch Antiques Roadshow. Honestly, has there ever been a better Sunday night option? 

Head to TĪNG restaurant for dinner or breakfast

Head to TĪNG restaurant for dinner or breakfast

Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts

The food and drink 

There are plenty of dining options at the Shangri-La The Shard, London, which are popular not just with hotel guests but also locals. TĪNG restaurant offers classic Asian cuisine with a British twist while Sky Lounge is ideal for a spot of brunch or a glass of bubbly. On floor 52 you will find GŎNG, the highest hotel bar in western Europe which serves up sunset cocktails and late-night drinks. Other options in The Shard include Bar 31, Aqua Shard Bar, Hutong and Oblix.

I would love to say that that we enjoyed a multi-course dinner at TĪNG followed by a few cocktails at GŎNG. But I won’t lie to you, we never ventured out of the room for our evening meal – we ordered in. 

From the computer tablet in the room you can choose a range of room service options. We ordered the Shanghai Noodles (£34; wok stir-fried shredded beef fillet and vegetables) and that hotel room service staple, the Classic Club sandwich (£16). As a side dish, and because we were intrigued, we also ordered some french fries with katsu ketchup (£5). The katsu ketchup was so good that it might be the best fiver we’ve ever spent on food. 

For breakfast we did venture downstairs to TĪNG where a grand buffet is served up each morning. The classics are all available – cooked breakfast, pastries, pancakes and eggs to order. After overindulging in the views from the room, we continued to admire the landscapes from TĪNG – and rightly overindulged in the breakfast treats on offer.

Enjoy a sunset swim at the infinity pool

Enjoy a sunset swim at the infinity pool

Mike Starling

Facilities: the pool 

Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts is headquartered in Hong Kong and at its London property the modern Asian influence is evident in the rooms, restaurants and design. Another space in the hotel which makes you feel like you’re in Asia, rather than the UK, is on floor 52 where you will find London’s highest hotel infinity pool and sauna. 

Guests can book a one-hour slot to visit the pool so we decided to go around sunset. Swimming a few lengths then watching the sun go down over London is something we won’t forget in a hurry. 

The view from the room at night

The view from the room at night

Mike Starling

The verdict 

Across the world there are many modern-day architectural marvels – and in terms of rankings, The Shard is right up there, literally. Many visitors to the capital may choose to stay in a more historic hotel which offers British traditions and pomp, but if you want to experience “new” London then the Shangri-La The Shard is the place to go. From the rooms to the restaurants, everything about the hotel is sensational. Those views from the clouds are what really sets it apart though. You’ll never want to come back down to Earth.

How to book 

Rooms at the Shangri-La The Shard, London start from £725 per night, based on two sharing a Superior Shard Room on a room-only basis. To book see shangri-la.com

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