The Shangri La hotel is really a setting to behold, as soon as you enter the 35th floor of the 1,016 ft high, and Western Europes tallest building: The Shard, London. You are instantly struck by the sweeping views of the city beneath you, through long floor to ceiling windows teetering through from the circular, winding, Ting Lounge and Restaurant. That’s not all, however. Everything is immaculate; hostesses dressed in floor-length, draping red dresses, impeccable service from the moment you enter, reception desks lined with jars of Eclairs which I feared you are not supposed to touch in a place as radiant as this, but have been craving ever since, a pianist trilling on the grand yamaha in the lobby and a sense of such order and subtle flow, that you begin to believe that you must be drifting through the clouds here.
Floors 36 through 51 of the hotel offer 202 rooms, yet you are easily led to believe you are one of a small, secret, club of members staying at the hotel: such is their discreet opulence. Each room is unique and features floor to ceiling windows, stunning city views, a fusion of refined materials – marbles and silk – blended with contemporary light wood, completing the urban cityscape. Topping all of this are two features which really define the level of detail The Shangri La is willing to go to, to establish ultimate comfort for you: a patented “body-contouring” Shangri La bed (yes ladies: it contours your body whilst you sleep) and: heated bathroom seats with in built oscillating bidets. In the hope that you do not read this whilst eating your meals: there is no refined way to describe it other than a massage for your bum.
The marble clad bathrooms also feature wide jacuzzi baths angled against the glasses views of the city. Add to that the integrated televisions and mirror screens, dressing chambers, equipped pantries, and automatic blind sensors (which had me constantly leaving the room and coming back in to test them, as if I were in Toy Story), and the summation of all this design is that you simply never want to leave your room. What I really commend about the hotel is that, although the Suites are truly breathtaking, and afford vastly spacious rooms; the standard rooms are equally luxurious, facilitated, stunning and equipped – you are not missing out whatever the room type you choose here.
Rainy london days will never seem grim again; if you watch the pitter patter outside from the floor to ceiling panoramic views from the 52nd floor gym, and “skypool.” Facing west across the city, the 11 x 4 m heated pool features stunning views of Londons iconic vistas as well as a cool, dimly lit relaxation area with chaise-longues and fruit infused water, tea and nespressos at your disposal. The ultimate quiet and relaxation for an escape from the busy city.
The dining options at The Shangri La are threefold; Lang, Gong Bar, and Ting Restaurant. Ting offer such a conifer able setting of deep, cushioned chairs and an atmosphere of subtle glamour. It offers a menu of Modern European food with an Asian Twist; which although is not reinventive by most measures I suspect that is not its goal. If it’s goal is to execute each plate to exuberant perfection, then this is well achieved. The Langoustine Risotto with chorizo, smoked paprika and parmesan, as well as the impeccably soft Scallop starters are unrivalled. The Beef Shortrib for main, arrives as a plentiful serving for two, although technically intended for one. It is stacked up and glazed with a sweet, sticky hazelnut surface to the crisp top layer of beef, and sprinkled with crumbled coffee to finish. A rich, intricate, filling dish, with meat so soft and tender it allows for the powerful glaze and coffee infusion. The Exotic Macaron with caramelised pineapple and coconut mousse is as guilty a pleasure as any for the desiring sweet tooth, and an excellent close to a satisfying meal.
Staying at the Shangri La redefines the term: City Experience. Whether it be for a birthday, an anniversary, a holiday, or even just a well deserved treat, you find yourself drifting from comfort to comfort within this glass haven. As you drift back into your room, and the blinds automatically roll up to reveal the night time skyline, you almost want to say and expect them to understand: “no blinds, stay closed please” as you prepare for a blissful slumber in the ultra comfort-inspired beds. But the blinds at the Shangri La seem to know better than you; they’ve opened up as you entered for a reason. They don’t just want you to gaze at the stunning night time sky and a city which never sleeps beneath you…. No. They know that if you’re lucky, you might catch a plane in near proximity, soaring at eye level as it prepares to land in the city. And if you ask me; that’s surely as special as shooting stars.
The Shangri La is currently offering 15% off advance purchase rooms as well as a “Romance in The Clouds” package with in room breakfast, a set three course menu for two, and a bottle of Champagne and Bouquet of Flowers on arrival. Visit www.shangri-la.com/London/shangrila/offers for more detail.