Since its May 2014 opening, Shangri-La Hotel, At The Shard, London has checked in almost half a million guests, gifted more than 11,000 welcome teddy bears to pint-sized visitors and baked more than 500,000 scones for afternoon tea.
The Hong Kong-based hotel group, known for its reliably impeccable service, couldn’t have chosen a much more illustrious location for its first (and only) luxury property in the U.K. Spread sleekly across 19 floors of renowned architect Renzo Piano’s vertiginous Shard, the sky-high stay lets you take in myriad iconic London sights from the comfort of your bed, sup cocktails in the capital’s highest bar and swim in the highest swimming pool in Western Europe.
Here are but a handful of reasons why the Shangri-La Hotel, At The Shard has cemented itself as one of the city’s prime stays.
The key feature that makes Shangri-La Hotel, At The Shard stand above other luxury London hotels is its uninterrupted, breathtaking 360-degree views right across the city.
Thanks to a position across floors 34 to 52 of The Shard (the tallest building in Western Europe), you’ll spy those awesome vistas from the check-in desk, your breakfast table, the bar, the pool, the treadmills and through the floor-to-ceiling windows in every room.
In what has to be the most relaxing sightseeing tour of London, you can tick off Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, St Paul’s Cathedral, Tower of London, Tower Bridge, HMS Belfast, the London Eye and Canary Wharf, all without leaving the building.
Equally as enticing as the views are the culinary offerings at this luxury London hotel. The most important meal of the day does not disappoint at Shangri-La’s all-day lounge and restaurant, TĪNG. Tuck into everything from dairy-free wellness plates (banana- and chia-seed-packed muesli) to buttermilk pancakes from the à la carte menu. But we recommend diving straight into the buffet.
Alongside the usual hot breakfast staples, you’ll find a nod to the hotel’s Asian roots in the steamed dim sum and congee, and a taste of London in local ingredients such as Neal’s Yard Dairy cheese, Cannon & Cannon cured meats, and Borough Market bread. Savor the no-rush atmosphere while you soak up the vistas and plot the day’s activities.
On the 52nd floor is the city’s highest bar, GŎNG. This sleek, Andre Fu-designed venue has a newly opened sushi and sake bar on one end and a fully kitted cocktail lounge on the other. One particularly intimate window-side spot is coined internally “the proposal table” for the innumerable declarations of love that unfold there. Looking out at the uninterrupted sights, cocktail in hand with your partner, it’s enough to bring out anyone’s romantic side.
The drinks menu is an ode to everyday inventions that have had an impact on society: from The Cure, a gin number that marks the discovery of penicillin, to the Field of Gold, a margarita-like mezcal and cucumber juice tipple decorated with dried edible ants that celebrates the tractor.
For more laid-back sips and bites, there’s Bar 31, a neighborhood haunt buzzing with the after-work crowd, especially during “gin o’clock” (5 to 6 p.m.) and weekends, when live music is in full swing. Order a Jensen’s Gin and tonic — the distillery is close by in Bermondsey.
There’s a reason why Shangri-La landed on our 2019 World’s Best Rooms list. Walk in, pop your key card in the slot and electric window blinds will roll up to reveal the glorious London cityscape — it’s quite the hello.
There’s a refreshing minimalism about the décor in the 202 rooms that both echoes the outside scene and puts it center stage with light wood, caramel leather, swirly blue carpets (a nod to the river below) and sweet cherry blossom prints. Coupled with absolute silence, the effect is instantly calming.
You’ll find binoculars and a viewing guide to play “spot the London landmark,” and welcome touches such as housemade cake and Bermondsey Street Bees honey. If you’d like a soak, request one of the 80 bathtubs with a view, though the panoramas from the rainfall shower (and heated Toto toilet) are impressive enough.
There’s no such thing as a bad room at this Five-Star hotel. Entry level to signature suite, every accommodation is generously sized with a fantastic vantage point, and no two are the same, fitting like jigsaw pieces into The Shard’s unique structure. But to elevate your stay to luxurious new heights, the 2,021-square-foot Shangri-La Suite won’t disappoint.
Postcard-worthy vistas aside, a stay at Shangri-La Hotel, At The Shard gives you walkable access to some of the city’s best attractions. Gourmands will find London’s 1,000-year-old Borough Market a five-minute stroll away, where Instagram-popular restaurants, such as Padella, mingle with artisan food producers.
A little farther, there’s Maltby Street Market, where you can easily kill a couple of hours sampling picks from local street food sellers.
Culture vultures will adore the newly opened Science Gallery right across the road from the hotel.
And, of course, just along the river is Tate Modern and Shakespeare’s Globe theater, where plays run from April to October.
For boutiques, galleries (including contemporary hot spot White Cube) and coffee shops, there’s Bermondsey Street. And nestled to the side of The Shard is the entrance to London Bridge station, which connects you to the rest of the city and major airports, should you want to travel farther afield.
The concealed door that slides open to reveal the hotel’s pièce de résistance — the infinity-edge Sky Pool — is as James Bond-approved as the space itself. The pool is available exclusively for hotel guests to enjoy bath-water-temperature laps combined with those sweeping scenes on the other side of the windows.
Head here between 6 and 7 a.m. or 7 to 8 p.m. to soak up either sunrise or sunset, respectively. More than likely, you’ll have the pool all to yourself, especially during the week.
You’ll find Nespresso-brewed coffee and infused water laid out to keep you hydrated between dips and, from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Thursday through Saturday, something a little stronger will be on offer, as the door connected to GŎNG is unlocked to turn the area into a pool party.