Four years ago, we stayed at the London Bridge Hotel right next to The Shard. If someone told me that time that we will be staying at the 5 star Shangri-la Hotel at The Shard next door the next time we stay in Central London, I would not have believed that person. But we just did. We just stayed at the 5 star Shangri-la Hotel at The Shard. Someone pinch me.
Where do I start? How do I start reliving the once in a lifetime (hopefully not) experience of staying in one of the best 5-star hotels in the world? In the tallest building in Western Europe and the tallest in the United Kingdom? That is a tall order but I will try my best.
The Shangri-la Hotel in London is located at The Shard, a dominant structure in London’s skyline standing on its 72 floors of shimmering glory. At 1,016 feet tall, The Shard is taller than the Eiffel Tower. The Shangri-la Hotel comprises 19 floors starting from the 35th floor where the hotel lobby is located. The Shangri-la is one of the leading 5-star hotels in the world. It is globally recognised for its excellence in providing Asian hospitality with a string of awards to its name. This is why Shangri-la Hotel at The Shard is a match made in heaven, literally and figuratively.
It was during our Uber ride to the train station that I started to get excited. I mean, it is not every day that I get to rest my head on 600 thread count Frette linen 42 floors up, in the hotel often referred to as “hotel in the clouds.”
As we entered the revolving doors on street level, we were ushered to the 35th-floor lobby where check-in was a breeze. The views from this vantage point were already breathtaking. Familiar structures were creeping into view. The Walkie-talkie, the Gherkin and the Cheesegrater were just a few that I could spot from the spacious lobby. We were then taken up to our room on the 42nd floor.
The room as expected has sweeping views of London with its floor to ceiling windows. I could spot The London Eye, St. Paul’s Cathedral, The London Bridge and the Millenium Bridge straight away. My first impression was how serene and quiet it was in the room. I knew we were up there and away from traffic, but I could not hear a single sound, not even a whisper of a breeze.
For someone who is not fond of colour when it comes to interior design, the muted colours really appealed to me. The bed was very comfortable and the beddings so luxurious I did not want to get out of bed. Good thing the blinds were automatic so I never had to get up to adjust them. Attention to detail all throughout the hotel is impeccable.
There was a Nespresso machine with pods in the room which I was so happy about and tea making facilities. Complimentary water was provided in a bespoke Shangri-la water bottle and a box of luxury chocolates from the hotel’s patisserie Lang located on the ground floor. Most hotels only provide bathrobes but here, you do not only get a plush bathrobe but also a Kimono. But then The Shangri-la is not like most hotels. I have to keep reminding myself that during our stay.
The hotel has also provided binoculars in each room so the guests will find it easy to identify London’s landmarks. I have to admit this was a really fun thing to do and the binoculars came really handy.
Less than half an hour since arriving in our room, there was a knock on the door and in came another staff with an anniversary cake and a dog shaped biscuit for the little girl. Such lovely gesture.
Let me move on to the bathroom which is separated from the bedroom with a wooden sliding door. The only other hotel we have stayed in that has sliding doors between the bedroom and the bathroom is the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore. I like sliding doors in hotel rooms because it creates a seamless space making the room feel bigger.
The free standing bathtub is facing the same breathtaking views and so does the shower which is equipped with a rain shower head with floor to ceiling glass window as well. Sometimes I wonder if anyone can see me taking a shower from down below but at 42 floors up, I doubt it. All toiletries were from L’Occitane.
The marble clad bathroom is equipped with thousands of Pounds worth of Japanese technology. The integrated television in the mirror is insane. I turn it on every single time I was in the bathroom. The TOTO Washlet, I cannot even begin to describe the wonder of this technology. It has temperature control heated toilet seat, a rear and front water spray action that also oscillates if you prefer and has a power deodorizer, all at the touch of a remote controlled button. The views you get whilst sitting on the toilet is as breathtaking as anywhere in the hotel. This is arguably the best seat in the house.
When you think I have done raving about this hotel, wait until I talk about the Sky Pool. It is not the highest in the world but definitely the highest in Western Europe. I have been to the Marina Bay Sands, considered the highest Infinity Pool in the world at 57 floors above but what sets it apart for me is the quality of the water and the ambience. It was the most comfortably warm heated pool I have swum in. Some claim they have heated pools but you still feel a bit cold whilst in the water. The water in Marina Bay Sands Sky Pool was freezing. Shangri-la’s water temperature was perfect and the ambience was so serene with a Zen-like feel. I have to admit though that the view from the Marina Bay Sand’s Infinity Pool is more epic. I wrote about it here.
When it comes to attention to detail, the Shangri-la hotel really gets it. In the Sky Pool, complimentary bottles of Evian were dotted all over the place, a lemon infused water dispenser is on every corner and a well stocked Nespresso station is taking pride of place in another corner. God forbid, you get dehydrated whilst swimming in the temperature controlled pool. There were also magazines to read and wait for it, spare hair ties. In case you forget yours in your well appointed luxurious room.
It is so easy to get used to nice things, even if it is only for 24 hours. Only a few hours into our staycation at the Shangri-la London, we felt right at home straight away. We did not want to leave. So for 24 hours, we literally stayed in the room except when we went swimming up in the Sky Pool. We had room service for dinner and breakfast the next day.
I love the pre-order in room breakfast idea. You fill out an order form and leave it right outside your door before 2 am. It saves you the trouble of having to get up early the next day to order breakfast. At 7 am on the dot, our breakfast was being wheeled into our room ready for us to partake. The food was quite wonderful by the way and the Angus beef stir fry, well, you could say I will be dreaming of it for days to come.
Day or night, the views were magnificent. I’m sure I have not looked away from the view for more than a minute each time. That is not exaggerating.
As the sun started setting on the horizon, I looked down and watched London go about its business. From where I stand 42 floors up in luxurious surroundings, I felt like I was the luckiest girl in the world that moment in time albeit only for 24 hours.
31 St Thomas Street,
London, SE1 9QU,