Shangri-La London Review: Every Bit as Good as You’d Expect
My first experience at a Shangri-La hotel was, well, a little over the top.
We went to the Shangri-La Villingili for our honeymoon in the Maldives.
It was hands down the bougiest (is that a word?) week of my life, and I felt much cooler than I really am while staying at the resort.
I first heard about the Shard while doing yoga in the Maldives with a guest instructor who owned Yogasphere. She mentioned that she teaches “Yoga at the Shard” and said it as though I should know what that meant.
Upon further inquiries, she explained she teaches yoga at the top of the tallest building in London.
Ok, I’m intrigued.
Ever since that trip, I’d been wanting to stay at another Shangri-La to see if it lives up to the extraordinarily lofty expectations I’d set for the experience.
We had a close friend who was getting married in Dublin on New Years Eve, and since I’d never visited London before and we had a lot of cocktail bars to visit there, it seemed like the perfect time to make the trip.
So we planned for three nights, and after making my map of all the bars I wanted to hit in the City, I was reminded of the Shard.
Shangri-La at the Shard: London’s Highest Hotel
The tower, which opened in early 2013 is the tallest building in the UK, and the fifth tallest in Europe – and on the top floors it houses the Shangri-La.
It seemed like the perfect time to attempt another stay at the famous Asian hotel chain.
Unfortunately for my wallet, as you might expect (and as is usually the case with Shangri-La hotels), rooms weren’t exactly cheap – hovering around $500 for the cheapest of rooms. Which now in 2022 is the case at most 5 star hotels.
Ok, instead of three nights, we’ll splurge on one and make the most of it 🙂
It worked out great, as the Shard was within walking distance of many of the places we’d planned to visit – specifically the Tate Modern, Borough Market, and the former #1 bar in the world, Dandelyan (now Lyaness).
There are all kinds of 5-star hotels in London, that most people probably have never heard of. But when people asked and told them you were staying at the Shard, they all got that same half surprised, half eye-roll expression that basically just said: oh you fancy.
First Impressions of the Shangri-La London
When we arrived and walked into the lobby, the first thing you notice are the absolutely ridiculous views of London. I mean seriously. It’s worth just going up there to ogle over the city from that unique vantage point.
The second thing you notice is the unmistakable smell of luxury.
No seriously, have you ever noticed when you go to many luxury properties they all have their own smell. Well, in the half dozen or so Shangri-La Hotels I’ve now been to, they all have the same smell, and it basically just smells like money – and is a nice reminder that I probably don’t belong there.
And another reminder, that I should buy one of their candles.
The Shard is overwhelmingly modern, in stark contrast to a luxury hotel like the Peninsula in New York, which is a totally different classic type of luxury.
We stayed in a Deluxe City View room, and it 100% lived up to expectations.
Having been built within the last decade, the room was extremely modern and had all of the amenities you’d expect at such a nice property.
And being that it’s an Asian brand, the Japanese toilet was a nice surprise 🙂
But for as good as the view was from the main room, the bathroom is where things were taken to the next level.
Because now instead of just the flat-out view of London, you also got the corner view looking out in a different direction – giving you a ridiculous panoramic vantage point of the city.
And, your neighbor’s toilet…
Yeah, you heard me correctly.
This is really the only complaint I have about the hotel, and it was kind of funny, until you realized just how creepy you’re being staring into your neighbor’s rooms…
You see, because of the unique shape of the tower, there is a glass partition that juts out from one side of the building, and in doing that, the reflection of the glass allows you to see into the bathrooms of the rooms directly above and below you.
And not just a little view, I mean, you can get a pretty full-on view of your new neighbors.
So that part of the experience was a little odd, but if you take the approach of “well if they really want to see…” you forget about it pretty quickly.
And if you don’t like that approach? Just dim the lights.
Despite only being there one night, there was no way I was going to miss out on their infinity swimming pool. Located on the 52nd floor, the pool has just as good of views of the city as every other spot in the hotel – and it ranks up there with the Park Hyatt Tokyo and Andaz Tokyo as being one of the coolest hotel pools I’ve seen.
Should You Stay at the Shangri-La at the Shard in London?
In the end, our time at the Shard ended far too quickly, but it was well worth the hefty price for such a memorable experience. It’s so good in fact, that we’re considering splurging and staying again on our upcoming trip to London – but with so many other great choices, we’ll see where we end up.
Even if you don’t stay, I’d highly recommend visiting their restaurant Ting for high tea. That in and of itself is also spendy at 69 pounds per person, but between the views and the quality of the experience – it’s worth it.
Have you ever stayed at the London Shangri-La? What was your experience like?
What else should you do in London? Cocktail bars of course. Here are our favorite London bars.
And we’re still working on getting back to London for golf, so will make sure to update when we do!