Swim and catch a glimpse of the stunning view
LONDON: A quest for perfection and blissful contentment winds it’s way into the heart of Asia to an idyllic hideaway tucked away in a remote mountain range. Inside this earthly paradise one finds sanctuary and fulfilment, a feeling of total happiness… and this is the story of the Shangri-La.
This imaginary land described by James Hilton in his novel the Lost Horizon provides the ethos for the Shangri-La chain of hotels. In the novel Shangri-La is a place famed for its hospitality to strangers, a place where Eastern traditions meet Western comforts, and these are the principles that the Shangri-La chain upholds.
In 2014 the Shangri-La opened its very first branch in the UK in London’s financial district. The hotel is London’s first elevated hotel with the lobby being on the 35 floor. As much as I loved the hotel for its stunning views and modern design features, what I loved the most was the concept behind the Shangri-La as I am forever on a personal quest for tranquillity.
The Shangri-La London is located in the famous Shard building in London City right next to London Bridge tube station. We flew into London City airport, which was a handy 25 minutes on public transport from the hotel. The location is perfect for business travellers who need to be in the city but it also works for leisure tourists with Bond Street being only 10 minutes away by tube.
We stayed in an ‘iconic city view room’ which overlooked the London skyline. The room was just incredible, you simply can’t beat it in terms of the “wow” factor. The floor to ceiling windows gave a stunning view over the Thames and Tower Bridge. The attention to detail in the room was impressive with so many small-added extras such as a pair of binoculars and a viewing map for you to use.
My favorite aspect of my stay by far was the bathtub! It was incredible, I felt like a movie star sitting in my tub watching the twinkling lights of London. The TV built into the mirror was also a nice touch as was the crazy modern Japanese Toto toilet, which pre-warms the toilet seat for you!
The Shangri-La’s main restaurant is called Ting and is on the 35th floor. It serves a mix of Asian fusion food with a focus on Chinese and Japanese flavors. The food was delicious and I thought it would be the perfect spot for a celebration as it offers terrific views over London, which makes it rather special. The Shangri-La is also well known for its Gong Bar on the 53rd floor, the bar has a panoramic view over London and markets itself to an upmarket crowd. The bar operates on a first come first served basis so its best to get there early if you want a window table.
The Shangri-La London is home to Europe’s highest pool! The sky pool, which is 53 floors up flows into full-length windows allowing swimmers to catch a glimpse of the stunning view as they are splashing around. The gym is also on the 53rd floor – basically whether you are eating or running this hotel is all about the view! I didn’t manage to check out the spa but if you are into that (who isn’t?) then they do offer a range of treatments.