The stunning Shangri-La on the Shard in London is a shining example of state-of-the-art technology and breath taking vistas of nature working in immaculate harmony.
– The Shangri-La on the Shard in London is stunning to say the least.
Today’s travellers have high demands from hospitality. The expectation is that as soon as they’re in the hotel they’ve chosen and booked painstakingly, all travel woes exhaustion are to disappear as you seek the comfort zone of your own home. For this mis-guided ‘dream’ to come true is tough! But the world of hospitality has taken up the challenge of increasing demands of guests, by rising to quite another level as an industry. I can condently generalise as it’s quite rare now to come across bad points about any hotel in this category. Almost all can take on the ‘difcult-to- please’ guest.
As we approach The Shangri-La on the Shard in London, my mind wanders to James Hilton’s Lost Horizon, the novel that created and embedded in one’s mind thoughts and visuals of the mysterious tranquil magical utopian haven in the mountains that cast a spell on its residents where no one fell sick or grew old; where no one who went ever wanted to leave.
Nestled in a glass- clad spire- like sculptured building, the hotel occupies oors 34 to 52 of a pyramidal tower with the much talked about The Shard staking its claim as the tallest building in the UK. Designed by the Italian architect Renzo Piano’s spire-like’ sculpture’ who, it is said, was inspired by the railway lines next to the site, The Shard has turned out as a piece of art. I look above at the beautiful sight of the wonderful structure from down below.
We’re taken off the ground and whisked above in the smoothest elevator ride possible, escorted by the hotel’s gracious staff who help us check in on the 34th oor. I watched in awe through the oor to ceiling glass ‘walls’ and the view just took my breath away. From here on, everything turns a bit surreal. Before you realise you’re watching London from that far above;
a sight only seen from a ight or the London Eye; all the famed monumental structures of London normally seen on map seemed to rise and came alive in a 3D visual. The River Thames majestically owing through the city shimmers like a beautiful ribbon and if you allow yourself to drift, it’ll take your mind wandering to ow along with it to all that you can observe on its banks - the city’s monuments and places seeped in London’s powerful history. It’s quite overwhelming in the beginning, until [when] you can get used to; it then gets awesome and remains that way for as many times as you see it. It can get difcult to look away to continue a conversation or do a basic check-in. This reaction seems all too familiar to the hotel’s staff as they offer to complete the formalities and leave you to feast your eyes.
Speaking of feasting, ‘Ti-ng’ Lounge when translated into English means ‘Living Room’ and this one, with its elegant and contemporary setting with a mix of Chinoiserie design, more than lives up to its meaning as we settle in a cosy sofa by the window. I glanced at the menu to order my ‘Tea at Ting’ which I thought would be a simple cuppa. But much to my delight, some genius team has curated a classically English and Asian-inspired Shangri-La tea. Of course I’ve left the thought of tea being ‘simple’ quite far behind for there’s a ‘Red Ceramic
Tea Box’ service and all kinds of avours of tea. One can also indulge in a great selection wine and champagne if one wishes for some.
It must be mentioned that the food and wine pairings at The Shangri-La are to be sampled to be believed. Monksh prepared with fennel, pear in green tea, jasmine and coriander was served with a 2015 Chardonnay Arthur from the Willamette Valley Oregon. Although full-bodied, silky and smooth, its well balanced oaky avours complemented didn’t overpower the delicate ingredients of the dish. Since one has become a vegetarian by choice, dining options at most places have become somewhat limited. The Shangri-La was a wonderful exception. The vegetarian plate Jerusalem Artichoke with leek, hazelnut, quinoa was exquisitely complimented the Organic Chenin Blanc 2013 from Loire Valley in France.
Of course I shamelessly admit that I tried most of the wonderful array of ‘temptations’ which tasted as exquisite as they were described!
Our room on the 46th oor is just magnicent! It stands out in its rich decor of subtle elegance that holds its own, to compliment the breathtaking view of the city. With rich hues of pale silk tastefully done up, the spacious room has you feeling quite like living up in sky. All well thought out amenities are carefully placed. The binoculars to further enable you to see ‘London’ through the most enviable spot are a great touch. Have View, Must see!
To see Big Ben, Parliament, the London Eye, Jubilee line at the London Bridge at such close proximity, I realise again that hotel is in an enviable location. The sun lazily moves towards its late summer descent while I soak in the rare moments of serenity and tranquillity.
Waking up to a cloudy morning the next day, I head for breakfast, my favourite meal of the day and after experiencing the chef’s range of food already, I’m not really surprised by the spread. There’s the buffet laid out stylishly and some speciality eggs you can order. The fresh Juice machine lets you see the orange or quality of any fruit it’s juicing. The nely brewed Mussetti coffee exclusively sourced from Luigi Musetti’s family-run enterprise is worth every sip.
Checking out and leaving, the Shangri-la on the Shard makes me think that it’s odd that a glass-clad steel building in a metropolis could be so close to nature. More than anything, this is what I’m taking along with me. I salute this train of thought which binds together the philosophy of putting together the best forms of luxury with nature. I’m so glad to have spent such precious time taking in as much possible from what they’ve got to offer during my short stay.
Our room on the 46th oor is just magnicent! It stands out in its rich decor of subtle elegance that holds own, to compliment the breathtaking view of the city