Luxe Liv­ing

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.

MillionaireAsia India - - Contents - By Aarti Gupta Surendranath

– 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 condently gen­er­alise as it’s quite rare now to come across bad points about any ho­tel in this cat­e­gory. Al­most all can take on the ‘difcult-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 difcult 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. Monksh 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 magnicent! 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 magnicent! It stands out in its rich decor of sub­tle elegance that holds own, to com­pli­ment the breath­tak­ing view of the city

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