Last time the gal stayed at Europe’s tallest hotel, Shangri-La Hotel At The Shard, London, it was open but some areas were not finished. Now the luxury hotel is fully complete. It soars up to the 52nd floor of the 66-floor building, designed by Renzo Piano – see a panorama video, below. From room 3801, the London Suite, I had an amazing view, as above. You love its space, and airy feel, the all-wall windows, the little touches. Some interior walls are even embroidered. Details are everywhere, and calling this the London Suite does remind you where you are.
Shangri-La always creates ambience, with a special aroma that is apparent as soon as you enter any of its hotels. This is a group that knows that its guests want to know the time (why is it not industry standard to have clocks, not only bedside but in bathrooms too?). It knows people want to read, and my hardbacks here, in the suite, include a mammoth Art Book tome, which is exactly what its name says. I also really like the book Shangri-La London, edited by Sarah Miller: it is one of the few hotel-vanity books that does more than say what an excellent job has been done. Here I learn how André Fu thought about his design for the 52nd floor indoor pool that is actually part of the Gong Bar up there.
I am with Darren Gearing, who in precisely one month gives up running this lovely hotel, and overseeing siblings in most of the rest of the world, to go and do his own gastropub thing. We dine in Ting, down on the 35th floor, and it is full – well, who would not relish coming here, to look down not only on the Thames but Tower Bridge and the Tower of London? Come here also for superb food. I loved my smoked eel starter, and then I went on to an Aubrey Allen ribeye. Darren Gearing says that being so close to Borough Market is great for food-minded guests, and many Brits come here for weekend staycations, including going food-marketing.
At least this luxury hotel is not as high as some in China that occasionally get covered in cloud to give a complete whiteout if you happen to be there at that time. Even though it was raining slightly, in the morning, as I relished the Alain Milliat French jams and the Netherend English-cult butter that is giving our French friends Beurre Echiré and Beurre d’Isigny a run for their money, I still had those riveting views. Amazingly, despite the fact he has an hour’s train commute in from his home, Darren Gearing was there to say goodbye, and we posed behind front desk – a marble sculpture in its own right – to pretend we were actually doing some work.
NOW SEE THE PANORAMA VIDEO, BELOW