John O'Ceallaigh, The Daily Telegraph, February 6, 2014
It has been one of the most anticipated hotel openings in London and now, after numerous delays and false starts, the opening date of Shangri-La’s hotel in the Shard has finally been confirmed.
Set to welcome its first guests on May 6, 2014, Shangri-La London (the property has been lumbered with the cumbersome official title of Shangri-La Hotel, at the Shard, London) will occupy levels 34 to 52 of the Renzo Piano-designed skyscraper. Within Western Europe’s tallest building, it will also be Western Europe’s tallest hotel and designers have made a virtue of this unique feature. Each of the hotel’s 202 guestrooms and suites, placed from levels 36 to 50, will feature floor-to-ceiling windows offering what are set to be the best views possible of the city.
The Shard’s angled form also means that each of the hotel’s rooms is unique and all will feature individual layouts and design elements. Rooms sizes range from 323-2024sq ft (30-188sq metres) and are among the largest in London. Standard across all rooms are marble-clad bathrooms with heated floors, Acqua di Parma amenities and mirrors with integrated television screens. Deluxe, Premier and Grand Premier guestrooms and suites should be among the most requested, with all offering northerly views towards the City of London and various central London landmarks. Superior guestrooms and suites offer views of largely suburban South London and onwards towards Kent, Surrey and Sussex. The hotel will also feature three signature suites, opening in September; on level 39, the Shangri-La suite will offering 180-degree views of London, stretching from the Houses of Parliament to Canary Wharf.
Perhaps of most interest to Londoners, the hotel’s food and beverage options will include Gong, set to be London’s highest bar when it opens on level 52 of the Shard. Its name is derived from dougong, said by the hotel to be “an ancient Chinese structural element of interlocking wooden brackets that will be a component of the bar’s interior”. On level 35, the signature restaurant is Ting – its name is derived from the Chinese word for a living room – while a ground-floor deli called Láng will serve departing or incoming guests and passing commuters.
As part of the Shangri-La’s staggered opening, Gong will be fully operational from July 1. Its interior has been conceived by Hong Kong interior designer André Fu, who was behind the design of the Berkeley’s recently opened Opus Suite, and will feature “cinnabar red lacquer panels... and a wall of Chinese cabinets made of galvanised steel. And quite a bit of purple.”
Level 52 will also house the hotel’s 24-hour gym and an infinity pool which, predictably, is also the highest in London. Although renderings and precise details have yet to be released, Fu has said that “at night, the pool will be part of the bar. It’s high-tech, modern and pretty dramatic – which is what you need if it’s going to become a destination experience.”
Rates at the hotel will start from £450 per night, with bookings for rooms, events, restaurant and lounge access opening from March 17.