Located in the tallest building in Western Europe, the five-star Shangri-La The Shard, London has masses of wow factor. All of the capital’s best attractions, shopping and restaurants are at your feet, but the hotel’s own plush rooms, sky-high swimming pool and that endless London vista will mean you won’t want to go far, says Siobhan Grogan.
Hotel Review: Shangri-La The Shard, London
Few hotels can rival Shangri-La The Shard, London for sheer jaw-dropping kerb appeal. Even before going inside, I stopped to gaze in awe at the gleaming Renzo Piano-designed building that soars high above the London skyline. The Shangri-La The Shard itself spans levels 34 to 52 of the building, making it almost impossible to check in instead of gawping dumbfounded at the sweeping cityscape framed by the lobby’s soaring windows. Elaborate displays of fresh flowers and sleek grey marble are suitably chic, but really, it’s hard to look at anything except the ever-changing view.
Luckily, all 202 rooms have floor-to-ceiling glass to make the most of it, too – plus binoculars to snoop on the streets below. My corner room on the 49th floor looked out over the Tower of London, HMS Belfast and Tower Bridge, with boats slinking silently along the Thames, past Canary Wharf and beyond.
The Shard’s distinctive design means no two rooms are exactly the same, but all have strokable silk wallpaper, patented body contouring beds, neutral shades of sky blue and beige and considered touches including a Chinese tea set and leather-bound copy of James Hilton’s Lost Horizon by the bed.
Bathrooms are suitably swish too, with heated loo seats, plenty of black marble and – if you’re lucky – a freestanding bath in the window. All feature large refillable bottles of products from Jo Loves by Jo Malone as Shangri-La The Shard is the world’s first hotel to feature the luxe fragrance brand. The recyclable bottles were introduced in July 2023 and eliminate more than three tonnes of single use plastic per year. Each one is made entirely from upcycled OceanBound Material, which is plastic waste collected in high-risk areas within 200km of coastlines or waterways that often lead into oceans.
There are other small but significant sustainable tweaks, too – all paper in the room has been replaced by a tablet for digital browsing of menus and information, every restaurant table has a QR code to access menus rather than paper versions and water provided at turndown is filtered and bottled in reusable glass on site.
You can smugly tick off one of London’s best tourist attractions without even getting out of bed. I loved watching the city gradually light up after dark from my room, then catching the sunrise over the Thames from under my duvet the following morning. Even if you don’t want to leave the building, it’s worth heading to the 52nd floor for a dip (and obligatory photo) in the highest hotel pool in Western Europe, complete with complimentary poolside fruit and coffee. You’re even handed a towel the moment you emerge from the water. Don’t miss the glass-fronted sauna overlooking St. Paul’s Cathedral and the London Eye too.
Later, I tore myself away for a mooch around the food stalls at Borough Market just next door, grazing on tacos and frozen margheritas, empanadas and Indian street snack chana chaat for lunch, before a piled-high pud from the TikTok-adored Humble Crumble. Afterwards, I strolled down the cobblestoned Bermondsey Street lined with boutique shops, cafés and the Fashion and Textile Museum towards Bermondsey Beer Mile with its jumble of artisan breweries and tap rooms that open to the public on Saturday afternoon.
All-day dining is available in TING on the hotel’s 35th floor where an Asian-inspired menu and award-winning wine list is served with views in every direction, stretching to Kent, Surrey and Sussex on a clear day. The restaurant’s afternoon tea is one of the best and most popular in London, with themes changing constantly throughout the year. When I visited, it included a miniature milk Shard building for two to share, filled with Valrhona Dulcey and hazelnut praline.
Dinner is part of Shangri-La The Shard’s Rooted in Nature initiative which was launched in 2014. This focuses on sustainable food sources, organic fruit and vegetables and seasonal ingredients from small farmers and producers who follow low intervention agriculture. Dishes include steamed halibut with Scottish mussels in a ginger and coconut broth, Dingley Dell Pork with sake-infused plum and my choice of dry aged beef fillet with truffle mashed potato and seasonal greens. An entirely plant-based menu is also available with options including celeriac and truffle tart and heritage carrot roulade. If you have room afterwards, head up to the 52nd floor for cocktails at buzzing Gong, the highest hotel bar in Western Europe. After extensive research, I’d recommend the lip-smacking Fizzy Melon made of tequila, watermelon, strawberry, bubble gum syrup, lime and lemonade.
THE FINAL WORD
Have we mentioned the view? Sleeping, swimming and eating high over London is well worth checking in for alone. Throw in the hotel’s elegant décor, inventive Asian dining and unrivalled location, and there’s simply no other hotel in the capital that can dazzle like Shangri-La The Shard, London.
Rooms at Shangri-La The Shard start from £595 based on double occupancy. shangri-la.com