Business Traveller has taken a preview tour of the upcoming Shangri-La at the Shard, which opens in the iconic London building on May 6 (see news, February 6).
While the floors are still being fitted out, we were able to see two furnished guestrooms and visit the main reception and restaurant floor, and the 52nd-level bar and pool area, to see how they are taking shape.
The hotel occupies floors 34 to 52 of the 72-storey skyscraper, with the entrance, welcome reception and Lang patisserie and deli located on the building's elegant double-height ground floor.
Lang will serve cakes, salads and sandwiches all day and drinks in the evening, and has a separate entrance and a small outdoor terrace.
After being greeted, guests will be whisked up via two high-speed lifts to the main reception on the 35th floor, also home to the Ting lounge — open all day and serving an Asian menu and afternoon tea — and restaurant, which has a show kitchen and will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, offering modern European dishes with Asian influences. Full English breakfast will cost £32, and a two-course lunch will start from £27.
As on all levels of the hotel, floor-to-ceiling windows afford spectacular 360-degree views of London, spanning the Thames, all the capital's landmarks and beyond.
A grand staircase leads down from here to the function space on level 34. This comprises a foyer, two meeting rooms for ten and 20 delegates, and a ballroom with space for 110 guests seated.
On the 52nd floor, and due to open on July 1, is Champagne and cocktail bar Gong and an adjoining infinity pool. This has been designed by Andre Fu, the Hong Kong-based designer behind the Fullerton Bay hotel in Singapore and the Upper House in Hong Kong.
Fu told Business Traveller last year that the bar would have "a slight sense of theatre" and that the pool would "become an integral part of the bar at night" (see news, July 2013).
Cocktails and Champagne by the glass will start from £16. Private hire will be available, with the Champagne section holding about 40 people, the cocktail area 50, and about 20 to 25 more poolside. Reservations for Gong and Ting are highly recommended.
Above: Champagne and cocktail bar Gong is on the 52nd floor and will open in July
There is also a gym with Technogym equipment on this level, which, like the 11-metre by eight-metre infinity pool — the highest hotel pool in Western Europe — affords superb views of the capital. While there is no spa, there will be two rooms set up for treatments, with in-room service also available.
The 202 guestrooms are set across floors 36 to 50 and come in Superior, Deluxe, Premier, Grand Premier and suite categories. They range from 30 sqm to 188 sqm, and about 90 per cent will have Thames views. Rooms will differ in size and shape, with the nature of the building meaning they get smaller as one goes higher.
They are stylishly furnished with a colour palette of aqua, rust and silver, and wood and marble finishes. In the Deluxe room we saw, the King bed and workdesk were positioned to look straight out at the views.
Facilities that will come as standard include free wifi, Samsung flatscreen TVs, Nespresso machines and iPod docks. There are bedside switches for the lights and blackout blinds.
The marble bathrooms all have tubs and rainshowers — some separate, some integrated — along with TVs imbedded into the mirrors, heated floors and Acqua di Parma toiletries. More than a third will have windows.
Some 59 of the rooms will open on May 6, with the remainder — bar the three signature suites, situated on the 37th to 39th floors and due to open on September 1 — set to follow on July 1.
Booking for stays, events and dining opens on March 17. Room rates start from £450.