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Shangri-La The Shard Puts a Fresh Perspective on London

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Rooms with a view aren’t the only reason to check into this iconic Renzo Piano-designed building

Soaking in a grapefruit, lime and cedarwood-scented bath 50 storeys above the River Thames is just one of the perks of staying at the Shangri-La Hotel at The Shard. Soaking up the floor-to-ceiling views of London’s mesmerizing skyline is surely another. Designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano, in collaboration with Toronto’s Adamson Associates, and completed in 2012, The Shard is a relative newcomer to Old Blighty, yet already a design icon for good reason.

The Shard London

There is the sheer stature of it: at 306.6 metres high, The Shard is currently the tallest building in London and Western Europe. There is the aesthetic appeal of more than 11,000 glass panels manoeuvred to form a pyramidal sculpture of eight slanted facades that resemble shards of glass tapering into the clouds. And then there is the forward-thinking design behind it all.

Travel + Design

Photography by Philip Reed.

The 95-storey structure reflects former London mayor Ken Livingstone’s passion for high-density development within urban centres and its mixed-use purpose speaks to this. The Shard houses residential, office and retail spaces: The Shangri-La Hotel spans floors 34 to 52, with residences and a 72nd-floor observation deck above and offices (all with naturally ventilated winter gardens), shops and restaurants below. The Shard’s position, steps from London Bridge Underground Station, encourages the use of public transport over cars and its use of natural gas from the National Grid allows it to run a combined heat and power plant (CHP) which efficiently converts gas to electricity then uses heat recovered from the engine to generate all of the building’s hot water.

The Shard London

This sustainable urban vision and the panoramic views make The Shard a popular day-trip destination, while The Shangri-La Hotel’s distinct sense of style makes it almost impossible not to stay the night. Each of the cushy 202 rooms has floor-to-ceiling windows so there isn’t a bad view in the place (complimentary in-room binoculars are a nod to this) and should you tire of your soaker tub vista, head up to the 52nd floor to experience London’s highest infinity pool. If it’s a clear day, you might even spy some Kentish countryside.

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