Staying at Shangri-La The Shard in London: Is It Worth It?

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When The Shard first opened up in London in 2013, I wanted to visit it. And when the Shangri-La brand of luxury hotels opened a hotel inside The Shard in 2014, I knew I wanted to stay there.

Now, I'm by no means a luxury traveler. When I first started traveling, I was very much a budget traveler, staying in hostels, Airbnb rooms, and cheap hotels as much as possible. And even though my travel style has evolved as I've gotten older, I still would not consider myself a “luxury” traveler.

While I may be willing to spend more money on direct flights and nicer hotels for both comfort and convenience these days, never have I spent more than $1000 a night on a hotel room – until I stayed at Shangri-La The Shard.

Bed at Shangri-La The Shard hotel
Glass of champagne and bathtub with a view

What is The Shard?

The Shard is a modern skyscraper located at the southern end of London Bridge in the Southwark part of the South Bank. It's triangular in shape, with an intentionally jagged-looking top that looks like shards of glass. The 72-story skyscraper was designed by the Italian architect Renzo Piano, and is currently the tallest building in the UK.

The Shangri-La hotel is just one of many things calling The Shard home. The building also has office space, a few restaurants (Aqua Shard is great for a themed afternoon tea in London!), and an observation deck called View From the Shard.

The Shard is also close to the Borough Market, and within walking distance of other famous London sites like Tower Bridge and Shakespeare's Globe. So it really does make a good base in central London.

The Shard next to the River Thames
The Shard next to the Thames
The Shard in London, seen between buildings
The Shard up close

But is the hotel actually worth it?

My husband Elliot and I stayed at the Shangri-La The Shard for one night, and here's what I think.

Staying at Shangri-La The Shard

Rooms at the Shangri-La The Shard are not cheap. This is a 5-star luxury hotel located inside one of the most recognizable buildings in the London skyline, after all. But is it worth it for a splurge?

(And please note, I was NOT hosted during this stay – I paid full-price for my room! I decided to write about it for anyone else contemplating a special stay here.)

Room options at Shangri-La The Shard

The Shangri-La The Shard offers 202 guest rooms across 18 floors of The Shard building (starting on floor 34 and going up through floor 52). All of their rooms and suites have spectacular city views through floor-to-ceiling windows, and each room is slightly different due to the unique shape of The Shard.

View from Sahngri-La the Shard room
View from our room at Shangri-La The Shard, looking northwest towards St. Paul's

The types of rooms you can choose from include:

  • Superior Shard Room – The smallest rooms available (322-516 square feet), these rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows that offer up southerly views away from the Thames. (Avg $1050 per night)
  • Premier Shard Room – Slightly larger (505-623 square feet), these rooms also offer mostly southerly-facing views. (Avg $1175 per night)
  • Deluxe City View Room – What you trade off for in space (these rooms are 344-505 square feet), you make up for with northerly and easterly views of London, including some of the city's most iconic landmarks. These are also the rooms that start offering bathtubs in the bathrooms. (Avg $1200 per night)
  • Premier City View Room – These rooms are 505-623 square feet, and offer northerly views of London and its iconic landmarks through floor-to-ceiling windows. (Avg $1250 per night)
  • Iconic City View Room – These 462-645 square foot corner rooms offer 180-degree views through floor-to-ceiling windows of London's iconic sites like the Houses of Parliament and Tower Bridge. (Avg $1575 per night)
  • Premier Shard Suite – These suites cover 645-763 square feet, and offer a separate living room. These suites have southerly views away from the Thames. (Avg $1900 per night)
  • Iconic Shard Suite – These large suites (645-935 square feet) offer a separate sitting area, along with panoramic views of London’s most notable landmarks. (Avg $2400 per night)
  • There are more suites available, too, as well as interconnecting room options for families or groups traveling together. (See all their room options here.)

The room you want at Shangri-La The Shard

If you're going to splurge on a room at The Shard, you're going to want a room that overlooks the Thames and some of London's iconic landmarks. You best value for money is going to be either a Deluxe City View Room or Premier City View Room, or the Iconic City View Room (which is a corner, Thames-facing room).

These rooms offer up the very best views over central London, and the first two are usually under $1300 per night.

View of London Eye and Elizabeth Tower (Big Ben) from a Premier City View Room
We could see the London Eye and Elizabeth Tower (Big Ben) from our Premier City View Room

You probably want to avoid any rooms that mention a southerly-facing view, as it means you'll be looking away from the Thames and landmarks like St. Pauls, the Houses of Parliament, Tower Bridge, etc.

The Deluxe and Premier City View room types make up the bulk of the rooms at The Shard, so if you're hoping for a bubble bath moment with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking London landmarks, these are the rooms you want! (You can also call ahead and try to request a bathtub with a view at The Shard; these won't be guaranteed, but usually they do a good job trying to accommodate requests.)

Amanda in a bubble-filled bathtub at Shangri-La The Shard
Bubble bath in the sky!

Read reviews on TripAdvisor | Book a room here

Room features at Shangri-La The Shard

Some things you can expect to find in every room include:

  • The biggest, custom-made King-sized beds I've ever seen in a hotel
  • 300-threadcount Frette bed linens
  • Marble bathrooms with walk-in rain showers (and some rooms have separate bathtubs)
  • Heated bathroom floors
  • L'Occitane toiletries
  • Plush bathrobes and slippers
  • Pillow menu with hypoallergenic options
  • A pair of binoculars and skyline viewing guide
  • High-speed wifi and LED TVs
  • Nespresso coffee machine
  • Tea-making facilities with porcelain Chinese tea set

Our room also had a huge walk-in his & hers closet area, and lots of smart controls for things like the lights, black-out shades, and more.

Bed at Shangri-La The Shard
Seriously the biggest hotel bed I have ever seen
Champagne cheers in front of a window
We also had a bottle of Champagne and a dessert plate in our room

Check in/out process

You'll arrive at the ground floor of the Shard, where there's a large concierge-style desk. Once you say you're checking in to the Shangri-La, they'll direct you to the elevators, and you'll head up to the 34th floor and check in just like you would at any hotel.

Check-in is at 4 p.m., and check-out is at 11 a.m. Elliot and I arrived early off an international flight, and while our room wasn't ready yet, they did direct us up to the pool level and said we could freshen up (even take showers if we wanted to!), and then the concierge held our luggage until our room was ready, and then moved the luggage into our room for us.

Shangri-La service

The Shangri-La chain of hotels generally oozes luxury, and it's no different here in London. Nothing is too much to ask of the smartly-dressed staff.

For example, when we arrived and informed the reception staff that the airline had misplaced Elliot's bag, they offered to send things like a toothbrush up to our room, told him he could borrow/rent swim trunks if we wanted to use the pool, and even asked if they could make any calls to check on the status of the lost bag while we were out for the afternoon.

We also found a hand-written welcome note on the window in our bathroom when we got up to our room, and I had bubble bath delivered to our room within 5 minutes of calling down to ask for some.

Shangri-La The Shard welcome note written on a window
Welcome note in our bathroom

Other services available include things like:

  • 24-hour Concierge service
  • Butler service in the Suites
  • IT Butler (I have no clue what this is, but I like it)
  • Foreign exchange counter
  • House doctor on call
  • In-room spa services
  • Babysitting / child care available
  • Taxi / limo service

Shangri-La The Shard pool

Sky Pool at Shangri-La The Shard
Sky Pool at Shangri-La The Shard

Elliot and I don't often take advantage of things like spa services or fitness centers in hotels, but a unique feature at this London hotel is the Sky Pool, which is advertised as the “highest hotel pool in Western Europe.”

An infinity-style pool up on the 52nd floor of The Shard, the Sky Pool is definitely worth visiting. It offers up incredible views out over London as you swim, and has some nice seating areas, too. (It's also right next to the Sky Sauna, which has similarly amazing views.)

The Sky Pool, Sky Sauna (and hotel gym) are free for hotel guests, but you do have to pre-book a time to use the pool and sauna since both are fairly small. We booked an early morning time slot when we checked in, and had the Sky Pool all to ourselves the following morning!

Amanda in the Sky Pool at Shangri-La The Shard
Enjoying views at the Sky Pool

Dining at Shangri-La The Shard

Shangri-La The Shard has 1 restaurant and 3 different bars, and also offers 24-hour in-room dining.

The restaurant is called TING, and it's open for three meals a day on the 35th floor of The Shard. TING has an Asian-influenced menu, and also serves afternoon tea.

The bars available are Bar 31 (a casual spot on the ground floor of The Shard), the Sky Lounge (on the 34th floor), and GŎNG (a cocktail bar on the 52nd floor).

GONG is the highest hotel bar in Western Europe, and has a nice cocktail menu alongside light bites. But GONG is pretty pricey; for a standard seating, a minimum spend of £30 per person is required. They also offer a “Deluxe Window Experience” with guaranteed window seating, a bottle of champagne, and an Asian food platter for £125 per person. (And you want to book ahead here.)

Elliot and I actually didn't eat/drink at any of the Shangri-La-affiliated spots (but we did do a Peter Pan-themed afternoon tea at Aqua Shard on the 31st floor of The Shard).

Peter Pan afternoon tea at Aqua Shard
Peter Pan afternoon tea at Aqua Shard
(NOT part of the Shangri-La, but still in The Shard)

Is staying at Shangri-La The Shard in London worth it?

And now you want to know whether this stay at the Shard hotel was worth it. I get it; I wanted to know, too, but could only find blog posts written by people who had been gifted free stays!

And the answer of course is… it depends!

The Shangri-La The Shard is a true luxury hotel with rooms, amenities, and a level of service that live up to expectations. But $1200+ per night is not going to be “worth it” for everyone.

The Shard and Tower Bridge lit up at night, seen from the river
The Shard and Tower Bridge lit up at night

Staying at Shangri-La The Shard IS worth it if you're someone who usually stays at luxury properties anyway, or someone who is willing to splurge on a really memorable stay for a special occasion.

Elliot and I fell into the second category – we don't usually book hotels that are this expensive, but we were making up for lost (travel) time as we stayed here on our first international trip in 2.5 years after. Plus, the really special touches like the bubble bath with an unbeatable view and the Sky Pool made it worth it for us.

(We only stayed one night, though, and then used Chase points to pay for another hotel for the rest of our 5 days in London.)

Amanda in a bubble bath with Champagne
This bathtub view? Worth it.

A stay at Shangri-La The Shard would NOT be worth it if you don't really care about where you sleep on vacation, or if you don't think of a hotel as being a travel “experience” in and of itself.

If you don't want to stay here, that's fine! You could always still book at table at GONG, go to afternoon tea at Aqua Shard, or simply pay to go to the View from the Shard observation deck to get basically the same view for a lot less money.

View from the Shard view of Tower Bridge at dusk
View from the Shard view at dusk

And if you do want to splash out and treat yourself to a stay at Shangri-La The Shard? Then go for it!

Read reviews on TripAdvisor | Book a room here

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Would you want to stay at Shangri-La The Shard in London?

"It's a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and, if you don't keep your feet, there's no telling where you might get swept off to." - JRR Tolkien

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4 Comments on “Staying at Shangri-La The Shard in London: Is It Worth It?

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  1. I wanted to thank you for your review of Shangri-la at The Shard in London, England. I am not really a 5 star kind of traveler. In fact, the last time I was in London I stayed at the Hotel Russell on Russell Square. It was a true English hotel and I loved the architecture and beauty. However, after seeing the photos and reading your review, I definitely want to splurge and stay a couple of nights. Your review was most welcome, and I can’t wait to stay there. Thank you

    Thank you! That was exactly the information I was looking for. I also write reviews and I know it takes time and consideration.

    Love a good splurge once in a while, especially since a lot of us haven’t travelled in a while! I just used waaaay too many points on a free night at a hotel I always wanted to stay at [], with a runway view, and like you, was it worth it? For me, at this time, using points, YES! Would I do it again? Probably not.

      Using points for splurges is the best of both worlds, really! I’m glad you thought yours was worth it too.

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