A photographer’s stay at London’s Shangri-La Hotel in The Shard

Ambience in abundance…

The Shangri La Hotel at the Shard in London is the most ambient hotel I have ever been lucky enough to stay at and as a keen lifestyle photographer it was just a dream. It is situated high up enough to look out of all of London butt naked without being seen! Alas, I thought this was the case until I realised to some poor mans horror it was window cleaning day. The Shard is after all made of glass, and it doesn’t clean itself. What a job that must be, one for the horror of being so high up London’s current tallest building attached only to a piece of wire. The other mare being, surprising people in the nuddy when least they’re expecting company!

Lost in Lost in Translation!

If you’ve ever seen the movie Lost in Translation and enjoyed its ambience, you will feel most reminiscent here. There was awkward Bill Murray technology failings like trying to figure out how to close the shutters on the giant glass panes. Or trying to get the room temperature just right, for obviously you cannot simply open a window to cool down. There’s heated seats on the toilet and that’s an ‘ooof!’ moment if you’re expecting the usual cool greeting to your derrière.
The hotel bar also takes you back into the film, though it’s missing the jazz singer hooting away and Bill having a jet-lagged relaxing Suntory time.

Breakfast was a banger…

I adore the cooked English breakfast as room service, and watching the sun come up (easier to do in the winter months if you aren’t an early riser!), no morning TV needed with such views. Once my fill had been had with breakfast and a pot of good coffee, it was time to hit the pool.

There was a swimming pool!

At the pool they provide even more coffee up there so if you’re still needy of more energy then it’s most pleasurable to sit in your robe and hit the sun loungers, you can pretend you’re on holiday as it sure doesn’t feel like you are in the UK! I advise taking a good book with you and making the most of this. The pool is lukewarm and is a refreshing swim.

What to do for lunch?

For lunch I recommend hitting the world famous food market, Borough Market. Which is a 10 minute walk away from the Shangri-La entrance. You can really take your pic and there’s a huge selection so even the most indecisive hunter gatherer will find something.
Once home in the room, run yourself a bath, have a chilled bottle of bubbles ready so you can sit soaking away the days ‘dreadful stresses’ whilst watching the sun go down over the city. And now, time to spruce up for your evening in the best lit bathroom ever!

And then dinner?

For dinner, it has to be Hutong which is inside the Shard too. The views of the city at night are hypnotising, and if you ever sit on a table near me and try to take a photo with flash on, I will not be able to resist to come and tell you off!!! (Happens every time I dine there!). If you have your camera flash on, you won’t see the views behind the person in the photo. Agh, there I said it, and sure I will again. You have been warned, the photo police is out there!

Back to the drink and food, Lychee Martinis aren’t on the menu but my God you must order one and try, they’re delicious! The dimsum there is very special too. Book in advance as this can be very busy.
Before heading to bed, you might want one more nightcap to see if Bill is at the bar, unfortunately so far this hasn’t happened for me (yet!). If one hotel can make me feel like I’m in the movie, I probably need to get Japan finally ticked off my bucket list.

Fandom fairwell…

I hope you find my semi-fandom guide of this wonderful experience helpful. I would love to know if you have been and have any similar thoughts!


Stephanie is a documentary wedding photographer covering all parts of the UK. Authentic, alternative, narrative.


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