The 202-room Shangri-La Hotel, At The Shard (31 St. Thomas St.; 44-20/7234- 8000; doubles from US$760) has finally opened in central London. Two years overdue and costing an estimated US$150 million, the city’s first high-rise hotel (and Western Europe’s tallest) occupies 18 floors of the 306-meter-high Shard skyscraper, from the 34th to the 52nd stories. The interiors, by Hong Kong–based designer Steve Leung, cleave close to the Shangri-La’s template of light chinoiserie by way of sumptuous silk throws, thick carpets, honey- toned wood, and pastel tints, with rooms kitted out with Acqua di Parma toiletries and binoculars. The latter is a particularly nice touch because this high up, the views of the city through the floor-to-ceiling windows are jaw-dropping, with the best panoramas taking in major London landmarks as well as the curvaceous bends of the River Thames. The hotel is opening in stages, the most anticipated being the summer unveiling of the Andre Fu–designed 52nd-story infinity pool, gym, and champagne bar. –Daven Wu
This article originally appeared in the June/July 2014 print issue of DestinAsian magazine (“South Bank Stunner”).