Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

‘My Favourite Hotel’ review – a £10,000 suite at the Shangri-La Hotel, The Shard, London

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

Today, our ‘My Favourite Hotel’ review is from a unique spot in London.

Due to a continued strong response from readers, we are running another batch of ‘My Favourite Hotel’ reviews over the next few weeks. This time we wanted to hear about your ‘unique’ experiences and we’ve once again received a great amount of suggestions. Hopefully you will enjoy reading these reviews. As always you can find all of the ‘My Favourite Hotel’ reviews by clicking here

Review Suite Shangri-La Hotel London The Shard

Today’s hotel is the Shangri-La Hotel at The Shard in London – more specifically its £10,000 Shangri-La Suite that reader Andrew happened to stay in due to a very generous upgrade!  Here is his review:

Overview

My family and I had previously enjoyed a couple of pleasant stays, in a couple of different types of room, at the Shangri-La at The Shard. These were enhanced by having Jade status in the Shangri-La Golden Circle scheme, which got us free breakfast, that we obtained through having an American Express Platinum card. More significantly, we had experienced excellent service from a number of members of staff.

Personally, I like the architecture of the building from the outside and I’m quite fond of the interior design, as well as the views from the higher floors. I’d heard that initially some of the apartments in the building didn’t sell too well because those that could afford it didn’t want to live ‘south of the river’. That said, I’ve personally always found it fairly easy to get to this hotel and the South Bank is great for walks.            

With one of those ‘round birthdays’ to celebrate, we thought we’d treat ourselves to a couple of nights and, on this occasion, book a suite using a well-priced pre-paid rate. We had also amassed a modest quantity of Golden Circle points from a summer holiday stay at another Shangri-La hotel that we planned to use towards dining credit, including celebratory birthday steaks and wine.

Check-in disaster

It didn’t go as planned. On check-in day itself, following a number of different situations which I don’t intend to go into in this ‘service-recovery’ review, we found ourselves in the lobby lounge discussing various aspects of our stay with hotel management. After checking that we were dining in the hotel that evening, they promised to give us an update later.

Dining and beverage

From breakfasts that include cooked items and pancakes to evening meals with steaks or Asian dishes such as chicken rice, we’ve always found the food in The Shard reliable and tasty, and the view is pretty good, too. They also have a reasonably-priced children’s menu so your kids can dine with you and you don’t feel like you’re being gouged for their plates.

Of course, there are plenty of other places in London where you can eat, but sometimes you don’t want to or can’t leave the hotel in the evening and it’s good to have that option.   

The upgrade

At dinner, the member of staff returned and, crouching down at our table, commented that while there was nothing they could do for us this evening because the hotel was full, there was something that they could do tomorrow evening, with the news that we were being upgraded to their very best suite, the Shangri-La Suite, on the 39th floor.

Like many a good Head for Points reader, I was well aware that this wasn’t marketing flimflam (having tried to identify upgrade opportunities when booking) and that the rack rate for this particular suite was £10,000 per night!

During our meal, I made the mistake of nipping to the washroom while the wine was delivered to our table and it wasn’t until later that I noticed that we’ve been brought a cheaper bottle of wine rather than the one I had requested. However, the glass was definitely half full, as this meant that I had some points left to spend and so ordered, on special offer, a glass of Château d’Yquem with my desert.

In contrast to the regular bottle, which had simply been placed at the table, the special desert wine was delivered by the sommelier using their “by the glass” device which uses inert gas and two needles to dispense a small amount of wine from the corked bottle.

Official photo of The Shangri-La Suite

Moving into the Shangri-La Suite         

The next day, after we’d enjoyed a Sunday roast at Hawksmoor, the manager with whom we’d been dealing helped us move into our new suite and gave us a tour of all of the facilities, adding that we had access to the butler that was normally included should we need it.

According to the hotel website, the suite has:

  • 188 – 232 sqm / 2,021 – 2,494 sqf of unparalleled luxury
  • Sublime skyline views along the River Thames from Canary Wharf to the London Eye
  • Spacious living room with custom-made furniture, a private study and guest washroom
  • Separate dining area with crystal glassware that can accomodate up to 10 guests and a fully-equipped kitchenette
  • Luxurious en-suite bedroom with a custom super king-size Shangri-La Bed, walk-in closet, dressing area, two-seater sofa and chaise lounge
  • Extra-large marble-clad bathroom with walk-in rain shower, hot whirlpool bath, premium Washlet toilet, mirror-embedded television and heated floors
  • Private access via a separate lift
  • Bedside controls for lighting, the sun shielding panel and black-out curtains
  • Private 1-way airport transfer from a London Airport of your choice
  • A personal butler to ensure an exceptional stay
Review Suite Shangri-La Hotel London The Shard

One of my children decided that they would set up their bed in the living room while the other one would make camp in the office. Admittedly, this was only after we’d said that they couldn’t sleep in the walk-in closet/wardrobe room which would’ve been more than big enough!

Review Suite Shangri-La Hotel London The Shard

Of course, you can all find that plenty of information about this suite for yourselves on the hotel website, but what was it really like to live in it?

Well, it was certainly more than your traditional suite. You could certainly have lived and worked in it very comfortably indeed! With a fully-stocked fridge freezer in the kitchen, you wouldn’t need to leave the place for days.

Review Suite Shangri-La Hotel London The Shard

The master bedroom has a superb view looking across the river towards St Paul’s.

Review Suite Shangri-La Hotel London The Shard

Perhaps to accommodate the privacy of its usual occupant, and unlike a number of other rooms in the property, the bathroom was interior to the accommodation and so there was to be no gazing out at the London Eye while soaking in the tub.

This suite also features Aqua di Parma toiletries instead of the usual L’Occitane products. So, when housekeeping called, I asked if they could leave a set of both. We did, however, stay well away from the ‘minibar’ in the kitchen which included a £400 bottle of red and a £600 bottle of champagne.

Review Suite Shangri-La Hotel London The Shard

Things continued to improve when we decided to have a light supper in the hotel that evening and the staff immediately checked if we wanted the same aperitif as we’d had the night before.

Later that evening, while still wondering exactly what one would use the butler for (and whether there’d  be any charges for doing so), there was a knock at the door and there he was with a silver tray bearing two rocks glasses and a premixed bottle of negroni, our ‘usual’ aperitif!

Review Suite Shangri-La Hotel London The Shard

So, what did we use the butler for? Well, we had to call him back a few minutes later and ask him to bring us some ice! Garnishes were prepared from our extensive fruit bowl with one of the knives from the well-equipped kitchen.

One of the things that I like about The Shard, even though I’ve only ever stayed there with my family, is that in the morning and the evening they have child-free times in the residents-only swimming pool up on the 52nd floor.

(If you want to enjoy the same view, without staying at the hotel, you’ll need to head up to the cocktail bar on the same floor for a drink.)

While the family enjoyed a lie-in, I headed to one of my travel-related happy places for an early morning paddle, coffee and newspaper, and to watch the sunrise light up the landmarks of London.

Review Suite Shangri-La Hotel London The Shard

After a family breakfast, we enjoyed one final swim before taking an Uber (Lux, which turned out to be a Bentley Mulsanne, funded using the HfP-guided Clubcard to Uber conversion) to Luca for lunch.

Conclusion

I recognise that we were incredibly fortunate to be upgraded to such a suite, but it certainly highlights that if you do have issues while staying in a hotel such as this it is worth raising them at the time to give the hotel the opportunity to put things right. That said, I doubt I’ll ever encounter such a staggeringly good upgrade again, but there’s always hope!

You can find out more about the Shangri-La Suite here.


Earn Hilton Honors points from UK credit cards

How to get Shangri-La Golden Circle Jade status from American Express (January 2021)

Do you know that holders of The Platinum Card from American Express receive FREE Shangri-La Golden Circle Jade status for as long as they hold the card?  It also comes with Marriott Bonvoy Gold, Hilton Honors Gold, Radisson Rewards Gold and MeliaRewards Gold status. 

We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here and you can apply here.

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

(Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

Comments (33)

  • Josh says:

    Fabulous review. Thoroughly enjoyed reading and really happy you experienced this, Andrew. Once in a lifetime stuff 😁

    • Jamie Oliver says:

      Really? I vommed a little reading about his glass of wine.

      • Tom says:

        Reads to me as someone who likes their wine, what’s the problem?

        • JohnG says:

          Jamie obviously has trouble keeping their food down if the inert gas isn’t produced by themselves…

          I enjoyed the review, and I hope the odd contakerous reader doesn’t put future contributors off.

          • Sean C says:

            Coming from a Jamie Oliver – Must be a wind up surely! Agree, sounded like they’re into their wine. Means nothing to me, so continued reading blissfully unaware.

            Also admit am keen to hear what incident resulted in this upgrade, assuming it’s purely a service related incident and nothing too serious.

      • JP-MCO says:

        Not sure why. What the OP is describing is the Coravin system; it is a wine preservation system that uses a cartridge of Argon gas (inert) to replace the space made in the bottle upon dispensing a glass. It means that you can dispense a single glass of wine from a bottle without removing the cork and dispense another glass 2, 3, 6 even 12 months later and it will taste the same or even better as it continues to age in the normal manner. I own one and they are magnificent.

  • Michael C says:

    Must admit we were also treated here. Had a soft opening room for my OH’s birthday: the place, as many of you will no doubt know, is gorgeous, and I wrote a TR review saying so, but also that the service was definitely not Asia-level (trouble with check-in, breakfast and…massively long 0400h fire alarm that no-one explained or indeed told guests where to go!).
    To their credit, they contacted me and offered us a free deluxe room with b/f to see how they’d improved, and they certainly had. Of course, prices have almost doubled since then…

    • MJ says:

      Interesting to see someone else also had a fire alarm… My only memory of this hotel is going for a birthday drink on 52nd floor hotel bars few years ago… 1 hour in, fire alarm started going off, staff running round telling everyone to ignore it. 10 mins later, and after what seemed like an “oh S**t” moment from the Manager, they said you better evacuate

      Led us and the few other guests to the fire exit and basically said “Off you go” walking all the way down to ground floor from 52nd floor was an interesting experience.

      Quite eery, as after a few floors, it felt like we were the only ones in there!

      The positive was the £200+ bar bill was written off, and multiple drinks in the ground floor bar by way of apology from management.

      Annoyingly (and impressively) found out afterwards, that because of the safety features in the building, even if there is a fire, you only need to go 2 floors lower than the fire to be safe!

      • Jonathan says:

        Hmmmm…. not sure post Grenfell (or 9/11) I’d trust just walking down 2 flights of stairs in a building like that!

      • The real John says:

        How do you know where the fire is?

      • Erico1875 says:

        Especially 50 floors up, I would definitely make sure i knew exactly the escape route in case of fire alarm. TBH it’s a good routine when staying in any hotel
        I would not listen to any “ignore it” advice either.

  • Mike says:

    I can only imagine what so badly wrong on “check-in day” that a hotel gives away a £10,000 suite upgrade………shall we guess……. The writer didn’t mention a trip to casualty….

    • ChrisW says:

      Perhaps they gave him a room already allocated to someone else and he walked in on someone in the room?

    • mr_jetlag says:

      not Andrew, but we got upgraded to the highest 4br suite category in the Windjammer Lodge St Lucia when their gas stove misfired and burnt all the hairs off my lower legs… we also got 3 nights future credit. (other than smooth legs I was otherwise fine!)

  • The real John says:

    I was upgraded to a presidential suite in New Zealand, because I was the highest status member and every other room was booked.

    The main benefit we got was a $5 saving on the hotel laundrette as there was a washing machine!

  • Rich says:

    Pleased for your upgrade – agree that I’d like to know ‘what went wrong’ as for me that’s part of the story.

    Premixed Negroni served without ice? I hope I’m not being too much of a prima donna, but the butler in a £10k suite should be able to do better than that!

    • Nick says:

      I can only dream of such upgrades, we did get upgraded on a stay Marina Bay Sands, I think because my OH is called Marina!? I too would love to know the issue that led to the upgrade, someone suggested a trip to casualty? Lucky it wasnt open wallet surgery to pay for the £10k suite

  • Crafty says:

    This looks like a comedy of errors. Wrong wine at dinner. No ice for your negroni. And clearly a litany of errors on check-in day that, although you’re reluctant to go into them, would clearly be the most interesting part of this article.

    I am surprised this is your “favourite hotel”!

    • Crafty says:

      I am also surprised you’re so easily delighted by the use of a coravin to serve your wine! This is pretty standard stuff in any mid-level wine shop. And by mid-level, I mean Wine Rack, which is owned by Bargain Booze.

      • RWJ says:

        Seems sometimes people can’t share their experiences without being looked down on by others. If you’re not a big wine drinker it’s entirely reasonable to not have encountered a Coravin before.

        • Crafty says:

          Not looking down on anybody – I sometimes shop at Bargain Booze. The point is that using a common wine tool is not a differential for a £10,000 a night hotel.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            The OP didn’t say it was?

            They were talking about a meal in the restaurant.

  • Anna says:

    This sounds fabulous – your kids will be ruined though! After a few years of premium cabins and nice hotel stays courtesy of HFP my teenager is refusing to contemplate a Geography field trip which involves travelling by coach and staying in hostel dormitories 🤦‍♀️🤣

    • Nick says:

      Now that takes me back, field trip to Devon, suprised I survived!

    • Michael C says:

      I remember frequently getting the coach from uni. in Asturias to see family in the UK: just the 28 hours direct to London!

      Also remember it stopping each time in Dover pre-Spain’s entry into the EU, and every time at least a couple of Spaniards would be left behind for not having xxx amount of cash + letter of introduction. They had to wait 24 hours in the Dover holding facilities until the coach back to Spain the next day.

      • Anna says:

        Oh dear – my experience wasn’t that bad but north west Spain is still quite difficult to get to even now! I used to get the overnight coach from Manchester to LHR, then an Iberia flight to Santiago de Compsotela where my dad would meet me (he never learned to drive) with whichever uncle or neighbour he’d co-opted for the 90 minute onward drive to Vigo. Some years I flew LHR-MAD-VIGO which made a journey to Spain longer than one to America!

    • Lady London says:

      I dont know how he’s going to cope, @Anna ! 🙂

  • BP says:

    That’s a nice upgrade! I’ve been upgraded to a nice suite many times but nothing like this! The closest was probably an upgrade at Four Seasons Bangkok to a very nice 1 Bedroom Suite from the standard room when the room wasn’t ready on our arrival despite having booked a deal with early check-in included.