Thursday, July 23, 2015

Boris Johnson, alongside
architect Renzo Piano, cut the ribbon to open The Shard on February 1, 2013 in
London. Then the tallest building in Europe (a title that has since been
swiped by a more recent design in Moscow), it's still almost twice as high
as any London viewpoint. And while it boasts one of the city's best places
to take in the skyline, there's a lot happening on those 73 stories. Here,
our favorites. There's a sense of playfulness to what could otherwise be
an austere property—and plenty to entertain the crowds that come to enjoy
it. Earlier this year the Shard launched a series of silent discos for
weekend parties, and on Saturday mornings, you can book a class to downward
dog with a panoramic view, hosted by Yogashere's Mandy Jhamat. Last year
the five-star Shangri-La Hotel opened—and promptly made T+L's own It
List—boasting telepathic service, heated bathroom floors, and unassuming
mirrors that double as television screens.  In a world where five-star
can sometimes fall flat, the Shangri-La (floors 34 to 52) has approached
hotel design with super-hero strength. Gong, its bar on the 52 floor, is
London's highest licensed venue—a Romeo & Juliet (Dodd's gin,
raspberry purée, Earl Grey tea and citrus), tastes even better with sweeping
city views. On that same floor, guests will find a 24-hour fitness studio
with its very own celestial infinity pool. But it's not all about where
to lay your head. Several stand-out restaurants reside in the Shard. Rainer
Becker's Oblix (Level 32) is a firm favorite for a centrally located
wood-fire oven turning out rotisserie chicken and duck, and a grill
serving up an array of beef and fish. AquaShard (Level 31) is as slick as
the Mayfair original, popular for its elegant cocktails, brunch and tea
service. On the same floor there's Hutong, which first made a name for its
cuisine in Hong Kong. The Northern Chinese fare is incredibly chic (crystal
prawn dumplings with addictive XO sauce; sautéed cuttlefish with green beans,
red bell peppers, leeks and chicken broth) and mouth-wateringly good.
While all the restaurants have great bars and unstoppable views, it's still
worth zipping up to Level 68—the futuristic elevator transports guests to
the top floor in just over a minute—for the famous viewing platform, which
allows you to gaze upon 40 miles of London and its landmarks. And while
the weather's still warm, don't miss the skydeck on Level 72, which has
been transformed into an English summer garden with more than 2,000 plants and
flowers—and is the site of popular but rotating seasonal programming while
summer remains. Bridget Arsenault is the associate editor, print and
digital at Vanity Fair UK. and the co-director of the Bright Young Things
Film Club. She covers the U. K. beat for Travel + Leisure; follow her on
Twitter at @bridget_ruth. More good reads from T+L:
• World's Top 50 Hotels
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• Best Places to Travel in 2015 Did you enjoy
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America's 10 Best Places to Eat a Hot Dog The Shard, London's tallest
building, has plenty to see, and we've highlighted our can't-miss
activities there.

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