Birthdays are a huge deal in our house. Living in London, the thought of spending a small fortune on a night in a London hotel is nothing short of extravagant. However staying at the Shangri La in the Shard was expected to be an unforgettable experience for my birthday and so it was but for all the wrong reasons.
We rocked up at 2.30 to be advised the room would not be ready until 3pm, official check in time. No problem, we toddled off to Borough Market, my husbands favourite place in London. We returned at 3.30pm to be advised that the room was still not ready and remained not ready until 4pm. Now staying at this hotel is all about the view, therefor at the very least and not forgetting this is a new hotel, one would expect clean windows. The interior windows were filthy with large greasy marks all over them. The member of staff showing us the room immediately blamed the Shard. Apparently they were in charge of cleaning the outside windows but the issue as I pointed out was the inside windows which were the responsibility of the hotel. We advised the staff member that we were leaving the hotel in an hours time and would not be back until late. Perhaps the windows could be cleaned before we returned. They were not!
The room was nicely furnished with some great touches, binoculars, freshly brewed tea in a leather basket, great bath products. However in a brand new hotel one expects movies on demand and a greater selection of channels. The bath was positioned behind a open shower so that if one person was in the bath and another was showering the person in the bath would get soaked from the shower. Equally to fill the bath took 25 mins.
We returned at midnight to find the windows still smeary and untouched but someone had thoughtfully left two condoms by the bed!!!!! Is this some kind of hotel policy to replace night time poems or chocolates with Durex, we wondered? We have stayed in Shangri La hotels all over Asia and first, second and third class hotels all over the world, right down to a tin shack in Peru and not once have we encountered such a disgraceful occurrence.
As we were both exhausted we decided to deal with the issue in the morning however at 4am we were awoken by a very loud announcement that the hotel may have to be evacuated, please await further instructions". This was on a 30 second loop. Neither my husband or I said a word to each other but rather like a scene from Modern Family and with complete co ordination we threw our belongings into our bags and dressed tout suit. Being on the 47th floor of a prime terrorist target with alarms ringing was suddenly very unappealing. The staff at reception looked equally as terrified as us but valiantly offered tea to anyone who fancied hanging out on the 35th floor. We descended to the ground floor and amazingly found only one other couple there. A charming Californian couple, he was a bomb disposal expert. You meet the most interesting people at that time in the morning, or so it would appear. Quite frankly we and they were amazed that no body else had thought it at the very least prudent to exit the building. It turned out to be a faulty smoke detector but by the time this news had filtered through to us we were more than half way home and feeling just a little rattled. Now obviously faulty smoke detectors happen and false alarms happen but the staff seemed totally untrained for this event and unfortunately for all concerned the reality is that this building is a potential target and therefor staff training for such an event is paramount. As you can imagine, this is one birthday that we will never forget but for all the wrong reasons.
In conclusion, management has been advised of the catalogue of errors that happened before the alarm scenario, how they handle the situation will be the true test of not just Shangri La London but the Shangri La brand.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- London's first elevated luxury hotel - starting at 125 metres high - Shangri-La Hotel, At The Shard, London occupies levels 34 to 52 of The Shard, Western Europe's tallest building. Situated in London's most historic areas, Shangri-La Hotel, At The Shard, London is in close proximity to the financial hubs of the City and Canary Wharf as well as key tourist attractions such as Tate Modern, the Tower of London, St. Paul's Cathedral and Borough Food Market. The hotel offers 202 guest rooms and suites throughout levels 36 and 50, all with unparalleled views across London. Three signature Shangri-La wining and dining venues and three river-facing event spaces on level 34. Level 52 is home to London's highest bar alongside the hotel's infinity Skypool and 24-hour gym. ... more less
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