Reading Retreats #3: The Shangri-La Shard, London

Sometimes we want to get away from it all and just get lost in a good book. Last year I had the luck of going to three places where such a thing was all too possible. Firstly I went of to Fjallbacka, where I could literally live in a book as I spent a few days reading some of the Camilla Lackberg crimes that were set there which was quite brilliant, I then went out into the middle of nowhere (well the ocean) to stay on the Weather Islands and read in the silent still surroundings there. I also went to a Booktopia last year in Asheville, North Carolina which I bizzarely haven’t blogged about, but I will when I go back to the US in a few months I promise. Anyway, a few weeks ago I found myself in quite the reading retreat, one which was much closer to home and yet whilst in the middle of London still felt like some kind of hidden idyll away from the world, possibly because I was over 40 stories above it with Canary Wharf looking like a potential bookmark…

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The idyll in question was the amazing five star Shangri-La Hotel which sits between the 34th and 52nd floors of the iconic Shard Building, which I have been meaning to go in/up ever since Doctor Who did all those years ago when it was revealed it was actually an alien spacecraft. Obviously, it isn’t really yet there is something brilliantly sci-fi about it when you are below it…

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I had initially been invited to attend the Shangri-La’s new series of Cultural Salon’s (an intimate and fascinating event as I told you all on Tuesday) then as a thank you for travelling so far, and as a little extra treat I was kindly offered a night in the hotel as a bonus, well how on earth could I say no. I mean it gave me the most amazing reading base for twenty four hours I could imagine, so naturally I made sure I checked in the moment that I could and headed up to my suite ready to read. When I opened the door I was smitten.

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I mean how could you not want to read on that bed? Or at that desk? Or in that armchair? I mean the options were instantly endless, I would have to read hotdesk frankly. And then I was given the ultimate reading treat when I opened the door to the bathroom…

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I mean seriously, firstly the bath has a book holder in it, secondly, THAT VIEW!!! I did actually notice the view first obviously but being such an utter reading addict as soon as I spotted the book holder I knew where I was going to be spending many of my hours that evening and indeed reading, I did a lot.

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Yes, that is indeed Tower Bridge that I was looking/reading over. Quite the most surreal experience but by the time it had gone dark and the water had gone cold for the third time I had finished off one book and was headed onto the next, though in bed. I have to admit though I actually ended up staring at the night time lights of London for an hour or two until I had to pop the blinds down so I could read a bit more and get some kip. Because the next day were two more highlights. First up was breakfast…

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Now I don’t know about you but a) I love hotel living anyway and could happily tour hotel to hotel for the rest of my adult life, well maybe a lot of it if not all b) I am an absolute 100% fan of the hotel breakfast buffet. If I go somewhere and there’s just a menu, I judge it instantly. I mean I love an Eggs Benedict like the best of them but in a hotel I want both the fun and the potential opportunity a buffet can provide. In fact my love in my life probably goes 1. Books 2. Cats 3. Hotel breakfasts 4. Loved ones and friends. 5. Bed. Seriously. Well the Shangri-La met my challenge…

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And again…

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And again.

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Yes that is Dim Sum on my breakfast plate, I am destined to move in forever, this hotel knew me that well. It  was amazing and I won’t lie will be in my number one breakfast moment of the entire year, this is high praise from me. Anyway, I had to get a wriggle on and a swimming costume because next up was a date on the 52nd floor, with a swimming pool…

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And also another book blogger, who I was allowed to sneak in for a Friday morning dip, the lovely Eric of LonesomeReader. Note – this is the highest infinity pool in Europe and we had it all to ourselves for several hours as we chatted; mainly about books and the view…

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And even did a little light reading…

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Seriously, it is like some kind of readers paradise. If you ever get the change to stay, and it is worth treating yourself let alone any of your loved ones, then I would highly recommend it as somewhere to escape from it all, with a good book, great food and incredible views and service. I loved it. I could get quite used to it. A big thanks to both The Shangri-La Shard London and Virginia at The Massey Partnership for inviting me and letting me stay, I won’t ever forget the experience.

So I would love to hear from you as to where some of your favourite Readers Retreats have been, be they intentional or found by luck and chance? I would also love to know if you ever go on holidays away from it all just to read, be it with friends and family or without. If you have recommendations of any other Readers Retreats I should go or hunt out let me know, I am always up for the potential to escape it all with a good book, aren’t we all?

7 Comments

Filed under Random Savidgeness, Reading Retreats

7 responses to “Reading Retreats #3: The Shangri-La Shard, London

  1. Slightly green at the gills with envy, but glad you had such a wonderful time – it looks amazing!

  2. The bathroom is amazing, but that pool. Yes please.

  3. When I saw that pool with both of you in it I checked the prices…
    Not much hope have we??
    My garden is a pretty good place for non-stop reading, and sheltered, with equally non-stop coffee/tea/water except I have to get up and get it. Once upon a time the cafe at Kenwood was pretty marvellous particularly the outdoor part, but then it was extended and lost some of its private place charm.
    Anyone want to join me in my garden? As long as no building work is happening close by.

  4. The Essential’ B’s in Life: Books, Bath & Bathtub Bookholder.

  5. freudian slip typo in the post title….?

  6. Pea green with envy. That bathtub with the book holder; that view. Three years ago my husband and I treated ourselves to 2 days & nights in a luxury B&B in Victoria, British Columbia. There was a fireplace in the room, and an immense 2-person bathtub beside a window overlooking the grounds of a Catholic girls’ school. We soaked and read for hours, adding hot water as needed to keep things comfy. The fire crackled, the rain came down outside, the steam rose from the bath and blended with the mist coming in from the open window… Utter perfection. Your recent treat looks even more delightful.

  7. Lovely!😀 What a view, it makes me feel giddy and I’m not even there.

    I’ve never gone away just to read, but I do take time off just to read – it’s very relaxing.

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