Tag Archives: Readers Retreat

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…

IMG_4393

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…

IMG_4301

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.

IMG_4298

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…

IMG_4296

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.

IMG_4386

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…

IMG_4369

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…

IMG_4376

And again…

IMG_4379

And again.

IMG_4381

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…

IMG_4312

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…

IMG_4419

And even did a little light reading…

IMG_4410

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?

8 Comments

Filed under Random Savidgeness, Reading Retreats

A Readers Road Trip & A Readers Retreat

I am very, very excited. Some of you might have seen mumblings of this on Twitter, or may have heard it on The Readers Podcast earlier today, but if you haven’t… I am going on a Readers Road Trip in September through Northern America with Thomas of Hogglestock, who is my cohost on the podcast! How ace is that?

Some of you may remember I went to Ann and Michael of Books on the Nightstand’s wonderful Booktopia in Asheville, where book lovers and authors meet and have a whale of a time (where does that expression come from?) over a few days, last year. Well this September sees the last ever Booktopia (for now) in Petoskey and after much planning, plotting and some magic Thomas and I are going to be there to take part in all the fun and have the most bookish few days of our lives. Only that wasn’t enough for Thomas and I, we needed to take it further and make it bigger. So we decided that we would turn it into something I have wanted to do all my life… A road trip through America.

I am thinking of it being like Thelma and Louise (which shockingly Thomas has not seen) but with less police chases and more bookshops.

I will be arriving in Washington DC and then instantly be whisked, or driven, away (after an eight hour flight) and heading up through West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Far Western New York to Niagra Falls, then going through Canada and possibly stopping in Toronto and Stratford Ontario before heading back down into the US to Lake Michigan and Petoskey, obviously staying for a few days there. Then we drive back via Ohio and Cleveland before returning to DC where I will have a few days to recover. So if you have any places, basically bookshops and lovely fooderies, in those places and Pittsburgh, Ann Arbour etc then please let me know where we should head to, I would be grateful for your recommendations. I cannot wait to see Thomas, Ann, Michael and some of the wonderful folk I met in Asheville as well as meeting some lovely new bookish sorts. It’s going to be ace.

If that isn’t enough excitement for one week I am also off on an exciting reading retreat this week as I will be heading off on the train back down to London tomorrow for an unusual Reading Retreat for one, in the Shangri La Hotel in The Shard. I know, bonkers.

Shangri-La-Hotel-At-The-Shard-London-Hero

This is because they are hosting a new and really interesting selection of Cultural Events and Salons in order to add something extra special to guests and London locals. This week sees author and poet Tishani Doshi talking about her books and her life, there might still be some tickets going so head here for more. I will be reporting back on the event, and the hotel, next week and letting you know more about their future line ups.

Blimey, that is quite enough excitement for me. Do let me know if you have any recommendations of bookshops, booky tourist hot spots or good places to eat for my trip around the Northern US  as you are always great with recommendations. Also, do let me know of any unusual and amazing reading places you have been and if you would like a series of reading retreats to start to feature on the blog more often such as this trip to the Shard or more like when I went to Sweden. I think it could be an interesting new range of potential posts. Anyway, over to you.

18 Comments

Filed under Random Savidgeness