Restaurants, bars and a hotel are breathing life into The Shard.
From almost any vantage in London, The Shard - glass clad and aptly named - dominates the skyline. More than a year after reaching full height, the tallest building in Europe - 310 metres and 87 floors - is coming to life, with a trio of restaurants in business and a 202-room Shangri-La hotel opening in November.
The hotel, on floors 34 to 52, will share the address with office space, penthouse apartments and a public viewing deck at 244 metres (floors 68-72). The Shangri-La's design brief is understated simplicity with state-of-the art technology such as "body-contouring technology" beds, with rooms from $605 per night.
Below the hotel, though also with vertiginous pricing, are The Shard's three showcase restaurants. The best is Hutong on level 33 (pictured above), a branch of the Aqua Group's Hong Kong restaurant of the same name. Even the décor - plush black Orient-meets-modernist - is faithful to the original. Its modern Chinese menu picks fashionable Sichuan and northern Chinese dishes, but tones down the spice. One floor below is Oblix, a New York-style East-meets-West grill and wine bar from the team that also runs the well-regarded Zuma and Roka restaurants. This is the best Shard venue for a glass of wine and live music. For a quiet cocktail without the hassle of reservations, Aqua Shard on level 31 has the most capacious bar of the three, with a modern British, expense-account restaurant attached.