LowLightFotography

LowLightFotography

A Room With A View

Shangri-La Hotel, The Shard, London ~ 24th November 2014

    As part of the London Bridge Quarter, The Shard is an 87-storey glass clad pyramidal tower designed by Italian Architect Renzo Piano. When inaugrated in July 2012, it was the tallest free standing occupied structure in Europe at 1,014ft (309 meters) at its tallest point but was surpassed by the Mercury City Tower in Moscow which topped out at 1,112ft (339 meters) when it opened in November 2012.

    The Shangri-La Hotel occupies floors 34 to 52 of The Shard and opened in May 2014 and having visited the 'View From The Shard' observation decks, covering floors 68 to 72 where you have a 360-degree 40 mile view over London, I decided I would have an overnight stay in London for my 60th Birthday and I decided to do it in style. I booked a rather expensive room at the Shangri-La Hotel. At pre-reception on the ground floor, they check to see you have a reservation and then you are escorted to the lifts   where   a   security  man   very   politely introduces himself and asks very politely if he could x-ray your bag. No other searches. He then calls the lift which goes straight to floor 35 which is where you register/sign in and where the bar and restaurant are. I was then escorted to my room, which was two floors up, where I was asked if this was the view I wanted but as it was on the south east corner I said I would prefer a view of the city. After apologisng for giving me the wrong room, the receptionist went off to see if he could do better and was back 5 minutes later apologising for the delay and we went up 5 more floors and I had a room on the north east corner and the view I wanted.

    First thing you notice in the room is that you sink into the soft carpet and the blinds on all the windows slowly rise as the door opens revealing the view over the city in front of you. Decoration is basic oriental in style, the hotel being Chinese owned, and I'm not sure about the heated toilet seat but although toilet paper is supplied there are also water jets in the toilet bowl for that purpose, which I was told is prefered by customers from the east. No I didn't try it. For the cost of the room you would think breakfast would be included. It's not and for in-room service Full English Breakfast cost £38. It was £22 for a burger, £4 for fries and £4 for a can of Coke from the mini bar. Fortunately there is a McDonalds and Starbucks across the road from the ground floor entrance.

    I was going to have a wander around the South Bank with my camera after dark but stayed in and enjoyed the view instead. Although there were BBC and Sky channels I was watching Honk Kong/Thai/Vietnamese/Japanese television between taking photographs. No idea what they were saying, but it was different. They don't have a Bible on the bedside table, instead it's a copy of Lost Horizon by James Hilton and there is a pair of binoculars on the desk so you can zoom in on the view. Something woke me up just before 4 o'clock in the morning which was fortunate as a mist was rolling in from the east and along the Thames. I was hoping it would thicken up with just the tops of the city skyscraper sticking out of it, but it disipated instead. I had hoped for a decent sunrise but the cloud and mist were still about. Will I go back again. Yes, when I turn 70.

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A Room With A View

Shangri-La Hotel, The Shard, London ~ 24th November 2014

    Exterior looking photos were taken through several layers of toughtened glass that could do with cleaning.

    Hand held with a Sony A7s with a Sony E16-35mm f4 ZA OSS T* wide angle lens attached, manual settings.

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