Over the last decade, I’ve been lucky enough to fly to the United Kingdom and continental Europe countless times, on various airlines, and with itineraries ranging anywhere from 48 hours to four months. It wasn’t until the fall of 2022, though, that I discovered my favourite way to experience two of the biggest cities — London and Paris — and now, it’s going to be challenging to make the trip any other way.
Itinerary for an ultra-luxe London and Paris vacation
My transatlantic journey began at Newark Liberty International Airport, where I managed to squeeze in some work in the British Airways lounge before boarding the seven-hour flight to Heathrow. While my go-to flight in my early 20s used to be the cheapest seats from a budget airline, this time I was flying in the recently relaunched British Airways Club World cabin. As soon as I reached my seat, I knew this was going to be a different flying experience than what I was used to — and I immediately started exploring the cabin’s features and amenities.
When it comes to red-eye flights, I’m strict about two things: my skincare routine and doing everything I can to arrive at my destination as rested and prepared as possible. So, of course, the first thing I noticed was the amount of space and privacy I’d have. A gliding suite door separated my seat, which doubled as a fully lie-flat bed, from the rest of the cabin, and there was significant storage space to hold my in-flight essentials. Once the plane was in the air, I was able to spread out, apply my hydrating products, remove my contacts, and get comfortable — all without bothering fellow fliers. Each seat in Club World is also outfitted with a table, power ports, and White Company bedding to ensure total comfort.
While I typically try to sleep the entirety of the transatlantic flight, I couldn’t miss one of the best parts of flying in the Club World cabin: sampling the seasonal menu. “Carefully curated by British Airways’ culinary experts,” the offerings are a far cry from crackers and cookies — I dined on sesame-seared tuna, fresh fruit, and a cheese board before closing my eyes for the duration of the flight. By the time I awoke, rested, and without any typical in-flight soreness, we were 30 minutes from landing — and I was ready to head to my first stop: Shangri-La The Shard.
As its name suggests, the London outpost of the Shangri-La hospitality brand is found within The Shard, the 72-storey skyscraper that sits just south of the River Thames. The property itself begins on level 34 and extends to the 52nd floor, and it was apparent upon arrival that the views are the centrepiece of the five-star hotel — even with a bout of dreary London weather. Floors above the hustle and bustle of the city, Shangri-La The Shard’s one-of-a-kind vantage point — made possible by its floor-to-ceiling windows — allows visitors to take in the breadth and magnificence of London from a novel perspective.
And while most guests come for the skyline scenery, as I did, they stay for the Shangri-La touch, dining experiences, attention to detail, and top-tier service. From sky-high afternoon tea at TĪNG and speciality cocktails at GŎNG bar, to a morning swim in the Infinity Sky Pool overlooking Tower Bridge and St. Paul’s Cathedral, everything at the hotel is uniquely London but also elevated — in both senses of the word.
When it came time to check out of The Shard and cross the English Channel to Paris, my second and final stop, I couldn’t help but reminisce on the first time I visited both cities in one trip. For around USD 25 (INR 2,055), I took an overnight Megabus from Victoria Coach Station to Gare de Bercy — to say I wouldn’t repeat the experience would be an understatement. This time, I had a seat on an easier, faster, and infinitely more comfortable method of travel: the Eurostar. In just a couple hours, I arrived in the City of Lights, excited for my leg of the journey: two nights at Shangri-La Paris.
Book Your Stay In Shangri-La London Here
If you close your eyes and conjure an image of a glamorous Parisian hotel, there’s a good chance it resembles Shangri-La Paris. Found in the 16th arrondissement, the luxury hotel is defined by its “French-meets-Asian style” and historical significance; it’s the former home of Prince Roland Bonaparte, great-nephew of Napoleon I. In a decidedly French manner, Shangri-La Paris feels equally grand as it does warm — high ceilings and marbled hallways run in parallel with greenery; freshly baked goods accompany Ming Dynasty-inspired vases, imperial insignias, and crystal chandeliers.
Prior to arriving in Paris, I’d done a bit of research — namely, scrolling through the hotel’s Instagram feed and tagged posts. From there, I’d come to understand that the location of this Shangri-La property, similar to Shangri-La London, is pivotal to the overall experience. Each of the 100 rooms and suites either overlooks the tree-lined Avenue d’Iéna or the Eiffel Tower; if you’re lucky (or request it upon booking) your room could come with a private terrace, where you can savour your morning espresso and croissants. My research also led me to understand that I wouldn’t fully experience the extent of the opulence of Shangri-La Paris if I didn’t partake in two on-property activities: a treatment at the luxurious CHI, The Spa, and dinner at either Michelin-starred Shang Place or La Bauhinia, where guests dine beneath the glass dome ceiling designed by the famous architect Maurice Gras.
Book Your Stay In Shangri-La Paris Here
After several hours spent sightseeing and shopping on my last day in Europe, followed by a healing massage and a multi-course dinner, I felt relaxed, full, and confident that this is the most luxurious way I’d ever experienced in London and Paris.
This story first appeared on www.travelandleisure.com
Main and Feature Image Credit: Courtesy of Shangri-La
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