Ocean Encounters – a photographic exhibition by Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts

Recent high-profile activism led by environmentalist Greta Thunberg has succeeded in refreshing the global conversation on climate change. Protecting our oceans, which play a pivotal role in the balance of ecosystems, have figured heavily in the debate. Most certainly it calls for multinationals to be held socially accountable. As ever, Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts lead the way with Ocean Encounters – a photographic exhibition to be held at Shangri-La Hotel Paris and Shangri-La Hotel At The Shard London in support of its innovative SANCTUARY project.

Shangri-La’s Care for Nature project SANCTUARY was set up in 2010 with the sole aim of biodiversity conservation and habitat protection. Each property, in the group, works on individual projects that are monitored and tracked. Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort & Spa, Maldives’ Reef Care project focuses on replanting fragmented corals to regenerate the reefs. The resort has successfully planted over 2,000 healthy corals. Up to date the group has 16 SANCTUARY projects in place worldwide.

The latest initiative is Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort & Spa, Maldives and Shangri-La’s Le Touessrok Resort & Spa, Mauritius’ collaboration with National Geographic’s award-winning photographer Greg Lecoeur. Spending time in the waters surrounding Shangri-La’s resorts in the Maldives and Mauritius Lecoeur has captured the beauty of the underwater worlds which surround the resorts. Shot entirely in the Indian Ocean the images have captured Hawksbill turtles, spinner dolphins, whale sharks and sperm whales. The exclusive series of images will go on display to inspire visitors to learn more about the Indian Ocean environment and what could be done to protect it.

A childhood spent in Nice along the Mediterranean Sea means this is a cause close to Lecoeur’s heart. He has travelled extensively around the world photographing life underwater and sharing his experiences to raise awareness of the fragility of ecosystems and the urgent need to preserve biodiversity. His work won National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year in 2016.

“The waters surrounding the Shangri-La Resorts in the Maldives and Mauritius are teeming with life, creating incredible opportunities to encounter marine animals; a true underwater paradise for divers,” says Lecoeur. “Through sharing my photography of this world, I am proud to contribute to Shangri-La’s SANCTUARY project to raise awareness of the importance of biodiversity protection.”

“We were thrilled to bring Greg to our islands in the Indian Ocean and explore the marine life of the Maldives and Mauritius,” said Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts’s Executive Vice President, Operations – Middle East, India and Indian Ocean John Northern. “His extraordinary photographs capture the stunning beauty that surrounds our resorts and we hope will inspire travellers to protect the ocean and perhaps even travel to the Indian Ocean to witness its beauty in person.”

There’s more

To coincide with Ocean Encounters Shangri-La Paris’ Le Bar Botaniste team have lovingly shaped The Nautilus cocktail (€27). Made with oyster leaf–infused gin, dill-infused vodka, Noilly Prat and smoked salt the cocktail is sure to please.

Furthermore, the team at CHI, The Spa at Shangri-La Paris have created a 60-minute Indian Ocean-inspired treatment for those who wish to support the SANCTUARY project whilst nourishing their own wellness.

The GōNG Bar team at Shangri-La Hotel At The Shard, London support the cause with The Azure cocktail (£18) made of bergamot-infused gin, Blue Curacao, saline solution and sea samphire. Be sure to order your cocktail with a cause on your visit.

A percentage of proceeds from the sale of cocktails and spa treatments will be contributed to SANCTUARY.

When and where

29th October – 22nd November 2019 at Shangri-La Hotel, 10 Avenue d’Iéna, 75116 Paris. 20 images will be displayed on the ground floor’s public areas.

30th October – 15th November 2019 at Shangri-La Hotel At The Shard, 31 St Thomas St, London SE1 9QU. In London the images will be split between three floors with five on show at the ground floor entrance, five on the 35th floor lobby and five more in the Sky Lounge on the 34th floor.

Prints of Lecoeur’s work will be available to buy priced between €250 to €850 with all proceeds contributed to SANCTUARY. They will be on permanent display at Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort & Spa and Maldives and Shangri-La’s Le Touessrok Resort & Spa, Mauritius after the exhibitions in Europe.

For more information visit: www.shangri-la.com/

Celebrating Baby Sussex at Shangri-La Hotel At The Shard

Afternoon tea served with view of Tower Bridge.

The long awaited member of Frogmore Cottage is here and we can hardly contain ourselves! Welcome to the world Baby Sussex! As London is now officially in jubilation I marked the occasion with Royal High Tea at Shangri-La Hotel At The Shard. In honour of the royal birth and motherhood everywhere the hotel has devised a very special celebratory menu for us to enjoy.

This however, is no ordinary occasion and as such this is no ordinary high tea. A view over Tower Bridge and the Thames from the comfort of Shangri-La’s TĪNG Lounge and Restaurant is one of the greatest privileges afforded to us by the hotel. I’m forever in awe of it no matter how many times I see it. So here’s what I had:

To eat

Wiltshire ham and piccalilli wrapped in the neatest of soft bread was the perfect nod to a traditional tea. Scottish smoked salmon, Elderflower poached chicken and cucumber were also part of this heavenly treat.

For my sweet tooth the blueberry cheesecake, chocolate sable with passion fruit cream and strawberry mousse with rhubarb cream were all I could have hoped for and more. May I add that the scones gratified all the senses.

To drink

Tīng Lounge and Restaurant welcomes you with their signature white jasmine tea with apricot. Coupled with Shangri-La’s devotion to refined and sensuous enjoyment of their guests the tea was pourled elegantly in to a magical cloud against the backdrop of London’s skyline. It was simply breathtaking.

There is also an extensive menu of the highest quality Shangri-La loose leaf teas. My favourite was the infused Beautiful Skin Tea of elderflower and hints of rose. China White Monkey tea with honey nuances was wonderful. I also tried the Green Mint of China gunpowder tea blended with peppermint leaves. It was crisp, fresh and utterly pleasing.

Why this menu is so special

To make this occasion extra special the Shangri-La At The Shard team have dug deep in to their past. Sentimentality, family recipes and childhood memories have been scoured to honour the most important women in our lives.

Executive Pastry Chef Benoit Defait has contributed his mother’s blueberry cheesecake recipe. Benoit fondly remembers the family making wild berry jam together. “It took three months for each jar to be ready which I was very impatient about. I would help my grandmother carefully place a label on each jar and then once three months had passed we would eagerly open them together and eat it by the spoonful.” As the family lived close to a farm who gave them cheese they’d make cakes and tarts using all the ingredients. I got a taste of that French countryside, those wild berries and share in the memories of grandson and grandmother cheekily eating spoonfuls of jam together. I felt truly honoured.

Commis Pastry Chef Lucy Wall cherishes memories of baking crumbles and cakes with her mother and grandmother. “My grandmother used to grow rhubarb and strawberries in the garden which we’d use to make crumbles, cakes and pies. I was responsible for rolling the pastry and loved getting stuck in. Although my favourite part was licking the spoon”, says Chef Lucy. So how grateful I was to taste her grandmother’s strawberry mousse which was divine.

Pastry Sous Chef Emma Watts was inspired to become a pastry chef by her grandmother who baked with her from a very young age. Chef Emma says, “My granny had a stack of cake cutters and cake decoration tools which my sister and I loved to play with. We were responsible for weighing the flour and sugar on the old scales. We’d constantly fight over who was right!” Her favourite cake to bake with her grandmother was a Victoria Sponge and that is exactly what Chef Emma contributed to The Royal High Tea. It’s truly worthy of the highest praise.

There was also a surprise bliss of Executive Chef Jeremy’s mother’s bara brith which I found exceptional. Executive Sous Chef David’s mother’s passion fruit cream with chocolate sable was the stuff of dreams.

So you see Baby Sussex, we are really happy that you’re here. We offer you the highest honour we could possibly bestow upon you; Royal High Tea served overlooking the greatest city on earth.


I was a guest of Shangri-La At The Shard Hotel. The Royal High Tea with a royal baby cocktail or mocktail costs £62 per person and available until 30th May 2019.

London Bridge has a brand new local bar

IMG_4537London Bridge has a brand new, swanky local bar with all the hallmarks of a good place for a drink; swinging atmosphere, great service, wonderful drinks and very good food. Let’s not forget the location; 31 Thomas Street. It’s the closest bar to London Bridge station and if you’re walking by you won’t miss the buzzy atmosphere through the floor to ceiling windows. You’d be forgiven for thinking that it’s another among many. Here’s the thing; this is no ordinary bar. It’s Shangri-La’s Bar 31 created by the locals for the locals. Here’s what that means for us.

Food

IMG_4521All the produce for the menu comes from neighbouring Borough market. Expect the best; rice Buddha bowls with egg and kale, pickled avocado, Vietnamese avocado rolls and daily specials such as spiced chicken wings and shepherds pie. It’s world cuisine on a plate via Borough Market. I had the Vietnamese avocado rolls and pickled avocado when I attended the opening and they were sublime. With quality local produce and a menu curated by none other than chef Daniel Mcgarey their sharing plates are nothing short of spectacular.

Drink

For drinks Shangri-La has flexed it’s giant sourcing muscle and gone as far as…their doorstep. (I did say the bar was local). Beers come from Bermondsey Breweries, Hiver Brewery and Anspach & Hobday. Bermondsey Distillery’s Old Tom gin and a whole host of cocktails and Champagnes have also made the cut. A sure-fire summer hit might well be their homemade lemonade followed by an ice cold glass of rosé.

Music

Want to know who provides the live music on Friday and Saturday nights? Buskers. London’s finest street singers from Bermondsey to Piccadilly Circus have been scouted for Bar 31. On opening night we were entertained by Sherika Sherard, Piers Dashfield and Tim Cronin who’s soulful renditions were the perfect backdrop to a beautiful evening.

Verdict

As a Londoner, I can tell you that Bar 31 is as good as London gets. It’s in the heart of the city at an iconic landmark, is a great spot for meeting-up and perfect for showing visitors to London what the city is all about. A mesmerising piece by graffiti artist Mr.Cenz greets you as you walk in, the atmosphere is relaxed and the service is flawless. Add to this Shangri-La’s commitment to the local economy and you’d have to agree that Bar 31 is a credit to London.