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Western Europe's Highest Swimming Pool

Western Europe's Highest Swimming Pool

From today, guests staying at London’s Shangri-La Shard hotel can swim in the highest swimming pool in Western Europe.

Found on the 52nd floor of the Shard skyscraper, the 34ft infinity “skypool”, as it is being referred to by the hotel, stands 600ft over the capital and offers unimpeded views of St Paul’s Cathedral, the London Eye and Westminster. The pool area was designed by Hong Kong-based interior designer Andre Fu, who is also responsible for the hotel’s Gong bar, found on the same floor.

Guests at the hotel, where rooms start at £450 per night, have exclusive use of the pool, which is heated to 24C, from 6am to 8pm each day; it is adjacent to the hotel’s gym, which is also open to residents of the apartments that are wedged between the hotel and the View from the Shard viewing platform at the top of the skyscraper.

However, members of the public will have the opportunity to experience the space each night. From 8.30pm onwards, a separation screen connecting the two spaces will open and visitors to Gong will be permitted to drink in the pool area. Entering the pool itself will be off limits, however – no lifeguard will be on duty and the pool is expected to serve as a distinctive decorative feature only.

Although open to all, accessing Gong can be difficult. As it is an intimate space with limited capacity, reservations should be made before you attempt to visit, and non-guests face a minimum-spend charge of £30 per person. In addition to a selection of signature cocktails, guests can order gourmet bar snacks including Cornish crab, foie gras and caviar. Reviews for Gong have been mixed, and while I was impressed with the views during my own visit, atmosphere was lacking and the pounding, dated dance music was an unexpectedly disruptive presence on a weekday night.

Source: The Telegraph, August 2014 

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