"Pets are not permitted in or around the swimming pool," states Rule No. 6 of the Sky Pool. Petting, on the other hand: not mentioned. Well, this is London's most romantic pool. Can't be too hard on the couples who've shelled out for a dip 200 giddy metres above sea level. Really, The Shard's 10-metre swimming pool isn't for swimming at all. More of a honeymoon soup. A languorous version of the viewing platform above it. "Gaze lovingly into each other's eyes later," we want to hiss, "You can see the bloody Wembley arch from up here!".
On the 52nd floor, you are at once an all-seeing-eye over the metropolis, and far removed from it. A strip of light splits through the clouds and combs across the city like a celestial scanner. On London Bridge, diddy red buses heading into the City rack up one by one, forming a neat queue. You picture the bus driver grinding their teeth, drumming figures on the wheel. Passengers huffing that someone's got their window closed. It's a sweltering June morning. Sipping the lemon and mint-infused ice water only exacerbates your own dreamy smugness.
At night, as London dons its sparkling dress, a poolside wall swishes open, revealing oriental cocktail bar Gong. There is a touch of a 007 villain's lair to the setup, minus the piranhas. "Mr Bond, I trust you have brought your Speedos." Drinking, understandably, is not allowed in the pool. At night, it becomes a Hollywood set — a piece of art like the Hepworthesque sculpture standing at one end.
The price of swimming high above the dome of St Paul's and the Walkie-Talkie's Sky Garden, comes at a price. Privileged access requires an overnight stay at the Shangri-La hotel. Ensure that you and your partner are definitely both in love before making the commitment.
Sky Pool, Shangri-La Hotel at The Shard
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