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Shangri-La’s misfortune in Europe enters a new stage with London

It all started in 2007 with a pompous annoucement on the opening of the first Shangri-La Hotel in Vienna within an iconic heritage building in one of the best locations, downtown the Austrian capital city. Then, after several disagreements with owners/developers, the hotel opened last year as The Ritz Carlton Vienna.

Then, there came, eventually, Shangri-La’s first hotel in Paris, the first such new opening for the brand without a Spa. The other major disappointment provided by the Shangri-La Paris was to be the ”Parisian View”, all advertising promissing views of the Eiffel Tower. Guest realized upon check-in they would need to upgrade 3 to 4 categories to a room category with a glimpse of the Eiffel Tower. The hotel added a Spa this year, almost two years after opening. Even with a re-design and the addition of a terrace and a garden, the Shangri-La Paris ranks 7th among luxury hotels in Paris on Tripadvisor and does not even make it to Top 10 on other review websites.

Next, in Shangri-La’s European saga came to London with the Shangri-La London at The Shard, Europe’s tallest building which was completed in 2010, the hotel being slated for opening 2012. Today, the hotel has announced yet another delay, most likely in the second half of 2014.

The only apparent timely opening in Europe for Shangri-La seemed to be Shangri-La Istanbul (presently, the second operating hotel of the chain in Europe), where fortunes turned on the Asian chain to win over an agreement initially signed with another luxury hotel operator. To be able to take over the Istanbul project, Shangri-La had to put up with over 40 percent of the investment in the project, which is unsual nowadays among major luxury hotel chains.

With major competitors such as Four Seasons, Ritz Carlton, Mandarin Oriental, Oetker Collection and Dorchester Collection dominating the European high-end luxury hospitality market, it remains to be seen what fate holds for Shangri-La in Europe.

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