Shangri-La Paris and London host ‘Ocean Encounters’ photographic exhibitions
Corals reefs, pods of dolphins, tropical fish, sea turtles, hammerhead sharks and majestic manta rays will swim through Shangri-La’s European properties this autumn as part of the ‘Ocean Encounters’ photographic exhibition created by Greg Lecoeur. Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts commissioned the National Geographic award-winning photographer to capture the beauty of the underwater worlds of Shangri-La’s resorts in the Maldives and Mauritius. With this exclusive series of images, the group hopes to inspire visitors to learn more about the Indian Ocean environment and how to protect this vitally important ecosystem.
The exhibition will run at Shangri-La Hotel, Paris from 29th October to 22nd November 2019 and at Shangri‑La Hotel at The Shard, London from 30th October to 15th November 2019. In Paris, 20 large-scale photographs will be on view throughout the ground floor public areas of the palace hotel open for all guests to enjoy. In London, visitors to The Shard will be able to view 15 of Lecoeur’s photographs with five exhibited at the ground entrance to the hotel, five in the reception lobby on the 35th floor and five displayed in the Sky Lounge on the 34th floor.
The underwater photography displayed will feature manta rays, colourful surgeon fish indigenous to the Maldivian coral reef, endangered hawksbill turtles, humpback whales breeding in Mauritian waters, and many other fascinating marine encounters showcasing the diverse life of the Indian Ocean. Following the European shows, the exhibition will travel home to be exhibited at the group’s Indian Ocean resorts where the images were captured.
All photographic prints created by Greg Leceour and exhibited across the four hotels will be available for purchase and priced from 250 to 850 Euros. Benefitting the region’s marine ecosystem, 100 per cent of the proceeds of each sale will go towards SANCTUARY, Shangri-La’s Care for Nature project to support the regeneration of coral reefs in the Indian Ocean.
To further enhance the aquatic experience, visitors to Shangri-La Hotel, At The Shard, London and Shangri-La Hotel, Paris can enjoy ocean-inspired cocktails created by each hotel’s talented bar teams. At Shangri-La Hotel in London, the team at Gong Bar have created ‘The Azure’ cocktail, made with bergamot-infused gin, Blue Curacao, saline solution and sea samphire. While Paris’s Le Bar Botaniste team have concocted ‘The Nautilus’, made with oyster leaf–infused gin, dill-infused vodka, Noilly Prat and smoked salt.
In Paris, the CHI, The Spa therapists have also created a 60-minute Indian Ocean-inspired treatment to bring the relaxed atmosphere of the islands to the city’s 16th arrondissement. A percentage of the proceeds from the cocktails and spa treatments will also benefit the SANCTUARY fund to protect the Indian Ocean coral reefs.
Sharing the beauty of the marine environment and inspiring its protection is a cause close to Lecoeur’s heart and one nurtured since his childhood in Nice on the Mediterranean Sea. Lecoeur has travelled throughout the globe training his lens on the teeming communities of life underwater to share his experiences with the public and raise awareness of the fragility of our ecosystems and the need to preserve biodiversity. His work has won numerous awards, including National Geographic’s ‘Nature Photographer of the Year’ in 2016.
‘The waters surrounding the 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 underwater world, I am proud to contribute to Shangri-La’s SANCTUARY project to raise awareness of the importance of biodiversity protection.”
Launched in 2010 with the aim of making a concerted effort towards biodiversity conservation and habitat protection, SANCTUARY, Shangri-La’s Care for Nature project, protects the local habitats of numerous Shangri-La properties throughout the globe. 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 2000 healthy corals, which are essential for underwater biodiversity.
“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.”
A haven for sea life including turtles, dolphins and hammerhead sharks, Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort & Spa, Maldives is perfect for both beginner underwater explorers and experienced divers. Travellers can discover a myriad of life snorkelling in the house reef or can explore further afield and further underwater at over 25 world-class dive locations surrounding the private island, including the British Loyalty shipwreck.
During his time in the Indian Ocean, Lecoeur also explored the stunning marine life of Mauritius at Shangri-La’s Le Touessrok Resort & Spa. Located on the most secluded bay in Mauritius and boasting its own private island, the resort offers multiple opportunities to discover nature and underwater life. Mauritian waters are home to brightly coloured tropical fish, sperm whales, dolphins and whale sharks. Almost completely encircled by a barrier coral reef, travellers can explore hundreds of diving sites, shipwrecks dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries, and a dramatic topography including grand caverns, caves and arches, which, when the light filters through, offer incredible sights.