Discover the meaning of Shangri-La and its origins

Discover the meaning of Shangri-La and its origins

We all know Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore for its luxury hotel and resorts all over the world. But have you heard of the mythical place behind it?

Founded by Malaysian business magnate Robert Kuok in 1971, the now multinational brand took inspiration from a legendary land featured in James Hilton’s Lost Horizon.

The novel follows a group of plane crash survivors’ journey traversing the mountains in search of shelter. It is where they find Shangri-La, described by the British author as a mystical and harmonious valley within the Kunlun Mountains, where its dwellers age very slowly, living almost like immortals.

Image Credit: Mindspower

The story has been referenced to Tibetan Buddhism concept Shambhala, imbibing ideas of the Kalachakra, or “wheel of time”, and signifies a realm of harmony between man and nature.

Since then, Shangri-La has become synonymous with utopia: a permanently happy paradise isolated from the outside world. And that is the backbone of the Shangri-La brand today: affectionately gifting you perfect settings to slow down and enjoy the essence of life.

Though a fictional place, the idea of Shangri-La has stirred motivation of many explorers to seek the physical equivalent of this ‘paradise hidden from modern man’. As Hilton spun his tale through influences from travelogues of Tibet and the Himalaya, not through his personal acquaintance with the places, there hasn’t been a single location to confidently claim that title on the map.

The Shangri-La, Guilin
Image Credit: VisitOurchina

The Shangri-La idea became the foundation of many places, ranging from Resorts to Lakes, and is even the name of a county in Yunnan, China. This concept is also well-received in the media, with films, TV shows, music, and even video games featuring it.

Still from Film Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow
Image Credit: Wordsmith

Bet you didn’t know that “Shangri-La” has deeper meanings than just five-star luxury hotel and resorts!

The next time you step into a Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore establishment, open up your senses – you may just feel an invigorating sense of revelation on how the entire vibe and hospitality links back to the idyllic legend.


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