Shanghai ‘earthscraper’: World’s 1st underground hotel opens in China inside abandoned quarry
After almost 10 years of construction, Shanghai has unveiled to the public its ‘earthscraper’ hotel built vertically along the precipice of an underground, water-filled quarry.
Costing 2 billion yuan ($287.9 million) to complete, the 88-meter-deep hotel is located in the Songjiang district. The Intercontinental Shanghai Wonderland, also known as Shimao Quarry Hotel, has cliff-view rooms that allow guests to stare into the abyss. Prices for the suites range from 3,400 to 3,800 yuan ($489 - $546) per night.
According to British architect Martin Jochman who designed the hotel, “It’s the first time to turn an abandoned quarry into a wonderful hotel beneath the ground.”
Jochman told Xinhua News Agency: “This is such a unique opportunity that gives me some really interesting ideas of reshaping the relationship between city and nature."
Two of the hotel’s 18 floors are aboveground, while the two lowest are completely submerged by a lake that occupies the remainder of the vast quarry pit.
The 336-room building has a restaurant and sports and recreation facilities including rock climbing and bungee jumping, according to its developer, Shimao Group.
Jochman, the project’s chief architect who also designed Dubai’s Burj Al Arab, said the new property was designed to blend in with its natural surroundings. Alongside the hotel, at ground level, there’s a glitzy amusement park. The lake below will be used for watersports and other adventure activities.
The company also plans to build a shopping center on the site next year.
According to Shimao Group chairman Xu Rongmao, he first came across the abandoned quarry in 2006, which he describes as a “wound of nature that was inconsistent with the green hills and blue water of Sheshan.” He then came up with the idea to build the unusual property.
Exploited during World War II, the quarry was shut down in 2000 due to new environmental protection regulations.
The hotel’s owners say the facility is able to withstand a magnitude 9 earthquake. The design incorporates two fireman’s lifts if needed for fighting fires, and six pumping machines should the huge pit flood during Shanghai’s wet rainy season.
Shanghai claimed the “home to the world’s second-tallest building” title in 2016 with the opening of Shanghai Tower, a 632-meter, 128-story skyscraper in the city’s financial district.
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