Yes, you read that correctly — subterranean. While the idea of a semi-underwater hotel isn’t novel — the recent underwater suite at the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island being a notable example — Shimao Wonderland is a new concept.
Built into the side of a quarry in the Sheshan Mountain Range, the hotel has 336 rooms on 18 floors.
Shimao Wonderland InterContinental was built inside a quarry.
Courtesy InterContinental Hotels + Resorts
Sixteen of the floors are underground, with the lowest two submerged inside a 33-foot-deep aquarium.
Guests in those rooms can watch fish swim by — and they also get 24/7 personal butler service while they do it.
The hotel has been nicknamed the “earthscraper,” as it’s the opposite of a skyscraper.
A natural wonder
Built by Studio JADE+QA in association with British firm Atkins, behind the Burj Al Arab Hotel in Dubai, the “pit hotel” required innovative engineering solutions and more than 5,000 people to complete.
Guests who don’t get the aquarium views will all have a room balcony with views of purpose-built waterfalls spilling down the quarry walls. There’s also a glass-bottomed walkway for exploring the area further.
For thrillseekers, the hotel makes use of its position inside a craggy pit to provide bungee jumping and rock climbing opportunities.
And if you just need to unwind after all that adventure? There’s a bar — appropriately called Quarry.
Set near the Sheshan Mountain Range, Sheshan National Forest Park and Chenshan Botanic Gardens, the 61,000-square-meter resort aims to be a home base for environmentally minded travelers.
The architectural plan was designed to reduce impact on the environment by keeping the majority of construction within the disused pit.
“This is such a unique opportunity that gives me some really interesting ideas of reshaping the relationship between city and nature,” the hotel’s architect, Martin Jochman, says of the property.
In addition, the hotel plans to generate its own geothermal and solar energy to power everyday functions.
On site, there’s also a green rooftop that disappears into the surrounding landscape and doubles as a place where travelers can relax and explore.
This story was originally published in September 2018 and has been updated with new information.