Sun, Nov 18, 2018 - Page 16 News List

Luxury hotel built in former pit mine to open in China


The upper floors of the Intercontinental Shanghai Wonderland Hotel in Shanghai’s Songjiang District basks in Thursday’s sun.

Photo: AP

A luxury hotel opening outside Shanghai is offering guests with deep pockets the opportunity for a very deep sleep.

The 18-story Intercontinental Shanghai Wonderland Hotel has been built into the side of a huge hole in the ground left by a former pit mine. Sixteen of its floors are below ground level, looking out onto the rest of the former quarry. Two floors are underwater.

“I have designed many different types of buildings in the UK, in Europe, in Dubai, and so on, but this one was totally different and became almost my life’s work — so that’s why I’m saying it’s probably the most important building that I have designed,” said chief architect Martin Jochman, who is known for the sail-shaped Burj al-Arab skyscraper in Dubai.

The project began in 2006 and construction got under way in 2013. The team faced delays and a host of technical challenges, including meeting strict earthquake regulations and maintaining water levels.

UNESCO representative Michael Croft said the 336-room hotel is a model of sustainable development.

“It’s a model that has been inspired by a vision of a better future, and a present that looks to its past for answers,” he said on Thursday at a news conference introducing the hotel.

The hotel, which is in Songjiang near Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport, opens on Tuesday. Rooms are priced from 3,666 to 6,000 yuan (US$528 to US$865).

“We could have abandoned this quarry,” said Xu Shitan (許世壇), vice chairman of Hong Kong property developer Shimao Group (世茂), which developed the hotel. “But we didn’t. We turned it into a treasure.”

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