Ho­tel built in old pit mine opens in China

Hartford Courant (Sunday) - - Travel Living -

SHANG­HAI — A new lux­ury ho­tel in Shang­hai of­fers guests with deep pock­ets the chance of 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 de­signed many dif­fer­ent types of build­ings in U.K., in Eu­rope, in Dubai, and so on, but this one was to­tally dif­fer­ent and be- came al­most life 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 un­der­way 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 de­scribed the 336-room ho­tel as a model for 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 at a re­cent news con­fer­ence.

The ho­tel, which is in Songjiang near Shang­hai Hongqiao In­ter­na­tional Air­port, opened in mid-Novem­ber. Rooms are priced from 3,666 to 6,000 yuan ($530 to $860).

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

FANG ZHE/AP

The In­ter­con­ti­nen­tal Shang­hai Won­der­land Ho­tel in Shang­hai has been built into a hole in the ground left by a for­mer pit mine.

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