You can now stay in the first underground hotel

In China they do not walk on the branches, but on the roots, and they demonstrate it by opening an iconic hotel, the most innovative of this century… And it is underground!


The InterContinental Shanghai Wonderland has opened its doors and we can already enjoy its good work in one of the rising regions (touristically speaking) of China. But… why should we do it? What incentives could have to travel to this remote place? Will we be visiting a worthwhile hotel or just one more of the so-called luxury hotels? In a few words, we will try to reveal these unknowns… And some more!

Let’s imagine that among our properties we have a disused quarry, that this quarry is located 35 kilometers from Shanghai, in a city called Songjiang (how Chinese names are cool, huh?), With good-level infrastructure, with extensive natural landscapes around and transport more than enough… What would we do there? Yes, you guessed it: a piece of luxury hotel that leaves its mark.

The hotel overlooks the quarry. It is literally integrated into it. Photo: Lydia Sun

Welcome to the hotel quarry

As we have intelligence and audacity, we call an international competition, let us not forget, we look for the best of the best and in that competition we find an English company called Atkins that teaches us what, exactly, we want to do (as if they read our minds). The Quarry Hotel (Hotel Cantera) has a very special feature that makes it unique and the first of its kind: it develops downwards, not upwards, it is a building with views of the interior of the quarry, not over it.

The only downside is that they have been advanced to us, to be concrete, the Chinese company Shimao Group was in charge of the contest, awarding it in 2006, although it was a few days ago, in mid-November (2018 for whoever reads this article. later) when the works were finished, nothing more and nothing less than 10 years of execution, imagine the complexity. The hotel has 336 rooms distributed in its 18 floors, which go down the 90 meters of the cliff, yes, except for two floors that stand out and another two that sink underground.

The interior of the building is as striking as the interior. Photo: Lydia Sun

Of course, if there is an example of architectural integration with nature, something that is not always a good idea, it could be this: the design reflects the natural landscape of the quarry, hiding the facade inside the rocky gorge, protecting itself with a vegetation cover and interpreting the area where it is located with special sensitivity, the rocky cliffs and the surrounding waterfalls, almost seem to have arrived at the same time as the hotel.

One of its attractions, the indoor pool overlooking the quarry. Photo: Lydia Sun

Efficient and innovative

The Intercontinental Hotels Group chain has extensive experience in the sector, so they have set to work to operate this complex, oriented to leisure and sports. Aware of the novelty of its design and location, they are not lacking much publicity, the interest in this hotel has gone viral and there are many expectations that it is generating, especially for its design, although its location is not bad at all… near to Sheshan National Park and Chenshan Botanical Gardens.

The hotel also wants to take advantage of current times, adapting to the maximum environmental and social provisions. In this way, the complex boasts being fully adapted for people with reduced mobility, protects itself from the outside with an efficient envelope, which takes advantage of the nearby rock mass to level the temperature of the building, and provides clean energy (badly called) thanks to geothermal energy and various photovoltaic solar panels.

The walkway that surrounds the cliff with glass pavement is a cool one. Photo: Lydia Sun

Rock climbing and a host of other sports

The building, clinging to the natural walls, forms a sinuous wave interrupted by a glass waterfall, just in front of another natural one (what things, right?), Which you can see from any room. Of course it has a pool at the bottom of the cliff, away from annoying winds. It has a conference room for 1,000 people, underground facilities, which house a restaurant and luxury suites with walls that overlook an aquarium (wooow) 10 meters deep.

Sports enthusiasts find here their favorite place of worship, with the possibility of practicing natural rock climbing, water sports such as kayaking, and, for adrenaline junkies, the joy of bungee jumping from a cantilever over the quarry, Accessed by special elevators from the hotel’s basement. For me, it is enough risk to walk along a walkway that surrounds the cliff with glass pavement… or the terrible agony of enjoying an indoor pool (irony, of course).

The Mr. Fisher restaurant is integrated into the aquarium. Photo: Lydia Sun

At night the show continues

Of course there is more, such as a night light show that gives a lot of play, a Quarry bar where they serve drinks, whiskeys and liqueurs with ice cubes in the shape of quarry stones, a great gym where you can tone your body, a huge ballroom , a green terrace with spectacular views, a traditional Chinese restaurant, the Cai Feng Lou or a restaurant called Mr. Fisher, specialized in marine products (whose walls are part of the aquarium), apart, of course, from the wonderful artificial lake at the bottom of the (old) quarry.

Several media say that the investment has been around 250 million euros (it seems little to me) and that the rooms cost between 350 and 700 euros per night (I imagine that the suites are even more so). Inside the complex, an atrium (or interior covered patio) gives way to an artificial waterfall, modular to the delight of hotel users, a wooden staircase leads you to the deepest part of the quarry and, of course, There is a heliport in case you have to evacuate in an emergency… Or receive an illustrious guest! (You sign up?)

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