“Earth-scraper” hotel to open in Shanghai’s unused quarry

SHANGHAI, Nov. 15 — An 88-meter-deep hotel, built vertically along the precipice of an underground, water-filled quarry, made its public debut in Shanghai Thursday.

Located in Songjiang district, the Intercontinental Shanghai Wonderland, also known as Shimao Quarry Hotel, has boasted its engineering feat and cliff-view rooms that allow guests to stare into the abyss.

The 336-room hotel has 18 floors — two underwater and two above ground — complete with a restaurant and sports and recreation facilities including rock climbing and bungee jumping, according to its developer Shimao Group.

The deluxe hotel faces an artificial waterfall cascading down to a pond at the bottom of the quarry. It also retains a cliff-side path used to transport rocks and much of the pit’s original fauna.

Exploited during World War II, the quarry was shut down in 2000 due to new environmental protection regulations. It began its transformation in 2006 when Shimao Group decided to make use of the deep pit to build a hotel. The construction took 12 years to complete.

British architect Martin Jochman, who designed the hotel, said the pit is the source of his inspirations and he aspired to build a hotel that integrates with its natural environment.

“It’s the first time to turn an abandoned quarry into a wonderful hotel beneath the ground. This is such a unique opportunity that gives me some really interesting ideas of reshaping the relationship between city and nature,” Martin said.

Su Shuangxi, a 63-year-old resident who used to be a worker in the quarry, was amazed by the transformation of the pit.

“I’m thrilled to see the miracle. The scar of the city has been rejuvenated into the star of the city,” Su said.
The hotel plans to officially open on November 20. – XINHUA