Shimao Wonderland – Shanghai, China - Atlas Obscura
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Shanghai, China

Shimao Wonderland

The world's first hotel built in an abandoned water-filled quarry. 

The Shimao Wonderland Intercontinental (also known as the Songjiang Quarry Hotel) will be the world’s first five-star hotel built inside an underground, water-filled quarry. Expected to open at the end of 2018, it will also be one of the most eco-friendly places to stay in China.

Built into an abandoned quarry about 20 miles from Shanghai, the hotel includes two underwater floors and a green rooftop that blends into the surrounding countryside. The unique design takes advantage of the location and natural elements such as the rocky cliffs, waterfalls, and surrounding hills. A glass waterfall pours over the façade, where all 18 floors of above-ground rooms have balconies and views of the quarry.

The underground floors include rooms and a restaurant that face a 33-foot-deep aquarium, plus a leisure complex, swimming pool, and water sports. The hotel’s roof is at ground level and covered with grass and trees to fit into the surrounding topography and preserve the local environment. A sports center is cantilevered over the quarry for extreme activities such as rock climbing and bungee jumping.

The luxury resort hotel is not only a dazzling design concept: It was built to prevent further ecological damage to the environment around it and features an extensive sustainability program. The hotel generates its own power, heating, and lighting through the use of geothermal and solar energy. And the design incorporates the quarry’s rock face, reflects the elements, and includes green vegetation on the roof and elsewhere throughout the building.

An engineering marvel, the Shimao Wonderland Intercontinental was designed by the same British firm that designed the stunning Burj Al Arab Hotel in Dubai. It took 10 years to build partially because novel solutions were needed to transport materials down into the quarry. The chief engineer called it a “fight with gravity” that took more than 5,000 architects, engineers, designers, and workers to build. 

Know Before You Go

The hotel is expected to open in late-2018. The resort will have 380 guest rooms, a conference centre that can accommodate 1,000, and a series of restaurants and banquet facilities.