Skip to main content

China’s Shimao Wonderland is a World-first Luxury Hotel Built in a Water-Filled Quarry

JADE+QA

China seems intent on giving Dubai a run for its money on out-of-this-world construction projects. When the former announced the Waterworld Hotel project, a world-first luxury hotel built inside an abandoned, water-filled rock quarry, we filed it away as just another insane hotel concept. Now China is building it, and it looks every bit as amazing as the original concept.

It seems the hotel’s marketing department wisely realized how unfortunate a “Waterworld” brand could be. They’ve ditched any perceived ties to that Kevin Costner disaster and rebranded as the Shimao Wonderland Intercontinental Hotel (a.k.a. “Songjiang Quarry Hotel”). Situated 20 miles from the center of Shanghai, the hotel includes a sprawling design, modern luxury amenities, and state-of-the-art, eco-friendly features.

Songjiang Hotel construction

The architecture was inspired by the abandoned quarry to blend into the surrounding landscape. The green, tree-covered rooftop and cascading waterfall down the front façade appear (almost) natural. The above-water rooms on the top 18 floors boast private balconies that overlook the water-filled space. In the two underwater levels are additional, premium guest rooms, plus a restaurant, a three-story aquarium, and a wellness complex with water sports facilities and a pool. Among the hotel’s most striking features is a full-featured sports center that cantilevers over the quarry. Here, guests can engage in a variety of outdoor activities, including bungee jumping, rock climbing, and paragliding.

The 380-room property will also be surprisingly eco-conscious. Designers worked hard to incorporate a comprehensive sustainability program and protect against future damage to the existing landscape. High-tech energy production and retrieval systems mean the hotel can fulfill most of its power needs — including heating and light — through renewable means like solar and geothermal.

From an architectural perspective, the hotel is a marvel of modern engineering. Over the last decade, more than 5,000 designers, engineers, and architects were brought in to devise the means to bring the necessary building materials into the quarry. The final concept was realized by Martin Jochman with JADE+QA and Atkins, the now-famous design firm behind Dubai’s Burj Al Arab Jumeirah, the self-proclaimed “world’s most luxurious hotel.”

Shimao Wonderland Intercontinental is scheduled to open later in 2018, but the reservation system is unavailable at this time.

Editors' Recommendations

Mike Richard
Mike Richard has traveled the world since 2008. He's kayaked in Antarctica, tracked endangered African wild dogs in South…
These are the 7 best golf courses in the world
Championship Course at Royal County Down

Royal County Down Championship Course, Scotland Royal County Down

Visiting and playing at famous golf courses is like skiing at noted resorts. At your local course (or mountain), you can refine your skills and enjoy what the sport offers. Over time, you might yearn for more — like a world-class course design or a towering peak — and traveling to the finest venues lets you realize that goal.

Read more
This is the best time to visit Portugal
When should you book your vacation?
Portugal

Are you thinking about planning a trip to Portugal? Known for its stunning coastline, charming cities, and delectable foods, Portugal is a popular year-round vacation destination. However, the best time to visit Portugal depends on what you are looking for. Whether you’re a budget traveler seeking the best deals, a beach lover chasing the sun, or an adventurer eager to immerse yourself in local festivals and events, timing your trip right can make all of the difference. From the hot temperatures of summer to the festive charm of winter, let’s discover the best time for you to head out on the perfect Portuguese adventure.
The best time to visit for good weather

For travelers seeking the best weather, summer (June to August) is the ideal time to visit Portugal. This season boasts the warmest and sunniest days, with daytime temperatures often reaching the high 80sºF and minimal rainfall. This time is perfect for beach vacations, particularly in the Algarve region, where you’ll find crystal clear waters and golden sands. 

Read more
What to do in Nashville: Don’t miss out on these incredible activities
Need help planning your trip to Music City?
Nashville

Looking pretty, Music City. Are you thinking about taking a trip to Nashville this year? Nashville offers a rich blend of culture, history, and entertainment that promises a memorable experience for every visitor. Whether you’re a music enthusiast looking to explore iconic venues or a foodie ready to dive into delicious Southern cuisine, Nashville has something for you. If you aren’t sure what to do in Nashville, TN, we’ve got you covered. Here are just a few of the best things to do in Nashville, Tennessee.
Take a stroll down Lower Broadway

Lower Broadway consistently makes the list of the top things to do in Nashville. This vibrant stretch, often referred to simply as “Broadway,” is lined with honky-tonk bars, live music venues, and busy eateries that showcase the best of Nashville’s legendary music scene. Lower Broadway is not only the heart of Nashville’s nightlife but also a hub where famous musicians bring their flair to the local scene. Jason Aldean’s Kitchen + Rooftop Bar offers a mix of Southern cuisine and stunning rooftop views, while Blake Shelton’s Ole Red combines great food with live music. 
Indulge in some hot chicken

Read more