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The exterior of InterContinental Shanghai Wonderland - day

China ‘earthscraper’: Shanghai unveils the world’s first underground hotel

By Amelia Holloway on 26th November 2018

A ‘deep pit hotel’ may not sound like the zenith of luxury travel, but here you would be mistaken. InterContinental Shanghai Wonderland is sophisticated, elegant and extremely exciting. Of course, from the world’s first and largest international luxury travel brand, it was never going to disappoint.

Staying true to the InterContinental roots, Shanghai Wonderland stands out for its innovation. In fact, the very founder of InterContinental, Juan Trippe, was an aviation pioneer before he launched the brand in 1946. Wonderland is built in a decommissioned quarry, nestled in the Sheshan Mountain Range. With all but two floors being subterranean, a green rooftop helps the hotel blend with its surroundings, while a glass sky-walk reveals the 88 meters of ground-breaking design descending into the depths of the quarry and lake below.

The exterior of InterContinental Shanghai Wonderland - night 2
Developed by Shimao Group and managed by IHG, InterContinental Shanghai Wonderland has been masterfully built into the side wall of a formerly abandoned quarry in Southwestern Shanghai

Ms. Lin Wang, CMO of Greater China, IHG, called it ‘an architectural masterpiece,’ for which the hotel was nominated as one of the architectural wonders of the world by National Geographic Channel’s MegaStructures series.

The art does not stop at the architecture. To celebrate reaching 200 destinations InterContinental partnered with contemporary artist Alexander Hall, also known under the alias Haut de Gamme. He created an instillation to epitomise not only the luxury of the new resort, but its ground-breaking design. The piece is comprised of 200 champagne bottles, individually hand-painted by Hall in bright, eye catching artwork, inspired by each destination. The finished bottles are suspended together in a mesmerising 200 to commemorate the milestone.

Guest Room
All 336 rooms are afforded spectacular views of waterfalls and the surrounding cliffs

But this hotel does not sacrifice luxury for design, and although descending deep into the quarry, all 336 rooms are afforded spectacular views of waterfalls and the surrounding cliffs. If this is not enough, those in search of maximum decadence should stay in one of the underwater bedrooms. Encased in a turquoise aquarium offering views of schools of fish swimming by, guests will be pampered by an around-the-clock butler service catering to ones every need. Also below water level is the Mr Fisher seafood restaurant, within an aquarium filled with fish to ensure the surroundings are just as tantalising as the food on offer.

Shanghai Wonderland lives up to its name, and the wider experience is never neglected. The hotel boasts an award-winning concierge service, with a series of curated experiences to immerse guests in the best Shanghai has to offer. Just 30km from Hongqiao Airport and close to attractions such as Chenshan Botanic Gardens and Sheshan National Park, it is ideally located to offer a real taste of China.

The exterior of InterContinental Shanghai Wonderland - night
Stretching 88 metres underground, the hotel was nominated as one of the architectural wonders of the world by the National Geographic Channel’s MegaStructures series due to its pioneering architectural design.

The hotel is not only ideal for a luxury get-away, but for business too – in the financial capital of China this could not be forgotten. Located right above water level is the Club InterContinental lounge, an exclusive venue ideal for business meetings, which offers a range of services for eligible guests. The hotel also boasts a business centre, and a 900 square metre Grand Ballroom, subdivided into three separate function rooms.

With such an array of incredible features and literally ground-breaking design, Wonderland is the place to stay if you are visiting Shanghai, and want to do so in style.