Skyscrapers are passé with the opening of a new ‘ground-scraper’ luxury hotel in Shanghai, China. Built 88 metres deep in an abandoned quarry by Chinese developer Shimao Group, the new luxury hotel redefines hospitality by taking guests through novel experiences.

Standing 18 storeys tall, the newly opened Intercontinental Shanghai Wonderland, also known as Shimao Quarry Hotel was built over a period of 12 years and involved the combined efforts of more than 5,000 architects, engineers, designers and construction workers. The hotel is located 30 kilometres from Shanghai's Hongqiao airport and offers 336 guest rooms.

Design highlights include two floors of underwater suites looking into a large aquarium, panoramic views of an artificial waterfall, and sports and recreation facilities including rock climbing and bungee jumping among others.

While several underground accommodations have been built across the world, the Intercontinental Shanghai Wonderland is the first 5-star hotel to be built in a former quarry. The quarry, which was operational during World War II, was shut down in 2000 due to new environmental regulations.

Incidentally, the Intercontinental Shanghai Wonderland was designed by British architect Martin Jochman, who also designed the prestigious Al Arab Jumeirah in Dubai.

With the quarry as his primary inspiration, Jochman designed the hotel to integrate with its natural environment.