If there is a more stunning hotel in China than the InterContinental Shanghai Wonderland, we are yet to stay in it. A bold work of architectural design, it is built into the cliffs of a decommissioned quarry, and has been hailed as one of the 10 modern architectural wonders of the world.
Located in Sheshan, around 45 minutes from downtown Shanghai, it also happens to be extremely family-friendly – perfect at a time when school rules dictate that kids cannot leave the city limits. First off is the sheer fun of the place; only two floors are above ground, the other 15 storeys plunging 88 meters into the quarry, down to its lake… and below. That’s right, there are underwater suites featuring in-room aquariums!
Book early if you want one of those, they get snapped up well in advance. Still, if you miss out on sleeping submersed, the above water rooms all enjoy a spectacular view of the quarry, and are designed to emphasize the ‘waterfall’ and ‘rock wall’ elements.
The quarry-view balcony becomes useful come nightfall, when each evening a stunning lightshow takes place, with lasers being shot through huge water spray to create whole scenes to mesmerizing effect. A drone show rounds out the spectacular. I-Max eat your heart out, this show is worth the room rate on its own.
On the dining front, delight the kids by heading down to Mr. Fisher. A specialty seafood restaurant located one floor below water level, the dining room is enveloped in a sea of water creatures – from sharks to rays – swimming in a 10-metre-deep custom built aquarium. Head there at the weekend and might even catch a glimpse of a mermaid!
If you want to dine above the watermark, Commune all-day dining transforms the notion of the buffet into an upscale experience, and features a separate children‘s play area. Cai Feng Lou Chinese Restaurant, meanwhile, creates exquisite specialties from Shanghai and Zhejiang and Guangdong provinces and, while upscale, is more than welcoming to families.
You can get up close to all that water, too – kayaks are available to take out on the lake. The indoor swimming pool, meanwhile, features floor-to-ceiling windows offering a beautiful view of the quarry waterfall. You can also scale the rock face on a custom made climbing wall. For those brave enough – and we’re proud to say we were – the glass-floor skywalk winds its way along the sheer cliffs above for a head-spinning thrill.
As well as the two theme parks right on the hotel doorstep (Wonderland Park and Smurfs Park), nearby attractions include Sheshan National Forest Park, Chenshan Botanical Garden, Tianma Country Club, Guangfulin Park, Shanghai Sculpture Park and Shanghai Happy Valley. More than enough to justify a second visit. And a third. And a… can we just move in, please?
See a listing for InterContinental Shanghai Wonderland