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July 30, 2009

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Rooms to have true water views

CONSTRUCTION of a five-star hotel that will be largely below ground in Shanghai's Songjiang District is back on the agenda and work will begin on the project in August.

The 21-story hotel will be built in an abandoned quarry pit filled with water in a resort area at the Sheshan Hill.

It is the country's first hotel of this kind, and many technical difficulties, including structural and emergency-evacuation procedures, had to be worked out, a resort official said yesterday.

There will be two floors under water, 17 sitting over the water and two separate stories above ground level.

The lowest two floors, with glass walls, will feature restaurants and cafes. Aquarium fish will swim amid artificial rocks and coral reefs.

"National building standards could not be applied to the country's 'first hotel beneath the ground,'" said Xu Yinzhang, director of the management committee of the resort. "The overall project design has been revised several times and gone through many mock tests in a simulated environment to get construction approval."

Evacuation routes proved a major headache for designers.

However, people in the hotel will have two-way evacuation routes accessible from the top or bottom of the pit.

The pit's steep walls will provide a great view for guests, and extreme sports, such as bungee jumping, are scheduled.

The hotel will be part of a complex that also features Shanghai Happy Valley Theme Park and the historic Guangfulin Cultural Park.

Construction on the hotel was due to start at the end of last year but was postponed because of the economic crisis.


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