7 most unique luxury hotels in China: from Lady Gaga’s birthday spot at Hotel Eclat Beijing and the underwater InterContinental Shanghai Wonderland, to a fairytale dream at The Castle Hotel Dalian

The Intercontinental Shanghai Wonderland is in part built underground. Photo: Handout
After the powerful grip China faced due to the ripple effects of Covid-19, the country is bouncing back to business. Reports show positive growth in hotel construction activity as well as occupancy rates, a result of increased staycations, domestic, business and leisure travel, and relaxed restrictions after the two-year hiatus.
The Sheraton Huzhou is an architectural vision. Photo: Handout

As business picks back up and tourists start to return, now is the time to take inventory of the best places and hotels to visit in the region. China is known for its grandeur in buildings, its modern and contemporary designs taking architecture to new frontiers.

Keeping that in mind, we have identified the most unique hotels in the country, which are sure to raise your eyebrows a tad, both in surprise and awe.

The Castle Hotel Dalian. Photo: Handout

Be it a beautiful ring at the centre of a lake, or luxury underground splendour in an abandoned quarry, or the architectural marvel of uprooting and assembling centuries’ old buildings to create a new contemporary hotel, this list is sure to pique your curiosity. Without further ado …

1. Intercontinental Shanghai Wonderland

Intercontinental Shanghai Wonderland is partially built underground. Photo: Handout

At least 17 out of 19 stories are underground, of which two are underwater! Located around 30km from Hongqiao Airport, the hotel took shape in an abandoned quarry. It was designed by Martin Jochman and his studio Jade + QA, consisting of 337 guestrooms, and took more than 10 years to build.

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Inside an underwater bedroom at the Intercontinental Shanghai Wonderland. Photo: Handout

The hotel gives off a fantasy film setting vibe and is the most fascinating indoors with all the dark mystery it exhibits.

2. The Castle Hotel Dalian

The Castle Hotel in Dalian, China is a fairytale dream. Photo: Handout

A Bavarian castle in China sounds like a Disney script. And yet here we are. The Castle is a 292-guestroom hotel that was recently opened in the city of Dalian. A part of the Luxury Collection portfolio, the hotel offers a global rainbow of experiences under one Chinese roof. You will find influences from Europe, Australia and Japan, blending into Chinese architecture as a cultural haven.

The interiors at The Castle Hotel in Dalian, China. Photo: Handout

Along with the locals, this stunning property is also favoured by Instagrammers and YouTubers from different parts of the world.

3. Hotel Eclat Beijing

Hotel Eclat Beijing is situated in Chaoyang. Photo: Handout
The five-star hotel is situated within the iconic Parkview Green complex in Chaoyang. The hotel forms part of the two million sq ft landmark that has carved a special place in the city thanks to its unique design and sustainability features. The hotel features 100 rooms and practically drips luxury – attractive enough for Lady Gaga to choose it as a location for one of her birthday bashes.

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The interiors at China’s Hotel Eclat Beijing. Photo: Handout
Its suite themes are bizarre yet fascinating – Darth Vader, Barbie, Harry Potter and Midnight in Paris really cannot fail to impress!

4. Sheraton Huzhou Hot Spring Resort

Sheraton Huzhou is shaped like a tube out of the water. Photo: Handout

The Sheraton Huzhou Hot Spring Resort is shaped like a tube out of the water and gives the ancient “city of silk” a contemporary stroke. Its 83 suites and 38 villas all come with private balconies and are blessed with ample natural lighting and views of Lake Taihu.

5. Commune by the Great Wall, Beijing

Commune by the Great Wall is a lesser-known luxury resort that’s built on exclusivity. Photo: Handout

Here’s a luxury resort you would have never seen or heard of before. Originally conceived of by Chinese real estate developer couple Pan Shiyi and Zhang Xin, 12 Asian architectural brains designed the property. Commune is now managed and operated by Hyatt.

The resort has two clusters, the Walnut Valley and Stone Valley, featuring all manner of different villas: the Suitcase House designed by Hong Kong-based Gary Chang, the Cantilever House by China-based Antonio Ochoa, and the Bamboo Wall House by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma.

The Bamboo Wall House at Commune by the Great Wall designed by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma. Photo: Handout

This is an Asian amalgamation that sounds too fascinating to be true.

6. Park Hyatt Ningbo Resort and Spa

Park Hyatt Ningbo Resort and Spa features sweeping views of Hangzhou. Photo: Handout

The 49-floor Park Hyatt’s sense of luxury stems from sweeping views of Hangzhou and its hills. The hotel offers a great blend of modern and traditional. The design mimics a Chinese merchant’s mansion from the Ming dynasty, with long five-metre (16-foot) windows in its public spaces.

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Guests can also enjoy spectacular views of the Qiantang River at Park Hyatt Ningbo Resort and Spa. Photo: Handout

Guests can enjoy spectacular views of the Qiantang River while sipping on some traditional longjing tea.

7. Amanyangyun, Shanghai

Amanyangyun Shanghai is one of the city’s most luxurious resorts. Photo: Handout

A part of the Aman’s portfolio of resorts, this hotel was part of restoration works to a 2,000-year-old forest, as well as other historical buildings from the Ming and Qing dynasties. The task involved dismantling and rebuilding these buildings on the new site where the hotel is located.

Inside the beautiful Amanyangyun resort. Photo: Handout

The ancient appeal is evident all throughout the hotel.

This article originally appeared on Luxurylaunches
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  • Pop queen Lady Gaga spent her birthday at Hotel Eclat in Beijing, which has suites themed after Darth Vader, Barbie, Harry Potter and Midnight in Paris
  • Commune by the Great Wall in Beijing has villas designed by architects Gary Chang and Kengo Kuma, while Amanyangyun features restored buildings from the Ming and Qing dynasties