Fact: pandas are cute. Adorable, one could argue. Another fact: someone, other than the National Zoo in Washington, DC, is finally capitalizing on that cuteness. And that someone is sorta, most definitely, weird in the head.
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The Panda Inn in China officially opens next month (although they've been accepting reservations since February), and is said to be the world’s first panda-themed hotel. Can't imagine there will be a debate about this.
Yes, that's a panda waiting in your room -- possibly to serve you some tea and bamboo shoots. While the species may be endangered, there's no shortage of creepy hotel staff roaming the building dressed in panda suits. The hotel aims to be “a cultural ocean" of pandas.
In fact, the entire 32-room hotel is inundated with everything panda -- from panda art, furniture, and towels, to slippers, pajamas, and even telephones that look like the cuddly bears. Staff members are also totally amenable to inappropriate touching and/or helping you recreate your favorite scene from Titanic upon request.
You won't find panda meat on the bistro menu, but even the food and dishes are panda-shaped. Of course they are.
Located at the foot of Emei Mountain in the southwest corner of China's Sichuan province, the hotel's two hours from the Chengdu Research Base (home to the most captive-born giant pandas in the world) and 100 miles from the Sichuan Giant Panda Sanctuaries, where about a third of the world's pandas actually live. So, yes, things are starting to make a little sense. Sort of.
Each of the hotel's rooms embrace the panda theme, but with a twist; for example, there's a Sailor Moon room, and this apparent tribute to the country's rhythmic gymnastics team. Are all of those ribbon-twirling pandas over the age of 16, we wonder? Hmmm.