Travel

This futuristic underwater luxury hotel is built in a quarry

Finally, an abandoned strip mine that won't launch you into a monologue about the evils of environmental degradation, the $555 million Shimao Wonderland InterContinental is an epic 380-room, five-star, underwater-cave hotel-meets-sports-complex currently being built into the side of a partially flooded Chinese quarry.

Located thirty miles from Shanghai near Tianmenshan Mountain, the S-shaped hotel (or maybe it's more like a "6") from British design firm Atkins will be a “groundscraper”, since it'll jut only 50 feet above the quarry but drop 19 stories below it. If all goes to plan, it'll eventually be part of a huge theme park, as well. Whether it will have a Wizarding World of Harry Potter or roller coaster to rival one of these record-setters is unknown.

Instead of draining the quarry (which makes sense), they're gonna fill it up to create an artificial lake for water sports. Awesome, right? Even more so when you consider they're also installing a futuristic waterfall that cascades over the hotel's façade. And that there'll be rock climbers scaling the surrounding cliffs. And bungee jumpers leaping off of them.

So, wait, if the hotel is now sitting in a lake, doesn't that mean...? Correct, the two bottom floors will be entirely underwater. Very astute. And what do you do with two underwater floors? You build an aquarium, of course. Seriously, this place is going to be insane. There'll also be an underwater restaurant, and ironically, an underwater swimming pool.

Also, just in case you were wondering, the small UFO-like structure hovering on the right is the lobby. It's intentionally designed to look like a flying saucer landed atop a Chinese quarry. Just because.

Sophie-Claire Hoeller is Thrillist's über-efficient German associate travel editor, and can't wait for this to open. Follow her @Sohostyle