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A little kinky, a lot weird: China's 'out there' hotel features
Because without two-way peepholes and handcuffs, how are you supposed to get a good night's sleep?
And here -- in no particular order -- are 10 of the most bizarre picks.
1. Peepholes: Waterhouse at South Bund, Shanghai
Like something from a Hitchcock movie, each of the 19 rooms in this converted Shanghai warehouse hotel comes with peepholes in the walls and the door, so visitors can “spy on” guests as they pass by (or vice versa).
Taking the form of a small window, each “hole” comes with a shutter or a curtain -- a relief to the more modest guests.
NHDRO, the interior design firm behind the hotel, claims that this voyeuristic approach to living harks back to the traditional Shanghai residential alleyways called “longtangs” (弄堂). Among these labyrinth-like communities, neighbors would peep into each other’s houses.
Waterhouse at South Bund (水舍), 1-3 Maojiayuan Bei Lu, near Zhongshan Nan Lu, Shanghai, 上海市毛家园北路1-3号, 近中山南路, room rates: from RMB 1,750 , +86 21 6080 2988, www.waterhouseshanghai.com
2. Sleep in a circular community: Fuyulou, Fujian
Built more than 130 years ago, UNESCO-listed Hakka Tulous (土楼, earth buildings) in Fujian give travelers an authentic Chinese stay with a twist.
Typically owned by Hakka people (the Han Chinese who migrated to southeast China more than 1,000 years ago), each of these secure circular communities is home to hundreds of people who share the same ancestor.
The locals still carry on simple lives, surviving on farming, making handicrafts and renting out their homes to adventurous travelers.
Fuyulou is one of the most popular Tulou hotels in Fujian and provides rooms as well as dorms. Guest can choose to sleep on a 120-year-old Hakka-style wooden bed for RMB 120 a night.
Fuyulou (福裕楼客栈), Hong Hang Village, Hu Keng Town, Yongding County, Fujian, 福建省永定县湖坑镇洪坑村福裕楼, dorm rates: from RMB 50 per bed, room rates: from RMB 100, +86 137 9909 7962, www.fuyulou.net
3. Prison room: Aiwei Boutique Themed Hotel, Hefei
This 62-room boutique hotel in Anhui, which locals call the “love hotel,” provides an unconventional and kinky stay in China.
Each of the 13 rooms is themed so guests can get their “groove” on in entirely different atmospheres.
The waterbeds, cutesy purple bedsheets and suggestive toys will get you going; or play prison guard and prisoner in the room modeled on a jail cell (which happens to be the hotel’s most popular room type), complete with metal bars, handcuffs and a height chart.
Aiwei Boutique Themed Hotel (艾唯精品主题酒店), 1912 Bar Street, Shushan District, Hefei, Anhui 合肥蜀山区金大地1912商业街16号, from RMB 398, +86 551 563 6566
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4. The world’s longest laundry chute: Grand Hyatt Shanghai
Dirty loads drop from floor 85 right to the basement (the site of the Grand Hyatt’s laundry room) in Jin Mao Tower on a daily basis down a 400-meter laundry chute.
Of course, washing traveling this fast could kill someone, so the design company Bilkey Llinas installed buffers to brake the piles as they zip through the tube.
The 555-room hotel also hosts the world’s second largest atrium.
Head to the 56th floor and crane your neck upwards. Try counting the 28 corridors and 33 stories without getting your head in a spin, and snap a shot of the hypnotizing scene.
Grand Hyatt Shanghai (金茂君悦大酒店), 88 Shiji Da Dao, near Dongtai Lu, Shanghai 上海市世纪大道88号, 近东泰路, room rates: from RMB 1,900, +86 21 5049 1234, shanghai.grand.hyatt.com
5. Oxygen room: China World Hotel, Bejiing
Any guest staying at China World Hotel can take advantage of one bonkers perk -- an oxygen room.
Treatments in the nine-square-meter space (which cost RMB 80,000 to build) are carried out in 20-minute sessions.
Staff pump pure oxygen into the environment, which is thought to help reduce stress, strengthen exhausted bodies and create balance. Enjoy the soft Chinese music playing in the background while getting high on one of nature's purest creations.
China World Hotel (中国大饭店), 1 Jianguomenwai Da Jie, near Dongsanhuan Zhong Lu 建国门外大街1号, 近东三环中路, +86 10 6505 2299, from RMB 1,850, www.shangri-la.com/beijing/chinaworld
6. Cathedral-sized cave: Homa Chateau, Guilin
This 46-room hotel in Guilin is a dream for art lovers -- it is attached to a 5.5-square-kilometer RMB 700 million park which is filled with 200 artworks from more than 100 artists.
The more curious feature of the hotel, however, is a 10-meter-high cave hidden within the grounds.
The hotel can prepare unique events in this thousand-year-old venue, with blue illuminated stalactites and stalagmites, for up to 200 people.
They’ll arrange your soirees next to a glistening freshwater pool … just watch out for bats swooping over your vol-au-vents.
Homa Chateau (夏朵酒店), Yuzi Paradise, Dabu Town, Yanshan District, Guilin, Guangxi Province 广西桂林市雁山区大埠乡愚自乐园, from RMB 2,070, +86 773 386 7888, www.guilinhoma.com
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7. Beds in the floors: Commune by the Great Wall, Beijing
Comprising 35 inventive villas envisaged by 12 different Asian designers, this boutique hotel is situated in the wilderness of Shuiguan Great Wall (长城水关).
The quirkiest of all is the Suitcase House, designed by Hong Konger Gary Chang. From outside, the 250-square-meter house appears to hover in the countryside; inside, it’s even wackier.
Underneath the floor boards you’ll find hidden beds for guests, built right into the house.
In fact, most of the furniture is moveable and rooms' partitions can be opened and closed to suit privacy. Here you'll almost forget that one of man’s finest creations is right outside.
The Suitcase House is currently only available for business meetings. No overnight stay is allowed.
Commune by the Great Wall (长城脚下的公社), Wall exit No.53 at Shuiguan G6 Jingzang Highway, Beijing 北京市G6京藏高速公路53号水关长城出口; from RMB 2,300, +86 10 8118 1888, www.communebythegreatwall.com
8. Rooms in a Soviet aircraft carrier: Binhai Aircraft Hotel, Tianjin
China, and probably the world’s, first former Soviet aircraft carrier hotel is scheduled to open on May 1 aboard the Kiev (基辅号), in east Tianjin.
The luxury hotel is part of an 80,000-square-meter military theme park whose owner spent US$15 million transforming the cabins into 148 swanky rooms.
Suites are decked in white leather furniture, cow-hide rugs, silver-colored cushions and lashings of gold details, with the largest occupying 400 square meters.
There are also regular fireworks displays and performances on deck.
Binghai Aircraft, Bagua Bay, Yingcheng Town, Hangu District, Tianjin 天津市汉沽区营城镇八卦滩; from RMB 980, +86 22 6715 5588, www.binhaipark.cn
9. Highest library on the planet: JW Marriott Hotel Shanghai at Tomorrow Square
The 60-story skyscraper contains a library on the top floor, which stands 231 meters above street level and carries more than 300 books.
And that’s not all.
Inside the library, behind a certain bookshelf, there’s a secret room where guests can play James Bond (or Anne Frank, depending on the occasion) and conduct covert meetings.
It’s a popular spot for Chinese business tycoons, who’ll book the place out and discuss top-secret plans.
While up in the library, guests can experience the two private balconies with 360-degree views over People’s Square.
JW Marriott Hotel Shanghai at Tomorrow Square (上海明天广场JW万豪酒店), 399 Nanjing Xi Lu, near Huangpi Bei Lu, Shanghai 上海市南京西路399号, 近黄陂北路, room rates: from RMB 2,180, +86 21 5359 4969, www.marriott.com
10. Wall of drawers: The Opposite House, Beijing
Inspired by traditional Chinese medicine drawers, this bizarre wall sits in the middle of Bei, the Northern Asian restaurant in The Opposite House hotel in Beijing.
More than 6,000 drawers make up the wall and more than 60,000 handcrafted tiles cover the 80-square-meter area.
Creative minds can use it for events, and previous uses include an art instillation called "Through My Eyes," whose designers put thousands of pictures of different people’s eyes in the draws. The public could open each one and read a note about each pair.
The Opposite House (瑜舍), The Village Building 1, 11 Sanlitun Lu, near Dongzhimenwai Da Jie 三里屯路11号, 三里屯Village1号楼, 近东直门外大街; from RMB 2,500, +86 10 6417 6688, www.theoppositehouse.com
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