Blog 12: Marvellously Engineered Hotels
How would you like to be sipping a cocktail (or many cocktails!) at the open deck of the Marina Bay Sands, Singapore right now? You'd kill for it, right! So would I. After all, it is one of the most popular engineering and architectural marvels of the hotel industry. Its unique ship-like structure standing on broad pillars does dominate Singapore's skyline and has been the location for various film shoots.
You've guessed it right, today's blog is going to talk about my picks of some of the most marvellously engineered hotels and the next one is going to be about some of the most marvellously architected hotels of the world. Let's get started.
1- A one-of-a-kind, adults-only getaway awaits you at Free Spirit Spheres, Vancouver. This experience has in-store for you wooden spheres suspended from the forest trees using three ropes. The sphere resides in the centre of the triangle formed by the three trees. It can be slung from 5 to 100 meters off the ground, depending on the size of the trees. The entrance can be reached by a winding staircase. The design combines a tree-house and sailboat technology. These spherical accommodations are insulated using bubble wrap and the interiors have vinyl upholstery stapled to connect the north and south poles to provide utmost comfort in the colder months. The furniture inside is movable and comes with a bed, a closet, desk and seating arrangements. The hull of the first wooden sphere took about 2000 hours to complete!
The three types of 'rooms' at Free Spirit Spheres
2- Located on the famous Falez cliffs near Antalya, the world's only revolving hotel, The Marmara, Antalya gives guests magnificent 360 degrees views. The complete 'Revolving Loft' annex building moves, with a full rotation of its 24 guest bedrooms taking anywhere between 2 and 22 hours. The rotation is smooth, aided by 6 electric motors in the basement. This 2750 ton building floats in a tank holding only 478 tons of water. With the 3 bottom most floors submerged, there is a lounge at the entrance and rooms on the other 3 floors. Yet somehow, the taps still work and the toilets still flush. You can go to sleep facing the sea and wake up facing the pool at this extraordinary and super luxurious floa-tating hotel!
The revolving loft and the main building of the hotel
3- The first hotel to be conceptualised as a harmonious copy of a mountain, The Magic Mountain Lodge, is located in the Huilo Huilo Biological Reserve. The water from the area is of particular purity. The project of a mountain is developed from the idea of showing the energy and life of this element, from which life arises and contains the magic of old tree-forests inside, discovering in each of their details, beings and elements that are unique and an irreplaceable part of the Native Forest. The 12 room hotel has an in-house restaurant and all meals are available there while you are away from civilisation.
Almost looks like Rapunzel's quarters
4- Located in Songjiang district, the Intercontinental Shanghai Wonderland, also known as Shimao Quarry Hotel, is an 88-meter-deep hotel, built vertically along the precipice of an underground, water-filled quarry. The 336-room hotel has 18 floors, two underwater and two above the ground, complete with a restaurant and sports and recreation facilities including rock climbing and bungee jumping. The deluxe hotel faces an artificial waterfall cascading down to a pond at the bottom of the quarry. It also retains a cliff-side path used to transport rocks and much of the pit's original fauna. Engineering consultancy Atkins even won an international design competition for the design of the five-star hotel back in August 2006, and then was developed by Shimo. This is IHG's landmark 200th hotel!
An aerial view of the transformed quarry
5- Touted as a blend of a cosmic and poetic marvel, the Attrap Reves Hotel in France is more like an engineering marvel. These transparent bubbles are maintained by a silent blower which continuously allows fresh air to get in and keep a high level of oxygen and are made up of recycled plastic designed to not let you shut your eyes even once you're inside them. You can practically look around 360 degrees and stargaze at night. The beauty of the surrounding landscapes is at your feet (literally) and the accommodation also comes with a telescope for you to really zoom in to see the moon craters. This family-run, small-scale venture is decidedly the most intimate glamping experience you can get in romantic France!
Ready to stargaze when the night falls?
6- The Hanging Gardens of Bali, a hidden gem at the corner of a densely populated tropical forest, is a true engineering marvel with the villas of the resort spread over a steep slope that warrants 450 steps from the top to the bottom. A winding path of 88 steps leads from the reception to the restaurant, built with Feng Shui principles to mean infinity and stability of energy: an important factor when building on a 45 degree angle. A stable structure had to be designed and built to accommodate the 41 infinity pools literally hanging over the jungle valley with groundbreaking innovative engineering feats. The 44 private villa resort also houses the world’s most remarkable and most photographed two-storey infinity swimming pool. I don't know about you, but this resort sure sounds like my dream destination!
The Hanging Gardens of Bali
After reading about these marvellously engineered hotels, do you still fancy that cocktail at Marina Bay Sands or have you changed the location to any of these other hotels in your head? I certainly have!
I'll be back with the next blog on marvellously architected hotels (I think that'll be a tough list to choose from) and why don't you let me know in the comments below what other topics you'd like me to cover.
Currently programming my Bali trip, I'll be back soon,