China plans ping-pong hotel

Sports fans are well catered for by a new hotel design which popped up in China this month - shaped like a ping-pong racket.

The wacky design, which will reportedly be built in the city of Huainan, in East China's Anhui province, is perfectly modelled on an upside down table tennis racket and is designed to be built in a planned Olympic park.

The detail of the 150-meter design is impressive - even down to the handle at the top (designed for sightseeing) and the rounded windows of the guestrooms which resemble the rubber surface of the racquet.

Jin Chang, director with Huainan Municipal Bureau of Sports, said "an erected ping-pong racket has a perfect architectural shape for a hotel."

It's also a nod to the phenomenal popularity of the game in China, a country that has produced more Grand Slam winners than anywhere else and where it is affectionately claimed as a national sport.

Other buildings in the park, which is designed to host international competitions and is said to cost 1.8 billion yuan, appear to take the shape of a football, a volleyball and a basketball.

It's a unique design, but its not the first time hotel designers have turned to sports for some inspiration - or publicity.

The Jumeirah Beach Hotel, completed in Dubai in 1997, is designed as a wave to the Burj al Arab, a gigantic sail shape which has become one of Dubai's most iconic images.

In 2007, a giant rugby ball hotel was erected in Paris, at a cost of some $4 million, to celebrate the Rugby World Cup, although rooms cost approximately $10,000 a night.

Original story: http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2011-03/23/content_12217630.htm

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