Ping-Pong Paddle Hotel to Highlight Planned Chinese Sports Complex

Hong Kong or Ping-Pong, that is the question for travelers looking to add some sports to their vacation sightseeing. While the former is already a popular tourist destination, Ping Pong deserves consideration as well – when the world's first (and probably last) Ping Pong paddle-shaped hotel opens in Huainan city, located in East China's Anhui province.

“The design idea is from ping-pong,” stated Jin Chang, a director with the Huainan Municipal Bureau of Sports. “An erected ping-pong racket has a perfect architectural shape for a hotel.” Sure it does, Jin, and it's a wonder why thousands of hotel-shaped hotels around the world haven't realized this yet.

Huainan's Olympic Park is expected to cover 67 hectares. Besdies the ping-pong paddle hotel, renowned architect Mei Jikui has designed 4 stadiums whose exteriors look like an American football, a soccer ball, a basketball and a volleyball. Lush landscaping, a swimming pool and watersports facilities round out the daring concept shown in a CGI rendering above.

Is this just another Dubai-style pipe dream? maybe not – according to China Daily, “The overall investment of the park is said to reach 1.8 billion yuan (around $280 million) in three phases within five years.” In addition, the Huainan Municipal Bureau of Sports and China Sports Industry Group have signed an agreement to host “multiple sports games with international standards” in the sports-themed stadiums over the next 20 years.

As for the 150 meter (495 ft) tall, 300 million yuan ($45 million) hotel, its design features guest rooms over conference facilities in the “paddle” topped by a glass-enclosed sightseeing section in the “handle”. Whew, what a racket – sorry, couldn't resist.

Huainan has a population of about 2.4 million and the city's main industries and coal mining and farming. The average income for farmers in rural districts was just 5,746 yuan ($876) in 2010 and compared with that, this over-the-top sports complex may seem a tad extravagant. Then again, Anhui is also home to the musical instrument inspired Piano House (right) so perhaps at this point nothing's really shocking anymore. (via China Daily and Anhui News, Piano House image via Xinhuanet)