International hospitality from Iceland to Bosnia
No longer needed for its military muscle, a former Soviet aircraft carrier has been transformed into a theme park and luxury hotel in northern China.
A Chinese company bought the 275m-long ship named Kiev in 1996, and turned it into the Binhai Theme Park, located near Tianjin, in 2004. Much of the aircraft carrier remains intact, and an onsite military museum displays the missile firepower used in the ship’s Cold War heyday.
But the aircraft hasn’t completely escaped the marks of a typical theme park. Binhai regularly puts on Hollywood-style shows, complete with special effects, fireworks and actors dressed as renegade pirates. The carrier also recently opened a Russian-themed restaurant and embarked on an ambitious plan to offer overnight accommodations.
The 148-room hotel that opened this month cost more than 100 million yuan and covers 6,000sqm of the aircraft carrier. Shunning Soviet minimalism, the rooms are decked out with luxury furnishings, including marble floors and cowhide rugs. Of course, that luxury comes at a price: a one night stay in a double cabin-style room costs about 988 RMB per night, while an upgrade to one of the three presidential suites runs upward of 28,888 RMB per night.
Those looking to experience life on an aircraft carrier for less can visit the park between 9 am and 5 pm daily for only 160 RMB.