What was supposed to be the flagship hotel of the Mandarin Oriental chain in China, has turned into a 40 story inferno.
The fire has lit up the Beijing skyline, and took place in the final hours of the Chinese Lunar New Year – when many people are setting off fireworks.
The Mandarin Oriental Beijing is located next to the new headquarters of China Central Television, but that building is said to be undamaged.
A grand opening was scheduled for later this year. The hotel was originally slated to open in time for the 2008 Olympics but has been delayed several times.
The hotel portion is just a small part of the complex called the “Television Cultural Center” and was designed by award winning Dutch Architect Rem Koolhaas of OMA, who is also responsible for the design of the neighboring CCTV building.
According to eyewitness reports, the entire hotel has suffered damage, but thankfully nobody was present in the building at the time.
Update: Shanghaiist has more photos and video clips of the fire. The fire is apparently so intense that the building is close to a total collapse.