While most visitors to China are eager to see sights such as the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square, the Xian Terracotta Army Site, and Shanghai’s skyline, those who venture further afield will be greatly rewarded. In China’s Hebei province, just an hour from Beijing, travelers will find the “Tianzi Hotel,” an unusual structure called the “Biggest Image Building” by the Guinness World Records.
“Tianzi” translates loosely to “Son of Heaven,” which is a fitting name for the structure. Amid a city of otherwise nondescript multi-story buildings, the “Tianzi Hotel” stands out – a real understatement. The edifice is a giant statue of three old men in bright clothing that functions as a hotel. The men are modeled to resemble three Chinese gods from the Ming dynasty.
Each deity represents an attribute that is needed for a good life. On the far left is Shou. Jolly, white-haired and with a staff in one hand and a peach in the other, Shou is associated with longevity. His star sign is the South Pole which is believed to control life spans. In the middle stands Fu. He is robed in red and is associated with Jupiter and fortune. On the far right is Lu. The green-clad god represents prosperity, rank, influence and specifically, a government official’s salary.
Guests enter through a door on the right foot of Shou. The rooms of the hotel go all the way from the feet to gods’ heads. Guests can even stay in Shou’s peach.
The hotel is located in Langfang, Hebei province, China, but it is challenging to find. Most internet or map searches will likely put the hotel in a different location. Instead, visitors should rely on GPS coordinates if they want to visit: 39 57’10.02, 116 52’1.62.