Congratulations to the Hotel Mercure Santo Domingo in Madrid, Spain. The Guinness Book of World Records has just announced that the site’s courtyard vertical garden is the new 2012 record holder for “the largest vertical garden in the world.”

Built last year, the stunning green installation boasts over 2,500 plants from 110 species covering a 75-foot high wall and spanning the size of two tennis courts. There’s also the 65-foot waterfall that cuts through the center and, naturally, throws off a dramatic light show at night. ”Our inspiration was the hanging gardens of Babylon,” said a hotel spokeswoman. “We wanted guests in the interior rooms to have something nice to look out on.”

More than that, the vertical garden absorbs some 55,000 lbs of CO2 each year and has the same cooling effect as 50 air conditioners. According to one source, it cost just under $500K to create. More pictures below.

Photo credit: Architizer/Guinness