The World’s Best Underwater Accommodation
Plans have been revealed for the world’s first underwater villa resort, and it probably won’t come as much of a surprise that it can be found in Dubai. But it’s not the only place where guests can spend the night below sea level – here are the world’s most spectacular underwater hotels.
Tamara Hinson is a Surrey-based freelance travel journalist who writes for newspapers such as the Telegraph and Guardian, along with in-flight publications and travel websites. She’s especially interested in getting off the beaten track and some of the more unusual destinations she’s visited include North Korea and Benin.
Banner Image Credit: iStock.com/Aleynikov
The Floating Seahorse, Dubai
Image credit: Floating Seahorse
Perhaps Dubai developers didn’t learn their lesson after the highly-anticipated World project (300 islands representing Earth’s various landmasses) started sinking. The emirate’s latest ambitious development is the Floating Seahorse, which was unveiled at last year’s Dubai International Boat Show. The project will comprise of a series of floating villas, each with a submerged bedroom and a spacious upper deck. Although the opening date has yet to be confirmed, the first villa has now been completed. And is, we’re assured, still afloat.
Utter Inn, Västerås, Sweden
Image credit: Utter Inn
The waters of Lake Mälaren might not have parrot fish or day-glo coral, but how many people can say they’ve spent the night underwater in a Swedish lake? The Utter Inn was the brainchild of local artist Mikael Genberg, who opened his one-room hotel in June 2000. The upper level, encircled by a sunbathing platform, houses a kitchen and toilet, while the lower level, three metres below the water, has two single beds. The structure is located in the middle of the lake, one kilometre from the shore, and guests are transferred by rubber dingy.
The Water Discus, Dubai
Image credit: Water Discus
Fancy something a little roomier? Then the Water Discus could be for you. Although details are scarce, the hotel is due to open in the waters off either Dubai or the Maldives in the next few years. Comprising of a series of interlinked saucer-shaped structures, the 21 suites will be housed inside a central circular building attached to the sea floor. Facilities include a dive school (handy, considering its location), while a series of inflatable ballast tanks will allow the hotel to be repositioned in the event of a tsunami.
Jules’ Undersea Lodge, Key Largo, US
Image credit: Jules’ Undersea Lodge
This Floridian hideaway is one of the world’s first underwater hotels. Visitors will need to be Scuba-certified divers, because the structure is nine metres underwater. And it’s got an interesting history too – in the 1970s, it was a marine research lab located in the waters off Puerto Rico. Today, it’s got two bedrooms and one bathroom, and there’s even optional room service – divers will swim down and deliver dinner to your door (or hatch). Pizza is apparently the most popular option, although we advise steering clear of the seafood toppings (unless you fancy a side order of guilt).
Ocean Suite, Resorts World Sentosa, Singapore
Image credit: Resorts World Sentosa
Resorts World Sentosa’s Ocean Suite is ideal for those prone to claustrophobia. Rather than being fully underwater, the suite features floor-to-ceiling glass windows which look out into one of the world’s largest aquariums. There are over 40,000 species to admire, including glowing jellyfish, stingrays and hammerhead sharks. One of the most exciting moments is feeding time, when scuba divers enter the tank to serve the inhabitants their dinner, just a few metres away.
The Poseidon Resort, Fiji
Image credit: Poseidon Resort
We’re a bit baffled by the decision to name this underwater hotel after a fictional, doomed ship which sank after being hit by a tidal wave, but there you go. Fiji’s Poseidon Resort is being touted as the world’s first underwater resort, although the exact opening date has yet to be confirmed. There will be 24 suites (each costing £9,000 per week), along with a restaurant, gym, bar and chapel. The concept was dreamt up by L. Bruce Jones, chairman of U.S. Submarines, and rumour has it that the waiting list already includes 150,000 names.
Underwater Suites, Atlantis The Palm, Dubai
Image credit: Atlantis the Palm
Skylines and pretty beaches can all get rather boring after a while. At Atlantis The Palm Dubai’s underwater suites, guests get spectacular views into the resort’s aquarium, which contains 65,000 marine creatures. The three-storey suite has floor to ceiling windows in the living room, bathroom and bedroom, and there are two to choose from – Poseidon or Neptune. We’ll opt for the latter, thanks. Oh, and the price includes soap made with gold flakes and you’ll have a butler at your beck and call, just in case you want to complain about the view.
The Underwater Room, Manta Resort, Pemba Island, Zanzibar
Image credit: Manta Resort
The Manta Resort’s quirky accommodation can be found in the crystal clear waters off Zanzibar, a Tanzanian archipelago off the coast of East Africa. The structure comprises of three levels. There is the roof which doubles as a sunbathing deck, the landing deck which bobs above the water’s surface and has a living room and bathroom, and the glass-walled underwater section is where you’ll find the double bedroom, giving new meaning to the phrase “sleep with the fishes.” And not in a scary, Mafia-like sense.
The National Aquarium, Baltimore, US
Image credit: The National Aquarium
Fluffy toy sharks and posters of seahorses are all well and good, but to really sleep with the fishes, we recommend a visit to Baltimore’s National Aquarium, which is home to over 17,000 specimens. The popular tourist attraction hosts regular sleepover sessions, during which visitors can spend the night in either the shark or dolphin viewing areas. Apparently there’s even a shark catwalk, allowing guests to walk above the water while fearsome predators drift by inches below their feet. Just don’t blame us if you have nightmares.
Subsix, Per Aquum Niyama, The Maldives
Image credit: Per Aquum Niyama
Finally, as much we quite fancy sleeping underwater, we can’t help but worry we’d miss out on some spectacular sea life as we drift peacefully through the land of nod, and those who feel the same should head to the Per Aquum Niyama resort in the Maldives, home to an underwater restaurant. Visitors are whisked to Subsix on a speedboat, before entering via a spiral staircase. Highlights of the restaurant, which has floor to ceiling glass windows, include the anemone-inspired chairs and chandeliers designed to resemble coral. Oh, and it’s a seafood restaurant, so there’s a good chance the beautiful fish floating past your table might well be a distant relative of your main course.