Waterbeds are so passe. Today underwater hotels are the new standard of sleeping luxury. In surprising locations around the world, hotels are offering underwater accommodations so guests can actually “sleep with the fish” or even have a dining experience surrounded by water and far below the surface of the ocean.
Manta Resort in Zanzibar
At the Manta Resort in Zanzibar the popular underwater room books months in advance. The Swedish-engineered floating structure provides three levels. The sea level landing deck has a lounge and bathroom. From there, a ladder leads to the roof relaxation area, ideal for daytime sunning and nighttime star-gazing. Downstairs - on the undersea level - the double bed is surrounded by panes of glass affording a 360 degree view of the shoals of reef fish. Underwater spotlights beneath each window attract shyer night visitors like squid who are curious about the coral establishing itself around the underwater structure. The room is just a short 2 minute boat ride and about 250 meters from shore.
Hilton Conrad Maldives
The Hilton Conrad Maldives Rangali Island resort is an award-winner that captures barefoot luxury on two private islands set along miles of white sand beach and unspoiled reef. Twice voted "Best Hotel in the World" it boasts 50 water villas, 79 exotic beach villas, and 21 retreat villas featuring private treatment rooms. It's a 30 minute seaplane flight from the capital of Male to the South Ari Atoll, just three degrees north of the equator. In addition to the breathtaking views and luxury accommodations, the resort is home to Ithaa - the most acclaimed undersea restaurant on the planet. This is formal dining with a 360 degree perspective of reef and marine life seen from 5 meters beneath ocean level. Diners sip champagne and feast on caviar, lobster, foie gras and other advanced European dishes while gazing straight into the surrounding blue lagoon and its vibrant coral reef.
Utter Inn, Sweden
Far simpler, the Utter Inn began as an art project that could offer underwater accommodations to the public. The facility is entered through a small and very typical red Swedish house located on the surface of the water, one kilometer from shore on Lake Malaren. Guests arrive at the port of Vasteras and are delivered to the inn with an inflatable boat that can be used to visit the closest uninhabited island. Left alone - unless they request an evening dinner delivery - guests can swim, sunbathe and watch the fish from both upstairs and downstairs before being rocked to sleep in the underwater glass bedroom surrounded by curious and interesting marine life.
Jules Undersea Lodge, Key Largo
Located in the lagoon at Key Largo Undersea Park, the Jules Undersea Lodge really is underwater. Just to enter, visitors have to scuba dive 22 feet below the sea surface toward the big 24-inch round windows that afford the lodge its unique view of the mangrove habitat and the water creatures that call it home. (Note: to get to the lodge, you must be a certified scuba diver.) The cottage-sized building has hot showers and a well-stocked kitchen, but the big attraction is the cozy bedrooms where guests snuggle up to watch the fish visiting this curious underwater terrarium.
Apeiron Island Hotel, Dubai
Without apology, the oil-rich country of Dubai claims to have the most luxurious hotels in the world and has ambitions for more with two proposed projects. The high-tech futuristic Apeiron Island Hotel is projected to cost $350 million dollars and will feature an underwater restaurant and 438 suites over 28 floors. This mega-structure will be built on a man-made island with its extravagant entrance accessible by boat or helicopter. The restaurant will be surrounded by underwater life, and the hotel will also have an underwater lagoon so guests can feel connected to the coral and fish.
Hydropolis Underwater Hotel, Dubai
Jules Verne's novel was the inspiration for Dubai's Hydropolis, a proposed luxury underwater resort that has intrigued the public since its website first appeared. And although designs and animated videos of the project are all over the web, the project has stalled after facing problems from rising costs and worries about the effect on the marine environment. The Hydropolis plans include a land post where visitors will be greeted, the connection subway to transport guests to the hotel proper, and 220 luxury suites in an underwater leisure complex.