For hundreds of thousands of years we lived wired, primed for fight or flight. Adrenaline coursed through our bodies. Then in a matter of a few centuries we lost it, all our instincts for survival in the wild replaced with fluffy towels and cushions. And yet somehow we know we’re missing something. We fight to get it back. It’s why we bungee jump from bridges and climb mountains; it’s why we base jump off tall buildings. We want the rush back. And it’s why lately we’ve become fascinated with the idea of a hotel underwater. You can’t get much more pampered than a luxury hotel. If we could just get one underwater, it would put us back in touch with the wild, give adventure to our lives. Plus, we wouldn’t have to give up the fluffy towels to do it. We’re getting close. Here are the 13 best underwater hotels on the planet.
Lovers Deep, St. Lucia
Billed as the premier entry into the mile low club, Lovers Deep is the luxury leisure submarine for lovers who like it deep. No one’s trying to hide anything here. At $150,000 per night, this is one of the most expensive places you can go for a shag. But if you’re out to impress, it definitely one-ups a rose snagged off the deli on the way home from work. Also, it’s unlikely anyone is going to barge in on you uninvited. Unless by chance it’s the Captain’s cheese doodle you happen to be snacking on. Actually, he’ll be occupied at the other end of the vessel sharing sound-proofed quarters with the butler and chef, or steering the sub of seduction to your destination of choice – stunning coral off St. Lucia, or a sunken battleship in the Red Sea. Featuring a two-person shower and specialist aphrodisiac menu, there’s no room for doubt as to what you’re supposed to be doing here.
Jules Undersea Lodge, Key Largo, Florida
The only way to reach the entrance of this two bedroom hotel is to dive down twenty one feet. For non-certified divers, you’ll go through a three hour crash course before you can turn in for the night. Originally a marine laboratory, The Undersea Lodge has been taking in guests since 1986. If you’ve ever wanted a shot at beating Domino’s delivery promise of under thirty minutes or it’s free, this might be the place to order from. Actually, delivery service is available at the Jules and you can, in fact, order a pizza.
Shimao Wonderland Intercontinental, China
Thirty miles outside of Shanghai, construction is under way on this 19 storey hotel located at the base of the Tianmenshan mountain in an abandoned, water-filled quarry. The bottom two floors will be underwater, and will feature a restaurant and guest rooms that look out onto a glass-walled aquarium. Built into the surrounding landscape, the resort will offer watersports, rock climbing, and bungee jumping.
Utter Inn, Sweden
For around $75 a night you can stay at the two-room floating art project by Mikael Genberg. Anchored a kilometer out on Lake Malaren, one room is above the water, the other ten feet below. The two are connected by what is essentially a ladder. To reach the hotel, you’re taken from the port of Vasteras by boat, and then left alone with some instructions. It sounds a bit like a low-budget Bond movie. “Get out of this, Mr. Bond.” One way out would be the inflatable canoe, which you can use to visit the nearby uninhabited island. Don’t expect to be blown away by the amenities at Utter. The bedroom below the water is fitted with two beds and a table. But with windows on all four sides looking out on what swims beneath Malaren, this is one of the few options available that puts you anything close to marine living. And if you want to ramp it up a bit, you can spring for the deluxe option, which gets you dinner delivered.
Manta Resort Underwater Hotel Room, Tanzania
Anchored off the Zanzibar coast, if the floating Mantra Underwater room looks like an uptown version of the Utter Inn, it’s because this is also a Mikael Genberg design. Thirteen feet below the surface this time, there are three levels. At sea level the landing deck has a lounge area and bathroom. The roof is for soaking up the sun during the day, and star watching at night. Downstairs below the waves is a double bed and 360 degrees of underwater panorama.
Atlantis The Palm, Dubai
If you’re looking for odd, tack, or gaud, Dubai is a good place to start. And if you’ve been wondering if the lost city of Atlantis is ever likely to be found, the answer is yes. It’s here, right outside the floor-to-ceiling windows of the hotel’s two underwater suites, Poseidon and Neptune. They look out into Ambassador Lagoon, its 65,000 marine inhabitants, and the sunken ruins of the city. Given the proximity to the bed, it’s a wonder no one spotted it before.
Ocean Suites, Sentosa Resorts World, Singapore
Similar to Dubai’s Atlantis but with only 50,000 marine life forms. There are eleven Ocean Suites at the Equarius Hotel, which is one of four hotels located at Sentosa. Upstairs the living area is fitted with a jacuzzi and patio area, while the downstairs bedroom window looks out into one of the largest aquariums in the world, part of the Marine Life Park at Sentosa. Room lights dim automatically when the viewing panel is raised.
Conrad Maldives, Rangali Island
Operated by Hilton Worldwide, the Conrad Maldives is luxury living in the tropical waters of the Maldives, off the coast of India. There are no underwater rooms here, but there is the Ithaa Undersea Restaurant, which sits 16 feet below the surface of the waves. Billed as the world’s first all-glass undersea restaurant, New York’s Daily News has recently named it “the most beautiful restaurant in the world”. Unless you’re aquaphobic, you may well agree. If you’re aquaphobic and cibophobic, forget this place.
Water Discus Hotel, Dubai
Imagine the Enterprise beaming up Kirk from a tray of jumbo shrimp and you’ve got the basic look of the Water Discus by Deep Ocean Technology. The hotel is the underwater equivalent of a mobile home. They’re built in Poland, transported to a desirable location and sunk into place. Your bare bones Water Discus comprises two discs, one above the water, and one below featuring a complex of 21 rooms. Because parking is limited, there’s also a helipad. This design allows the basic structure to be expanded into larger complexes as needed, depending on the resort project. None are actually in place yet. Cost and engineering problems exist with putting large buildings into water that still need to be worked out.
The Hydropolis, Dubai
The Hydropolis claims it will be the first fully-functional underwater hotel. Architecturally it all sounds a bit kooky. It’s been described as a kind of resort version of the human body, with the various elements of the complex representing different bodily organs. It’s like spending your vacation in a bellyfull of amniotic fluids. The plan is for 220 suites underwater with the whole construction covering approximately the same area as London’s Hyde Park. That’s big. All this is assuming it ever gets built. Originally slated to open in 2006, this was later revised to 2009. At the moment construction is on hold indefinitely for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that when you put a structure of this size into the water, there’s considerable displacement. In effect, a kind of miniature tsunami is born.
Amphibious 1000, Qatar
For now only a design concept, the Amphibious 1000 would be the first semi-submerged hotel resort in Qatar. Comprised of a land section and sea section, the resort features residential housing and office buildings, an interactive museum, fitness areas, a new marina and harbor, gardens and a theater. Guests would stay in the 80 floating jelly fish suites with underwater views within the artificial reef.
Three Spirits Floating Hotel
Three separate boats that look nothing like any boat we’ve seen before. They function independently as a ballroom, casino, and, in what sounds like a Harry Potteresque Room of Requirement, as the Hall of Multifunctional Purposes. When locked together they create an enclosed pool. This concept hotel also features underwater suites, where guests can watch marine life from the comfort of their own room.
Poseidon Resort, Katafanga Island, Fiji
Imagine a chain of five-star underwater resorts; imagine piloting a personal Triton submarine through the lagoon down to the undersea chapel to where your beloved waits, anxiously holding her breath; imagine dining in culinary excellence beneath the ocean; imagine riding on a luxury submersible. And keep imagining, because so far it hasn’t happened. And yet, plans for a second resort are already under way.
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