We know places where you can sleep under the waves, surrounded by coral gardens, rays and sharks.
But no, we’re not talking about Atlantis the Palm in Dubai, where $7000 buys you an underwater night amid the ruins of the “lost city of Atlantis.” It’s a massive theme park aquarium. For a quarter of the price you can get an underwater suite in the Indian Ocean.
Here are immersive underwater experiences that don’t require a snorkel.
1. The Manta Resort, Tanzania
The original underwater suite is in the Indian Ocean, but it’s not the Maldives. Only accessible by boat, The Manta Resort’s divine underwater suite also has an upper deck for sunbathing and stargazing. You sleep and dine with the fish and rays of the Zanzibar archipelago.
In Singapore, $2500 a night gets you an underwater suite at the Resorts World Sentosa aquarium. Go to Africa! For a cheaper price you get a private floating island, four metres below the Indian Ocean.
All it takes is a desire to explore the coast of Africa. The Manta Resort is located on Pemba, the sister island to the more famous Zanzibar. Combine a stay with a safari in the Serengeti.
2. Jules’ Undersea Lodge, Florida
America’s only underwater suite is only accessible by scuba diving. Yep, you have to be a qualified scuba diver and swim down nine metres to reach the two-bedroom lodge.
The rooms look pretty small and outdated, unsurprising given Jules’ Undersea Lodge opened in 1986! Honestly, we don’t know this lodge.
Apparently the nightly rate comes with complimentary pizza delivery. How? Does the Dominos driver have an amphibious moped? Surely the crusts get soggy? Would you order the seafood pizza?
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3. Conrad Rangali Island, Maldives
Rangali Island already had the world’s first underwater restaurant, Ithaa. In 2018 they added an outrageous two-level villa called the Muraka. Upstairs you’ll find two bedrooms, a dining room, terrace and infinity pool.
Down the spiral staircase there’s a bathroom and walk-in closet with floor-to-ceiling Indian Ocean windows. Can you imagine sitting on the toilet and a shark swimming past?
The master bedroom has a dazzling acrylic dome ceiling. It’s like sleeping in a fish tank, except the fish are outside and you’re safely cocooned inside. Prices start at $50,000 a night.
4. Anantara Kihavah, Niyama & Huvafen Fushi, all in the Maldives
For underwater dining in the Maldives, we prefer Sea at Anantara Kihavah. The restaurant’s underwater wine cellar is quite a sight as well.
Also in the Maldives there’ an underwater spa at Huvafen Fushi. It’s impressive, but for most spa treatments your eyes are closed. And for a better price there are much better spas elsewhere in the archipelago.
Subsix at Niyama was labelled as the world’s first underwater nightclub. Unfortunately you don’t see that much marine life in the dark. Now it’s a restaurant with a kids menu, so don’t expect to dance the night away with reef sharks.
5. Lovers Deep Submarine, St Lucia
Join the mile low club and sleep on this enormous leisure submarine that’s usually moored off the Caribbean island of St Lucia. A single night costs close to $300,000, much more if you want the submarine to pick you up somewhere else in the world.
Unlike underwater suites, this submarine moves. But the small portal windows mean the views are fairly restrictive.
And we’re beginning to think that this submarine is just a publicity hoax. Those photos look a lot like Photoshop.
We don’t know anybody who has stayed on this submarine. Nor can we find anybody who can arrange such a stay. A $300k submarine? You could charter an entire Maldives resort for less than that.
6. InterContinental Shanghai Wonderland
Outrageous underwater projects were a big thing before the pandemic. In Fiji, Poseidon attracted a lot of investment for their now abandoned underwater resort (some guests paid non-refundable deposits). So kudos to InterContinental for pulling off this masterpiece outside Shanghai.
Built inside an abandoned quarry, 16 floors are technically underground. The lowest two are also underwater, where several underwater suites and a seafood restaurant are located. Okay, it is only an aquarium view, but does China have any ocean fish left?
Your Next Underwater Experience
You don’t need to sleep under the water to explore what’s down there. We know some remarkable underwater experiences all around the world, from semi-submersible boats in the Galapagos islands to diving with Mayan ruins. Ask us to inspire you for your next trip.