Well, not literally – it’s more of a goldfish bowl concept. The difference is that we’re the ones in the bowl looking out into these surrounding aquatic wonderlands. Currently most of the world’s best underwater hotels with underwater facilities have just one or two submerged rooms and whilst there are several plans on the drawing board for complete underwater hotels, they may be a while off yet. One reason for this is that logistically, large underwater complexes (like an entire resort that takes up 225 acres, or 0.91 square kilometres), creates a few issues. Namely, what happens when you displace that much water, especially in a lake?
That’s probably part of the reason why large ambitious underwater hotel complexes like the Poseidon Underwater Resort in Fiji, and the Hydropolis in Dubai, are still very much ‘works in progress’. It may also explain why some of the existing underwater complexes are located in private aquariums and lagoons rather than the open ocean or in natural lakes. Regardless, however they come by their watery surroundings, there are some stunning underwater hotel facilities around so we take a quick look at these, the world’s best underwater hotels.
The World’s Best Underwater Hotels – Jules’ Undersea Lodge (Key Largo, Florida)
We kick off our list of the world’s top 8 underwater hotels with an oldie but a goodie. Located in a mangrove lagoon at Key Largo in Florida is an old underwater research lab. It’s been turned into a hotel room and is appropriately called Jules’s Undersea Lodge. Whilst it may not be “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea”, it’s still an impressive 6.5 metres down with windows looking out into the surrounding lagoon. However, getting into the room could prove difficult for some folk. The intrepid scientists who originally used it were clearly adept scuba divers and fit enough to enter and exit by way of the small opening underneath the room. Modern patrons though either have to know how to scuba dive already, or will need to undergo a 3-hour crash course. On the upside, local pizza deliveries do make it out, or down, this far.
The World’s Best Underwater Hotels – Inn Hotel (Vasteras, Sweden)
The charming but very small Utter (Otter) Inn Hotel in Vasteras, Sweden offers an underwater hotel experience of a different kind. It’s located in a public lake and looks for all the world like a miniature Swedish house that somehow lost its way and floated 1 kilometre out into the middle of the lake.
Below the surface building is a small bedroom with twin beds and a table. Amenities are very basic but that’s what makes this an ideal underwater getaway destination with a difference. Think camping in a remote location but with only a tiny bit of glamping involved. Lighting comes from a portable gas heater – there’s no electricity in this part of the lake. There are basic cooking facilities but it’s BYO ingredients unless you take the deluxe package, in which case you can get your meals delivered. Oh, and access to the Utter Inn Hotel is strictly by boat only.
The World’s Best Underwater Hotels – Lovers Deep (St. Lucia, West Indies)
This submarine cum private hotel suite is ideal for those looking for a more unusual honeymoon or similarly romantic getaway. Instead of wafting away to a romantic island somewhere in the Caribbean, you’ll be wafted deep below the Caribbean waves in your own perfectly outfitted diving hotel suite. Furthermore, as befits one of the world’s best underwater hotels, nothing is too much trouble on Lovers Deep. From your choice of deep-sea destination to your own private chef, butler, and chauffeur, it’s all on offer with this top 8 underwater hotel experience.
The World’s Best Underwater Hotels – Atlantis, The Palm (Dubai, UAE)
What started out as an ambitious, and some would say impossible, dream to build a palm shaped island just off the coast of Dubai, has morphed into one of the most unusual seaside residential areas in the world. It’s crowing glory, located literally at the top of the palm, way out in the waters of the Arabian Gulf, is Atlantis, The Palm. The hotel features its own private aquarium called Ambassador Lagoon, home to some 65,000 sea critters that swim around a replica of the ruins of ancient Atlantis. Now you can get up close and personal with these creatures in one of the hotel’s two underwater suites. No prizes for guessing their names however. What else would you call underwater suites at Atlantis other than Neptune and Poseidon!
The underwater rooms in this top 8 underwater hotel are equipped with full-length windows that allow the outside aquatic life to gaze in at the occupants. You’ll get a private butler on tap 24/7, private massages and, if you’re up to venturing outside, you can also book a swim with dolphins or feed the ‘pet’ sharks.
The World’s Best Underwater Hotels – Underwater Room, Manta Resort (Zanzibar, Tanzania)
This is one of just a few of the top 8 underwater hotels that is actually located in a ‘real’ open marine environment. It’s a floating 3-storey villa anchored to the seabed amongst coral reefs off the coast of Tanzania on Africa’s east coast. The rest of the resort is located on nearby Pemba Island but the Underwater Room is something special. Access is via boat but once you’ve been delivered to your villa you’re on your own apart from delivered meals.
The living room and bathroom are in the section above the waterline whilst the roof does double duty as a lounge deck. They’re spectacular enough with their views out over the crystal blue water but the bedroom below takes your breath away and for good reason. Because this is no ordinary bedroom! It’s a glass bubble, or fish bowl, suspended 4 metres underneath the top storey with unobscured views of the surrounding coral reef marine life. All of which make it clear why this is billed as one of the world’s best underwater hotels.
The World’s Best Underwater Hotels – The Muraka, Conrad Rangali Island Resort (Maldives)
The Conrad Rangali Island Resort is probably better known for the Ithaa Undersea Restaurant, its pioneering underwater restaurant. Described as one of the most beautiful restaurants in the world, you could pay to have the small intimate room turned into a luxurious suite for the night. However, it wasn’t purpose-built as an underwater hotel room, something they’ve rectified with The Muraka. This double storey villa with an underwater level floats peacefully in the pristine waters of the Indian Ocean. At sea level, there’s a dining room, second bedroom (for the aqua phobic family member), and small swimming pool. Underneath the waves is another bedroom, bathroom, and living room. They each feature full height glass walls looking out into the surrounding waters.
The World’s Best Underwater Hotels – Ocean Suites, Equarius Hotel At Sentosa Resort World (Singapore)
This top 8 underwater hotel is Singapore’s answer to Atlantis, The Palm. Like Atlantis, you’re sitting in a marine park rather than out in the open sea but that doesn’t detract from the underwater world experience at all. There are 11 two-storey Ocean Suites available and they’re built like townhouses. The top level sits just above the surface of the water and has a living area and private patio complete with jacuzzi. The bottom level has the bedroom with its large viewing window for checking out the marine life in the park. You can also relax in a sunken bathtub conveniently sited right in front of the windows. Oh the tales those fish could tell!
The World’s Best Underwater Hotels – InterContinental Shanghai Wonderland (Shanghai, China)
This magnificent hotel, the latest in the InterContinental Hotel Group’s portfolio of generally magnificent hotels, has been built as part of a theme park in an old disused quarry about 50 kilometres out of Shanghai. The quarry is 88 metres deep, and the bottom of it was flooded to create an artificial lake once building was completed. The flagship hotel, opened late in 2018, has 18 stories all up. The top two are above ground, whilst the lower 16 stretch down into the depths of the quarry. At the very bottom, the last two floors are submerged below the waters of the lake. The lowest floor has a swimming pool and a clear dome shaped restaurant where you can dine in fine style closely watched by schools of fish and other marine life. The rooms on these floors also feature windows that come complete with views of marine life swimming around. However, you won’t be looking out into the waters of the lake, which are probably still rather murky. Rather, all those fish swimming around are actually in strategically located large tanks or aquariums around the base of the hotel. On the opposite wall of the quarry is a cascading waterfall.
Well, that wraps up our coverage of the world’s best underwater hotels. Or more precisely, the top 8 underwater hotels. Have we tempted you to try wining, dining, and sleeping with the fish yet?