The best underwater hotels: Rock bottom never looked so good

In the classic novel, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Jules Verne tantalized our imaginations by allowing us to vicariously explore the farthest depths of the ocean. Through Captain Nemo and the crew of the Nautilus, we were shown beautiful images of Red Sea coral reefs, giant squids, and even the mythical city of Atlantis. Thanks to modern architectural innovation — and a seemingly bottomless war chest of investment capital — it is now possible to experience underwater oases from the quaint confines of your own underwater hotel room.

Over the years, many underwater hotels have been proposed only to be abandoned as investors shy away from the daunting upfront costs. However, peppered across the seafloor, several underwater hotels have made it past the drawing board and serve as some of the most high-end hotels on the planet. These lavish getaways line coral reefs from Sweden to Zanzibar.

Unfortunately the vast majority of us non-millionaires will probably never personally be able to slumber in one of these submarine suites. Nonetheless, a virtual tour beats nothing, right? Here are the five best hotels beneath the deep blue sea.

Underwater Suites at Atlantis, Dubai

The lost world of Atlantis has been found in Dubai. Well, sort of. As one could imagine, building an entire oasis under the sea is not a simple undertaking. However, when it comes to daunting architectural endeavors, Dubai spares no expense.  The Atlantis hotel cost nearly 1.3 billion dollars to construct. To put that ungodly sum of money in perspective, the tallest skyscraper in the world, the Burj Khalifa — located literally just down the road — cost roughly 1.5 billion dollars to complete.

The sprawling 113 acre complex was built on an artificial island in the Persian Gulf. The underwater suites are large enough to accommodate two adults and two children, or three adults and a single child, per the official website. The rooms include 24 hour butler service as well as 24 carat gold infused bars of soap for some reason.

Atlantis offers scuba expeditions as well as “Shark Safari” tours allowing guests to take a more hands-on approach to the traditional aquarium experience. There’s even an underwater hot yoga studio with a full glass exterior, ideal for relaxing like never before while enjoying the more than 65,ooo marine animals. Down-Facing Dogfish, anyone?

Underwater hotels are obviously marketed towards the wealthiest humans on earth and Atlantis is no different. If you want to sleep with the fishes, so to speak, the prospect will cost you a cool 400 clams per night. Perhaps when the fabled Atlantis inevitably rises from the depths, we can expect a more economic — albeit similarly mystical — experience.

Lovers Deep, Oliver’s Travels

You might be a member of the Mile High Club, but becoming a member of the Mile Low Club is a different story. Oliver’s Travels represents the perfect opportunity, though, accommodating your every desire sans the cramped bathroom. Lover’s Deep — the name of the submarine — allows its guest to design their own interior specifications, from bedroom to bathroom and even the moor location. Inside, a private chef, butler, and crew will tend to your every need. At $215,000 a night, this certainly isn’t for everyone, however, it isn’t often one is capable of making it rain underwater.

Kwanini The Mantra Resort, Zanzibar

Kwanini The Mantra Resort is located just 800 feet off the coast of Zanzibar’s Pemba Island. Unlike the aforementioned underwater hotels, the Mantra Resort is a freestanding, floating, and private suite. The unit is comprised of three levels. The top deck has a lounge enabling guests to take in panoramic views of the lush coral reef and bountiful marine life. Similarly, the rooftop is perfect for sunbathing as well as taking in the stars at night, far away from the light pollution of the city.

A stairwell leads guests down to the bedroom. Large glass windows on each wall of the room offer spectacular views of aquatic creatures nearby. A series of spotlights illuminate the underwater biome and also attract bioluminescent squids in the area.

The room is significantly less expensive than the other five-star underwater hotels on this list, however, the Matra Resort is still quite pricey. A one-night stay for two adults will cost just under two grand. Kwanini translates as an inquisitive “why” in Swahili. When it comes to this stunning, floating resort, we are assuming “Kwanini” is wholly rhetorical.

Hotell Utter Inn, Vasteras, Sweden

The Hotell Utter Inn may not be as upscale or lavishly adorned as some of the other underwater hotels on this list, however, what the pint-sized place lacks in embellishments it makes up for with quaint charm and sweet solitude.

Situated on the beautiful Lake Malaren in Vasteras, Sweden, the Hotell Utter Inn was created by local artist Mikael Genberg. A short boat ride from the Vastera harbour takes you to your submarine stay. A staircase takes guests from the top deck to the bedroom below. The murky views certainly aren’t exceptionally picturesque by any means, however, the stay is itself certainly a once in a lifetime experience.

There is no electricity at the hotel, although a gas heater and lighting will ensure a comfortable albeit rustic stay for two. The Utter Inn is closed during the winter but is open between April and October. Book your stay at the Utter Hotel here.

Ithaa Undersea Restaurant, Maldives

Although the Ithaa Undersea Restaurant isn’t a hotel, per se, you might want to stay forever if you ever have the opportunity to dine there. It is after all the world’s first undersea restaurant. The chamber grants guests 180-degree views of the surrounding sharks and rainbow fish gliding overhead as they dine on some of the choicest Maldivian cuisine. Ithaa — meaning “mother of pearl” in Dhivehi —  serves an array of contemporary six-course dinners. This includes malossol imperial caviar, agnotti of duck, and lobster carpaccio as well as multiple dessert options. The restaurant even hosts wedding receptions so you can tie the knot in style.

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