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14 incredible underwater hotels and restaurants

14 incredible underwater hotels and restaurants

A brave new world of luxury holiday experiences is emerging in the majestic deep blue. Now you can eat, sleep, and play in underwater wonderlands where it’s all about water views of a very different kind.

Dive into an enchanting underwater realm of magical sea life, exotic corals and crystal clear waters, coupled with refined luxury and accommodation to match. A relatively uncharted market, aquatic experiences are surfacing in enticing locations around the world, offering travellers one-of-a-kind experiences from underwater hotels and suites, to world-class restaurants, spas and bars – all with a pristine underwater location.

Soak in your supersized tub while sharks swim by at Atlantis The Palm, Dubai

Enter the marvellous world of the Atlantis  and stay in one of Dubai’s most decadent, and recently renovated, underwater suites – look over the gigantic 11-million-litre Ambassador Lagoon aquarium from the formal dining room, before descending another floor down to the bedroom and bathrooms, where sharks, rays and 65,000 other marine species lazily glide past your glass wall.

With 24-hour personal butler service, your every wish is catered for on descent into this refined aquatic world.  A luxury car transfer and VIP check-in are exclusive to guests of these super suites, and the breathtaking views from the bedroom and bathroom are awe-inspiring.

The floor-to-ceiling glass windows will immerse you into the ancient ruins of the mythical lost city of Atlantis as exotic marine inhabitants swim past your window. The opulent underwater suites are set across three floors with a spacious living area, dining table, separate majlis (sitting area), private chef service and elegantly appointed bedrooms with ensuites. Guests have access to the Imperial Club, with its all-day snacks, pre-dinner cocktails and canapés, and the ShuiQi Spa & Fitness Centre complete with steam, sauna and jet pool for the ultimate relaxation.

Cruise Whitsundays Reefsuites’ underwater windows and flooring

Join day trippers out to the Cruise Whitsundays pontoon for hours of snorkelling across the Great Barrier Reef. Then wave goodbye in the afternoon, as they head back to Aussie mainland and you venture downstairs for a night under the sea. Dinner under the stars on the top deck of the pontoon is the icing on the cake.

Read: Australia’s most exclusive experiences

Cruise Whitsundays Reefsuite
Cruise Whitsundays Reefsuite

Underwater bedroom at Manta Resort, Tanzania

In addition to seafront villas and stunning garden rooms, the all-inclusive Manta Resort in Zanzibar has the exclusive Underwater Room. The Underwater Room is a single suite that’s part of a wooden pontoon, floating offshore from the island resort with elements both above and below sea level. Arrive by speedboat then ease into your bed, four metres underwater and wrapped in glass to give you a front-row seat to the reef. It’s like having your own private aquarium. Head upstairs for sunbake or stargazing on the roof, and in the day jump straight off the deck for a spot of snorkelling.

The suite is anchored by ropes, so your accommodation gently bobs and sways with the rhythms of the sea. It is a perfect choice for a unique, romantic getaway

Get nose-to-whisker with a walrus at Walrus House, Pairi Daiza Resort

‘Land of the Cold’, inside one of Europe’s best wildlife centres, is the setting for this arctic-inspired accommodation. Think faux fur rugs, whitewashed walls and domed windows that permit unbroken vistas into the walrus’ habitat. Located in Brugelette, Belgium Walrus House gets you nose-to-whisker through the huge glass windows with a walrus – the naturally curious creatures like to get a good look at guests.

Look straight up into an enormous aquarium at Resorts World Sentosa, Singapore

Sentosa Island has always been Singapore’s playground, but the 11, two-storey townhouse-style Ocean Suites at Resorts World take things up a notch. Enjoy an open-air dip in the outdoor jacuzzi before heading to the bedroom, where the curved wall right in front of your bed looks straight out at the property’s aquarium.

An underwater residence at The Muraka, Maldives

Talk about rockstar arrivals: catch a seaplane straight to the front door of your villa, zip down in the elevator and you’ve arrived at the Conrad’s private underwater residence, where the bed has the best seat in the house.

This two-story residence at the Conrad Maldives was inspired after the resorts’ underwater restaurant, Ithaa went viral after turning into a suite for a night. Opened in November 2018 the residence has two floors; one above ground and the other 5 metres under the sea.

The lower level has a bedroom and ensuite with floor-to-ceiling windows in the walk-in robe, bathroom and underwater viewing room. The bedroom has a curved dome ceiling to take in 180-degree ocean views. Above ground you’ll find an infinity plunge pool, glass-walled bathtub, fitness room with an on-call trainer, two jet skis, butler and chef.

InterContinental Shanghai Wonderland, Songjiang, China

Marble, gold, manta rays – the interiors of this hotel are as jaw dropping as the marine life.

The name InterContinental Shanghai Wonderland says it all. Built into the cliffside of an abandoned quarry, the hotel reaches 88 metres below the horizon, with 15 storeys stretching down to the bottom of the quarry. The six underwater suites share walls with a saltwater aquarium, and are family friendly so the kids can also enjoy this sparkling underwater wonderland.

Lovers Deep Submarine

Pick your destination and this submarine will be moored at a destination of your request. This entire submarine for two comes with a captain, chef and personal butler. It’s a romantic reality at this self-proclaimed ‘Mile Low Club’.

If you’ve always dreamed of living a James Bond moment, this is your chance. The entire converted ‘leisure submarine’ is yours for the night, so spread out in the lounge (where the walls have cut-outs to allow glimpses of the ocean), before retiring to the master suite – the panoramic window offers vistas that will keep you awake all night.

Under the sea dining at Conrad Maldives Rangali Island

Known as the realm of barefoot luxury, this six-star property is a remote island haven, embracing aquatic life, nature and contemporary living. A unique blend of modern design and refined luxury, The Conrad Maldives Rangali Island is tailored to suit the needs of the most discerning of patrons. Guests dine in the Ithaa Undersea Restaurant, a world first with its 180-degree glass ceiling that provides unhindered views of thriving coral reef and surrounding marine life.

Set five metres below sea level, the restaurant customarily renowned for its sensational Maldivian and Western fusion dining, was transformed for one night only into an underwater suite. It was done to promote Conrad Maldives’ ultimate escape from the frenzy of the World Cup Final in 2010 – offering instead to submerge partakers in a complete ocean wonderland. The fortunate guest gave praise reviews of the experience, however lack of bedroom facilities meant it could only be but a short- lived dream. Above the surface, Conrad Maldives’ Over-Water Spa also maintains undersea influences, with a divine spa menu and glass floors in treatment rooms giving seascape snapshots into the calming life below.

Dine beside a sunken canoe at Hurawalhi Island Resort

Dine under a domed roof 5.8 metres below sea level at the world’s largest all-glass undersea restaurant. 5.8 Undersea Restaurant at Hurawalhi Island Resort offers five- or seven-course meals to be enjoyed barefoot  – no shoes are allowed! The food is as much of a masterpiece as the view surrounding you with ultra-fresh modern cuisine made my gourmet chefs.

Lunch in an aquarium at Burj Al Arab, Dubai

Repeatedly voted the world’s most luxurious hotel, Burj Al Arab’s seven-star hotel offers refined luxury and the enchanting world below the surface of the Persian Gulf. A simply exceptional dining experience, Al Mahara is one of the hotel’s signature restaurants with stunning underwater views to fascinate you while you dine on the finest cuisine.

A floor-to-ceiling, nearly 1,000,000 litre aquarium is the centre-piece to the restaurant. Specialising in seafood, Al Mahara promises a new-age fine dining experience that will tantalise the palate with rich flavours. No matter where you are seated, the remarkable underwater view of the vibrant sea life can be enjoyed. Al Mahara is a culinary destination, priding itself on impeccable service, award-winning chefs and premium fine wines.

Burj Al Arab Underwater Restaurant

The underwater Huvafen Spa at Huvafen Fushi Maldives

Huvafen Fushi Maldives has the worlds first and only fully underwater spa. Huvafen Spa’s two lower-level treatment rooms have panoramic reef views, lighting up the room in pale blue ocean light during massages. Ethereal fabrics mirror ocean kelp, calming sounds echo waves gently lapping on the shore and exotic fish drift by, transporting you into the deep blue. Even the cushions evoke the sensation of soft sea sponges.  Six above-water treatment rooms are also available with glass floors so you can catch a sneak peek of what lies beneath.

Eat with schools of fish Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas

Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas offers underwater indulgence when descending to the ocean’s delightful depths and experience underwater dining at its finest with the resort’s signature restaurant, Sea.Fire.Salt.Sky. It brings two worlds to life with an over-and-underwater dining concept unlike any other.

Sea, is the undersea restaurant and wine cellar. Here, you’ll gaze upon hundreds of exotically coloured fish, sharks or turtles as you savour mouth-watering contemporary European cuisine and paired wines. The local seafood on offer is not to be missed. No request is too difficult, no demand deemed impossible, and guests can choose from degustation menus paired with premium wines, or classic renditions with a modern twist on the decadent à la carte menu.

Underwater Sea Restaurant at Anantara Kihavah Villas

Get a speedboat to Subsix Underwater Restaurant

With waves of colour, 360-degree glass walls, a stunning undersea location, and exciting decor, Subsix is located six metres below sea level and 500 metres offshore in the Maldives. Part of Niyama Maldives resort, and only accessible by boat, Subsix offers champagne breakfasts, subaquatic lunches, gourmet dinners and glow parties at night

After you descend a dramatic three-tiered staircase, above you’ll see abstract Italian chandeliers imitating a coral reef and beside you are unobstructed views of the majestic marine life and coral surrounds. In the past international DJs have requested the special events held in the restaurant.

Subsix Underwater Playground at Niyama Private Island, Maldives

This article originally appeared in Signature Luxury Travel & Style magazine. To subscribe to the latest issue, click here.

Main image: The Muraka, Conrad Maldives