Hoteliers around the world have planned luxury accommodations in the deep. A few modest underwater hotels already exist, but some of the most ambitious attempts may not make it past the blueprint stage.
Dubai: Water Discus Hotel
Dubai is arguably the luxury capital of the world, so it’s hardly surprising that the United Arab Emirates wants to create the largest undersea hotel in the world.
Dubai unveiled its plans in 2012, and the above-water portion of the proposed Water Discus hotel looks like an opulent cluster of UFOs — albeit with a sunbathing deck.
Below the surface will be 21 luxe rooms, a lavish lobby and a training pool for scuba diving. The designer, Deep Ocean Technology, aims to launch several Water Discus hotels around the world — the Maldives announced plans for its own Discus in June 2013.
Sweden: Utter Inn
The Utter Inn may lack the jaw-dropping luxury of other resorts on this list, but at least this Swedish undersea hotel actually exists.
Half of the inn, which Mikael Genberg created as an art project in 2000, is visible as a red shed-like structure floating atop Lake Mälaren in Vasteras. Guests scuttle down a ladder to reach the simple underwater living quarters: two small beds below a picture window that offers a view of fish and other lake life. The Utter Inn is starting at $1,750 for seven nights.
China: Shimao Wonderland
The Wonderland wins the prize for the most unlikely location: an abandoned, partially flooded rock quarry in Shanghai.
The plans for this “cave hotel,” which will feature two submerged floors, were nominated for a World Buildings Directory design prize in 2009. The underwater portion will include a water sports complex, spa, swimming pool, restaurant and guest rooms that face a “themed” aquarium (whatever that means). The section on terra firma will offer extreme sports such as rock climbing and bungee jumping over the quarry.
The sustainability-focused hotel doesn’t appear on track to open as planned in 2013, but initial construction has reportedly begun.
Maldives: Conrad Maldives Rangali Islands
“Imagine telling your friends that you celebrated your love under the water in the world’s only glass underwater chapel located five meters below the waves, surrounded by a vibrant coral reef!” crows the Rangali Islands website. Surely, it’s what you’ve always imagined.
This luxe-to-the-max, six-star hotel is mostly above ground, spread over two separate islands that are connected by a 500-meter bridge. Below the surface, however, lies the fancy Ithaa Undersea Restaurant.
Guests can simply dine at the Ithaa, but the Hilton-owned hotel is also happy to convert the restaurant into a wedding ceremony location for an untold — and surely unbelievable — cost. One option includes a celebration “in the heart of a stunning coral reef” in which the happy couple dives into the Indian Ocean (diving equipment costs extra, of course).
Fiji: Poseidon Undersea Resort
L. Bruce Jones, the president of U.S. Submarines, has been working on the Poseidon Undersea Resort for more than a decade. The five-star hotel is set to be built on a 225-acre private island in Fiji, surrounded by a 5,000-acre lagoon.
The as-yet-unlaunched Poseidon bills itself as luxury lodging for the adventurous sort — to the tune of $15,000 or more for an underwater package. Activities will include piloting a personal Triton submarine, scuba diving in the lagoon’s clear water and riding as a passenger on a 1,000-foot luxury submersible.
Those hoping to be future guests at Poseidon are welcomed to pre-register on the hotel’s website, but the 150,000 people who have already registered could be waiting for a while. According to the New York Times, Jones and his team have been working on the hotel plans since 2001 — and it was originally slated to open in 2009.
But that hasn’t stopped Jones. In April 2013, Poseidon announced it’s already scoping out locations for a second resort.
Florida: Jules’ Undersea Lodge
Named for “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” author Jules Verne, the lodge is one of just two open-for-business hotels on this list.
It was originally built in the 1970s as a “mobile undersea habitat,” but it was converted to a hotel in the 1980s. The no-frills digs are really aimed at scuba-ers who relish the ability to easily slip out for a dive.
“When guests visit Jules’ Undersea Lodge in Key Largo, Fla., they discover that the name is no marketing gimmick,” the hotel’s site reads. “Just to enter the Lodge, one must actually scuba dive 21 feet beneath the surface of the sea.”
Per-night rates range from $675 per person for single occupancy to $300 a pop for larger groups. Jules even offers underwater weddings.