Have you fantasized about exploring the ocean and observing sea
creatures in their natural habitats? While you can get a taste of
underwater adventure when you go scuba diving, there are a few places
where you're submerged for much longer. With just a handful of
underwater hotels in operation, you should book a stay at one of these
four if you're looking for a unique experience.
1. Utter Inn
On the other end of the underwater spectrum is Utter Inn, an accommodation that's reminiscent of adventure travel. Lake Mälaren in Västerås, Sweden, is home to this tiny hotel. With just twin-sized beds and a table for eating, guests are staying in tight quarters. Although it's called an inn, people who have stayed at Utter compared the experience to camping on TripAdvisor. There isn't any electricity or running water aboard, but you can have food delivered. Get ready to be cozy with your travel companion as you observe the lake's aquatic population through big windows on every side of the room.
Utter Inn was designed by Mikael Genberg, a Swedish architect who went on to complete the Manta Resort on Pemba Island, off the coast of Tanzania.
2. Manta Resort, Pemba Island
While it may be impractical to buy your own island, it's probably possible to rent one for a night or two. One way to taste the private island dream is Manta Resort's Underwater Room. This equally luxurious and secluded accommodation off the coast of Pemba Island has three stories for you to enjoy as you float 4 metres under the sea. The roof deck is perfect for catching some rays before relaxing in the water-level lounge. Below the water's surface is the bedroom, where you can catch glimpses of bioluminescent marine life at night. The daily rate includes three delivered meals and a spa treatment.
Smithsonian Magazine interviewed architect Mikael Genberg, who explained that the hotel's construction took about two years. Several studies were conducted to find out how the structure would affect the established ecosystem.
If you don't have a chance to stay in the Underwater Room, check out some of the other suites at Manta Resort - there are some views available that will truly take your breath away.
3. Hilton's Conrad Maldives Rangali Island Resort
No matter where you stay on a trip to the Maldives, you're in paradise. However, there's only one place on the Asian island chain where you can sleep underwater. Rangali Island is home to the Maldives Hilton, where Ithaa Undersea Restaurant is located. Ithaa is situated in a glass tunnel that's nearly 5 metres below the water's surface and offers a 180-degree panoramic view of the Indian Ocean.
While the restaurant is relatively exclusive - there's only room for 12 guests - an even more elite option is available. The undersea spot can be rented as a private suite, which is perfect for honeymoon travel. Fall asleep in a magical aquatic world where marine life surrounds you.
4. Jules' Undersea Lodge
The only undersea accommodation available during United States travel sits about 6 metres underwater off the coast of Florida. Jules' Undersea Lodge was once La Chalupa, a research laboratory that was near Puerto Rico in the 1970s. The vessel was moved to Key Largo in the mid-'80s, where it became a small hotel named after Jules Verne, author of "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea."
Although it's an older structure, the hotel has air conditioning, a DVD player and hot showers. There's even room service at Jules', delivered by mer-chefs, according to the hotel's website. It explains that the hotel has evolved into an artificial reef and part of the sea creatures' habitat. Only six people can stay in Jules' at a time, but staff monitors the hotel constantly to ensure that everyone is safe.
The caveat is that you must be scuba diving certified before you can stay at Jules' Undersea Lodge. The company offers a course for inexperienced divers, but it has to be completed before you stay. However, guests are allowed an unlimited number of oxygen tanks, so you can scuba dive to your heart's content.