Today: Top 10 most spectacular underwater hotels in the world
Underwater resorts are still largely a product of a vivid imagination. Some hotels are in the planning stage, some are currently under construction, but a few hotels already offer the possibility to spend a holiday with the fishes. From partially submerged luxury suites to actual submarine stays, here’s my selection of the 10 most spectacular underwater hotels on the planet.
There is more info below the slide show. Think I missed one? Share your favorite underwater hotel in the comments section.
This floating cabin in a lake near Stockholm is the brainchild of Mikael Genberg, a local artist and sculptor who has chosen to focus on “making art for the public”. Utter Inn is an underwater hotel located in the middle of Västeråsfjärden about 1 km (0.6 mi) from the mainland. The little red cottage is located on a floating jetty in Lake Mälaren, so guests can swim and sunbathe and enjoy the sunset before it’s time to sleep. The 25 sqm cabin (270 sqft) has two different parts: the upper one, floating above the surface of the lake, features a small dock for a boat, an outdoor deck and a kitchenette. The bedroom with twin beds is located 3 m (10 ft) below the water surface with panoramic windows facing all directions. The hotel can accommodate 2 people and is a perfect gift to give as a wedding gift or perhaps as a birthday present.
- Hotel website: Utter Inn
Built in a former research institute, Jules’ Undersea Lodge is named after Jules Verne, author of the famous novel “20,000 Leagues Under The Seas”. It is the only underwater accommodation on this list that requires scuba diving to acc room, which is located 6 m (21 ft) under water. If you’re not a certified diver, expect to spend a couple of hours in a diving course before you can head below to your night’s destination. The lodge has all the comforts of home, such as a full kitchen, hot showers, and entertainment options, and a pizza delivery dinner is delivered in the late afternoon. And of course, there are outstanding views of the ocean and marine life too, which range from tropical angelfish and barracuda to parrotfish and snappers. This adventurous hotel stay has attracted the likes of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Aerosmith’s Steve Tyler, and actor Tim Allen.
- Hotel website: Jules Undersea Lodge
Elevated and crafted along an idyllic island beach, Zanzibar’s Manta Resort offers privacy, romance, adventure and water sports on East Africa’s finest island sanctuary. While the resort has some gorgeous seafront villas and garden rooms, it is especially famous for its underwater room, a private floating island with a bedroom 4 m (13 ft) below the surface. The floating structure, Swedish engineered, provides three levels: sunbathing and stargazing on the top deck, lounging and dining on the water deck, and sleeping surrounded by a tropical marine environment on the lower deck. Encapsulated within a turquoise blue bubble, watching shoals of reef fish swim by – sometimes in three or four layers of different species, this is a truly heart-stopping, yet awakening, experience.
- Hotel website: Manta Resort, Zanzibar
With twin islands Play and Chill, Niyama Private Islands in the Maldives offers up the luxury of choice. While it doesn’t have underwater rooms, the sublime property is famous for being the location of the world’s first underwater club – called Subsix – which is set 500 m (1650 ft) out in the ocean and 6 m (20 ft) below the waterline. Subsix is reached by speedboat and by descending a dramatic three-tier staircase, illuminated by Italian abstract chandeliers like shining coral. In the depths, guests can hide away in the swooping curves of a clam-inspired bar or tuck into the soft anemone chairs beneath the soft waves of capiz shells draped from the ceiling. From private Champagne breakfasts, intimate subaquatic lunches, wedding blessings to wine tastings, themed evenings and club nights, you can chill out and dance the night away while looking into the depths of the Indian Ocean.
- Hotel website: Niyama Private Islands
Moored offshore at Hardy Reef, 40 nautical miles from Airlie Beach, Reefsuite is Australia’s first underwater accommodation, offering a front row seat to the dazzling underwater world of the Great Barrier Reef. The pontoon hosts day trippers, on-deck overnight guests and a lucky few who’ll head below deck for a private, all-inclusive Reefsuite experience. Guest begin their journey with a cruise through the Whitsunday Islands to Hardy Reef onboard a high-speed vessel, arriving at the reef around 11am. After lunch, they can snorkel, dive, swim or take a scenic helicopter flight to see famous Heart Reef (additional cost). Day visitors depart mid-afternoon and then overnight guests have the spot all to themselves, as they sit back, relax and watch the reef come to life through the floor-to-ceiling windows.
- Hotel website: Reefsuite
Opened in 2018, the Intercontinental Shanghai Wonderland is housed in an abandoned quarry in Songjiang, China, about 50 km ( 30 mi) from Shanghai. With a construction area of more than 656,000 square feet, the hotel offers several dining options and 336 rooms & suites. In contrast to China’s traditional architectural concept of building high-rises, InterContinental Shanghai Wonderland adopts an unconventional design of extending space beneath ground by reflecting the natural landscape of the quarry. The 18-story hotel has two floors above ground, and 16 below ground, including two floors that are underwater in an artificial lake. The latter floors feature underwater suites that are two stories tall: the bedroom looks out to the water’s surface, while the living room underneath sits inside a saltwater aquarium. The lowest underwater floor also has a swimming pool.
- Hotel website: InterContinental Shanghai Wonderland
Another Maldivian hotel to consider for your next underwater holiday is Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas. This 5-star resort – set on one of the Maldives’ most pristine islands – doesn’t have underwater rooms but its signature restaurant – Sea – is located below the water surface. Sea offers a truly exceptional dining experience, where you can sample a delicious meal amidst the vivid view of the ocean floor inside one of only a few underwater restaurants in the world. Prepare to be amazed as a brilliant array of sea life swim, dart and dance before your eyes. Impeccably plated Maldivian lobster makes for a special lunch, while pan-seared Japanese wagyu completes a romantic dinner. The international gourmet menu accompanied with a choice of wines spanning nine decades is truly world-class and paired by the resort’s resident Wine Guru.
- Hotel website: Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas
- Other accolades: Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas also features in my top 10 list of the best luxury resorts in the Maldives.
- Review: read my review of Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas here.
Resorts World Sentosa is an integrated resort on the island of Sentosa, which is located off the southern coast of Singapore. Among its key attractions are Universal Studios Singapore, several hotels, a number of Michelin-starred restaurant, and the world’s second largest oceanarium. Discreetly tucked away on one side of this enormous aquarium are 11 exclusive Ocean Suites, each one designed like a deluxe two story townhouse, offering guests the best of both land and sea views in five-star comfort and with personalized butler service. The upper level has an open living area leading onto an outdoor patio and Jacuzzi while the lower level provides a window to a unique underwater view of over 40,000 marine fishes (including manta rays, clownfish, and more) from the comfort and privacy of your own bedroom.
- Hotel website: Resort World – Sentosa
Located on the Emirates’ man-made, palm tree-shaped island, palatial Atlantis The Palm is one of Dubai’s most impressive resorts, part blockbuster luxury hotel (more than 1,500 rooms and suites!), part aquatic wonderland. The hotel’s signature underwater suites are a haven for peace and tranquility, featuring immense floor-to-ceiling windows into a 65,000 marine animal aquarium (called Ambassador Lagoon). Float the evening away in your marble bath tub with views of the Ambassador Lagoon, and be mesmerized as sharks, rays and fish glide right past your bed. Head upstairs in your private elevator to a lavish yet intimate lounge, where the waters of the Ambassador Lagoon gently lap at your window. Complete with 24-hour private butler service and in-room check-in, everything is catered for, so you and your loved one can forget the world and enjoy every moment.
- Hotel website: Atlantis The Palm Dubai
- Other accolades: Atlantis The Palm Dubai also features in my top 10 lists of the world’s best family hotels and the best hotels in Dubai.
Conrad Maldives Rangali welcomes guests to dive into in an extraordinary experience both above and below the surface of the Indian Ocean in the world’s first underwater hotel villa, called the ‘Muraka’. Located 5 m (16 ft) below sea level in the middle of the Indian Ocean with glass walls, the Muraka is a two-level aquarium where you can fall asleep to fish swimming overhead and wake up to the swaying arms of coral. The two-story structure consists of an en-suite master bedroom, en-suite twin bedroom, sun deck and infinity pool on its upper floor and a double bedroom and en-suite bathroom in the underwater section. This bedroom has a curved acrylic glass ceiling and walls that allows guests to observe the sea life outside while its accompanying en-suite bathroom and walk-in closet have floor to ceiling glass sections. A stay at The Muraka includes a private, on call speedboat, complimentary jet skis, a private butler and chef, on-call massage, spa treatments and a personal trainer.
- Hotel website: Conrad Maldives Rangali Island
- Other top 10 accolades: Conrad Maldives Rangali Island also features in my top 10 list of the world’s most unusual hotels.
- Tip: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. upgrade on arrival, daily buffet breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, $100 USD resort credit, and a luxury sunset fishing excursion for two, once during stay).