Cool Underwater Attractions
UNDERWATER HOTELS AND RESTAURANTS
Sunken treasures, marine animals and man-made structures all make up the mysterious depths of the underwater world. At one time or another, we’ve all wondered what it would be like to experience life below the surface. With numerous remarkable ports of call in the works or already open for business—Fiji’s futuristic Poseidon Undersea Resort is set to open in 2010 and Key Largo’s Jules’ Undersea Lodge has been accepting guests for years—the dream may be realized sooner than you think.
Poseidon Undersea Resorts
This unique resort is only reachable by elevator as it’s situated on the sea floor of a 5,000-acre lagoon in Fiji. Beginning in 2010, guests can eat, sleep and lounge 40 feet underwater in the hotel’s luxurious “Undersea Suites.” Each room has a completely open view of the outside marine life (which can also be covered for privacy), and during their stay, guests can explore the mile-long resort, dine at the underwater restaurant, cruise through the tropical water in a mini-submarine or scuba dive alongside the world’s most beautiful creatures. Photo courtesy of Poseidon Undersea Resorts.
Ithaa Undersea Restaurant
In April 2005, this ever-so innovative dining establishment at the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island resort opened as the world’s first all-glass underwater restaurant. Although it’s small—seating only 12 guests at a time—the experience is breathtaking as the dining room sits five meters beneath the Indian Ocean and provides a 360-degree view of the surrounding coral reef and sea life. Photo courtesy of Conradhotels1.hilton.com.
Istanbul Underwater Hotel
Another structure currently under construction, Istanbul’s Underwater Hotel is set to open in 2010. Built atop of what used to be a tobacco factory, the hotel will extend seven stories into the depths of the Bosphorus—a strait that connects the Black Sea with the Sea of Marmara. With display halls, numerous restaurants and rooms that provide gorgeous views of the marine habitats, the structure will open next year to correspond with the city taking over the reins as the Cultural Capital of Europe. Photo courtesy of Vagabondish.com.
Lake Mälaren in Västeras, Sweden, is home to the very quaint but beautiful Utter Inn. Transportation to the inn starts with an inflatable boat ride from the port of Västeras. Then guests enter through a Swedish-inspired house that floats on the surface of the water and travel below to reach a room completely surrounded by windows, thus providing a perfect view of the creatures living below the surface. Relaxing activities include swimming, sunbathing and going for canoe rides—and dinner is delivered by boat. Photo courtesy of PrivateIslandsOnline.com.
Hydropolis Underwater Hotel and Resort
Scheduled to open later this year, the Hydropolis is supposed to be the ultimate underwater resort experience. Located 66 feet below the surface in the Persian Gulf off the coast of Dubai, this hotel reportedly will have 220 suites costing close to $5,000 per night. To experience all of the under-the-sea luxury that the Hydropolis has to offer, guests first travel to the to the above-surface “land station”—which will include a restaurant and a cosmetic surgery medical clinic—then take a train to the main section of the hotel. Photo courtesy of Hydropolis.com.
The Red Sea Star
Nestled in the waters of the Red Sea close to Eilat, Israel, this restaurant, bar and observatory is truly one-of-a-kind. Visitors who prefer to stay above the water can opt for the Metro Bar to sip cocktails, dance and gaze at the beautiful scenery of the nearby Gulf of Aqaba and Edom mountains. For the true underwater experience, the restaurant’s dining room is five meters below the surface and each table has two personal windows for viewing the coral reef gardens of the sea. During the evening hours, the area around the submerged structure is dimly lit to avoid agitating surrounding sea creatures. Photo courtesy of Redseastar.com.
Jules’ Undersea Lodge
What began as La Chalupa research laboratory in Key Largo, Florida, is now Jules’ Undersea Lodge (though it still has the fully operational MarineLab). To enter the lodge, guest must dive down 21 feet through the Emerald Lagoon with trained professionals leading the way. Located five feet above the bottom of the mangrove lagoon, the lodge has a common room to keep guests entertained, as well as a fully stocked kitchen, dining area and communication center. Photo courtesy of Jul.com.
Underwater Sculpture Park
Jason de Caires Taylor is the sole creator of the world’s first-ever underwater sculpture gallery, which features his own works of art below sea level. Housed in the shallow waters surrounding the island of Grenada in the Caribbean Sea, the park is accessible by snorkeling, diving and glass-bottom boat. According to this website, Taylor’s artwork explores “the intricate relationships between modern art and the environment.” Photo courtesy of UnderwaterSculpture.com.
Baiheliang Underwater Museum
China’s only underwater museum opened in May 2009 and was built 40 meters below the surface of the Yangtze River. The museum is located near Fuling City in the Chongqing Municipality and provides protection for the Baiheliang stone tablet, which was created over 1,200 years ago and is one of the world’s oldest structures used for calculating variations in water levels. Visitors can view the tablet’s fish sculptures and Chinese characters as well as the surrounding reef. Photo courtesy of Absolutechinatours.com.