Looking for a place to stay that offers a little something extra? These hotels go above and beyond, or rather, below and beyond.
Part of the joy of travel is experiencing an entirely new environment. For frequent travelers, this can be hard to achieve, but these hotels are sure to provide a unique and memorable experience, all without even leaving your room.
The Muraka at Conrad Resort on Rangali Island, Maldives
The Muraka is truly the most immersive underwater room on the market. Here, the water isn’t just out the window, it’s above you too. The room is shaped like a halved cylinder, so the only part of the room you can’t see through to the ocean is the floor. It’s a breathtaking sight.
The Muraka consists of a bedroom, bathroom, and living room, all of which offer spectacular views. The furnishings are modern and minimalist. It’s an excellent design choice as the simplicity means there’s nothing to draw your attention away from the spectacle or interrupt the dreamy quality of being a part of the sea life.
The rest of Conrad Resort also capitalizes on the stunning setting. At the Over-Water Spa — the building sits on stilts out in the water — there’s even a glass floor so that while you’re getting your massage you can watch the fish swim below. Talk about relaxation.
Utter Inn, Lake Mälaren in Västerås, Sweden
Just because you’re not in the tropics doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy sleeping below the surface. If you’re happy to be in, shall we say, cozy quarters, this adorable little house is both on and in the
The Utter Inn is an art project by Mikael Genberg, part of a series of unconventionally placed mini-hotels he’s created. The creators of Manta Resort saw such potential in Utter Inn’s design, they actually had Genburg design their Underwater Room.
Above the waterline, Utter Inn looks like a miniature version of a classic Swedish cabin, painted
It’s like a smaller-scale rustic version of the Manta Resort experience, perfect for feeling like you’re off the grid. The benefit of the cabin being smaller is that it rocks ever so slightly with the flow of the water, prompting several reviewers to comment on how well they slept.
Underwater Suites at Atlantis The Palm in Dubai
Dubai is one of the world’s premier locations for luxury travel, and the Underwater Suites at Atlantis The Palm might be the most luxurious accommodations in the city.
The suites are three stories, two above water, one below. The interior design blends nouveau-rococo with classic Middle-Eastern art deco, but the main attraction is the entire wall of the bedroom and ensuite, which looks out into the Ambassador Lagoon Aquarium. Staying in the aptly named Poseidon and Neptune rooms also means having a private elevator and butler available 24/7.
What’s more, the entire resort is ocean themed, so you can also visit the Lost Chambers Aquarium, see a dolphin show at Dolphin Bay, and have some fun at the Aquaventure Waterpark. You can even book dives in the massive tank and can see your room from the other side of the glass if you want. It’ll truly feel like you’re staying in the lost city of Atlantis.
Ocean Suites at Resorts World Sentosa, Singapore
Staying at one of the 11 Ocean Suites at Resorts World Sentosa is a next-level experience.
While each of the rooms has a wall looking into an aquarium like Atlantis in Dubai, the interior design differs between rooms. The room might be modern, new gothic, or even the perfect intersection between luxe and pop-art kitsch.
Marine Life Park, the tank on the other side of your room, is the world’s second largest aquarium with more than 100,000 marine animals swimming around in 45 million liters of water (just under 11.9 million gallons). Prepare to see a variety of fish, Manta rays, and perhaps even a hammerhead shark.
In every suite, you’ll find a living room, private patio, and even a jacuzzi upstairs. Staying in the room automatically grants you access to the resorts’ pool, gym, and spa, and you’ll have a butler available at any time of day or night. Plus, there’s even buggy service to shuttle you around the resort.
Underwater Room at Manta Resort on Pemba Island, Zanzibar
The Underwater room at Manta Resort is for those looking for a true escape from civilization. Floating in the open Indian Ocean, this structure is like a minimalist luxury houseboat and the only one of its kind at the resort. Tethered to the bottom of a blue hole, a marine cavern surrounded by reef, it’s only reachable by boat and meals are delivered to you (unless you opt to dine on the mainland).
There are three levels, with a rooftop sundeck on the top, lounge area, and bathroom in the middle, and on the bottom a bedroom with a 360-degree view of the ocean.
It’s a more natural alternative to rooms submerged in aquariums, but don’t fret about whether or not you’ll spot any sea creatures. The surrounding reef attracts many marine animals, as does the room itself. At night, external spotlights invite more nocturnal critters like squid and jellyfish to come a little closer so you can still see the creatures after dark. One trumpetfish is such a frequent visitor that they’ve named it Nick, so keep an eye out for him.
The setting is truly the star of the show here, as the amenities are pretty simple. If you’re looking for somewhere to unplug and have a unique natural experience, this one is for you. You can also book excursions and dives to see the wildlife even more up close and personal.
InterContinental Shanghai Wonderland, China
This is the newest entry on this list, having just opened for business in December 2018. It’s been in the works for more than a decade, and the time investment has clearly paid off. The hotel is built in an abandoned quarry with water at the bottom.
Two entire floors of the hotel are underwater, which means there are rooms and a restaurant called Mr. Fisher bordering on an aquarium.
The entire complex is meant to complement the nature around it, and many of the design motifs mimic nature, though the interior design tends to have just a hint of steampunk, with industrial metal elements and the occasional chrome coloring. It’s also equipped with the latest technology, both to make it a luxury experience for guests and to make the complex more eco-friendly.
What makes the environment of this hotel different from the others is you get not only the beauty of being out in nature, but you can also feel like you are part of a select few who get to experience the view, especially if you brave the glass-floored skywalk around the edge, as the quarry is only accessible through the hotel.
Once you’ve chosen an underwater hotel to stay at, be sure to book a premium Blacklane car service to get you there in style.