Underwater hotels give you the chance to observe sea life like never before.

By Claudia Fisher
February 13, 2020
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Here in the year 2020, “the best underwater hotels around the world” is a real subject and not futuristic hypothesizing. Over the past few years, top tourist destinations around the world have been building up their underwater offerings, giving travelers and locals alike new chances to experience sea life and the ocean floor in very different ways than the typical scuba diving and snorkeling excursions of yesteryear. While Dubai might be the first place that comes to mind when you think of underwater hotels, several international locations and spots right here in the U.S. have started offering this kind of unusual marine experience. Sure, maybe you’ve swam in the Indian Ocean before, but have you ever slept on the ocean floor looking up at a constellation of exotic reef fish, completely immersed in their world as an almost invisible observer?

Credit: Courtesy of Courtesy of Atlantis, The Palm

While some underwater hotel rooms will run you quite the tab, other submerged spots have more reasonable prices — well, as reasonable as underwater rooms at luxury resorts can be. Below is everything you need to know about this growing nautical travel trend, including prices, special features, and notable news. Read on for the best underwater hotels around the world that are giving you the chance to see places like Dubai, the Florida Keys, Fiji, and more in an entirely new (refracted) light.

Credit: Courtesy of Manta Resort

Keep in mind, these are just the underwater hotels currently open and available to book. Many other companies are in the process of expanding the hospitality concept, like the Planet Ocean Underwater Hotel project to create movable properties currently based on Key West, FL, Dubai’s floating, Venitian-inspired resort opening in 2020, and the chain of Poseidon Undersea Resorts with its first five-star property slated to open in Fiji.

Atlantis, The Palm — Dubai

Credit: Courtesy of Atlantis, The Palm

Like the lavish architecture and lifestyles Dubai has become known for, the underwater hotel rooms at Dubai’s Atlantis, The Palm provide an opulent environment for visitors to revel in the resort's 3-million-gallon aquarium. Guests can choose between two underwater suites, the Poseidon or Neptune, for a three-story space with only floor-to-ceiling windows separating them and the stingray-filled Ambassador Lagoon, an aquarium home to more than 65,000 sea creatures. And for even more incentive to book one of the underwater, 1,776-square-foot suites, you’ll receive complimentary 24-hour private butler service, airport transfers, private cabanas at the resort’s pool, beach, and water park, and in-suite check in.

Price per night: $8,210 during peak season

Low season: Closer to $4,191

Jules’ Undersea Lodge — Key Largo, Florida

Named after author Jules Verne, who wrote "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" among other adventure and science fiction novels, Jules’ Undersea Lodge in Key Largo is unlike any other hotel. Because the lodge used to be a marine research facility, the accommodations offer unique views of a protected mangrove lagoon and natural nursery area for reef fish. Keep in mind, a stay at this Florida underwater hotel isn’t for the passive traveler: Jules’ Undersea Lodge is the self-professed first and only underwater resort where your room is only accessible via scuba diving. The staff stays on duty 24 hours to ensure safety and high-quality experiences, and guests have the option to book a private chef to swim down and prepare a meal for them underwater. The small underwater hotel has a maximum occupancy of six guests for the two private rooms and shared spaces, a wet room, and living room with 42-inch round windows in every area.

Prices range depending on package:

3-Hour Lunch: $150 per person (two person minimum)

Per night: $800 per couple, includes complimentary pizza delivery. (Add $175 to have the entire lodge to yourself.)

See all options here: jul.com/dive-the-lodge/

Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, The Muraka Experience — The Maldives

Credit: Justin Nicholas/Courtesy of The Muraka
Credit: Justin Nicholas/Courtesy of The Muraka

The Muraka villa, part of Hilton’s Conrad Hotels Maldives Rangali Island resort, is a bi-level residence with rooms both above and below the surface of the Indian Ocean. The underwater portion features a luxurious bedroom, bathroom, and living area with floor-to-ceiling windows offering panoramic views of sea life. The Muraka, which means “coral” in the native language of Dhivehi, isn’t the only undersea attraction this resort has to offer, with the property’s Ithaa Undersea Restaurant serving lunch and dinner five meters below the ocean’s surface.

Price per night: Starting at $22,000

The Manta Resort — Tanzania

Credit: Courtesy of The Manta Resort

The Underwater Room at The Manta Resort markets itself as subverting the fishbowl, turning the lens on guests to be observed by fish in a below-sea dreamscape. A 250-meter boat ride from shore, this three-level room is situated in a marine conservation area off Pemba Island, part of the Zanzibar Archipelago in Tanzania. With two outdoor decks, one at sea level and the other on the roof, guests will have 360-views both overlooking and looking through the Indian Ocean. Meals will be served at pre-arranged times, and the underwater hotel room’s security guard will be anchored nearby during your stay.

Price per night: $1,700 (3-night minimum stay)

Intercontinental Shanghai Wonderland — China

In an abandoned quarry about 20 miles from Shanghai, Intercontinental Shanghai Wonderland hotel (also called the Shimao Wonderland Intercontinental Hotel) is a feat of modern engineering, with 16 underground floors, two of which are underwater. The six underwater suites and underwater public spaces, including an underwater pool, all feature windows looking out into large, custom-built saltwater aquarium tanks, making up the area of the property called The Lagoon. Every night at 7:30, the five-star resort puts on an intricate water show that’s free for guests to view.

Price per night: Starting at $2,005

Resorts World Sentosa Ocean Suites — Singapore

The 11 underwater suites at this luxury hotel in Singapore are tucked beside the SEA Aquarium and Adventure Cove Water park and feature two stories — one above and one below water — to offer guests the “best of both land and sea.” The upper level has a living area connected to an outdoor patio and hot tub, and the lower, underwater level, provides guests with views of over 40,000 marine creatures. The suites are over 1,000 square feet and come with personalized butler service to complement your relaxing stay.

Price per night: Starting at $2,580