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Stay Underwater On Vacation

Ever wanted to sleep with the fishes? Not in the mob-boss sort of way, but literally — sleep with a view of the fish right outside your window?

Ever wanted to stay underwater on vacation? If so, there are a few hotels you’ve got to visit. Some are very basic; some are extremely luxurious, but each focuses on full immersion while you eat, sleep and relax.

A number of hotels have sprung up worldwide, most of them in exotic, tropical locations, which offer one or more rooms underwater, with a view of the life outside the room. And they are generally quite pricey, so you may not want to plan an entire vacation there, but a single night or two might be worth it.

Decompression Problems?

Some divers may have misgivings about underwater hotels, as they may fear that staying underwater will mess up their surface intervals. The worry is not unwarranted, as the first cases of decompression illness were not among scuba divers, but among bridge-construction workers, working on bridge pillars beneath the surface but in dry habitats, so it is possible to be pressurized without being in the water. But the majority of hotels explicitly state that the pressure inside these underwater rooms is the same as at the surface, so it shouldn’t cause any problems. It is worth enquiring about, though, if you cannot find the info on the website of your hotel of choice.

Most Like Your Own Tropical Island

The Manta Resort on Pemba Island, off the coast of Zanzibar, offers Africa’s first underwater accommodation. This room is actually a 3-story private island in the Indian Ocean, featuring a sundeck up top, a room and outside lounge area at sea level, and a bedroom below sea level, complete with large, panoramic windows to observe the local marine wildlife. The whole thing is part of a larger resort, and is moored just off shore. Described as “a once-in-a-lifetime experience for both divers and non-divers,” it doesn’t come cheap, as a single night will run you $1,500.

Most Luxurious

The Atlantis Hotel on Palm Island in Dubai offers two submerged rooms, among its 1,500, fittingly named Poseidon and Neptune. The hotel is much like Atlantis in the Bahamas, and is also themed around the mythological city of Atlantis. The two submerged rooms look into the Ambassador Lagoon, with a constructed “lost city” and more than 65,000 marine animals. A night in one of the suites will set you back around $850.

Most Like The Abyss

The first underwater hotel in the world, and the only one (so far) in the U.S., Jules’ Undersea Lodge began service as a research lab off the coast of Puerto Rico. Since 1986 (when the hotel’s promotional images appear to have been taken) it’s been an underwater hotel in Key Largo, Florida. Quite a bit more basic than the other resorts we’ve mentioned, consider this hotel more like your chance to camp underwater, as it still feels more like the research lab it once was — but stays do include a pizza delivery dinner. Unlike the other underwater accommodations on this list, which don’t necessarily require guests to be scuba divers, the only way to get to this hotel is via scuba; guests must enter through the airlock. Non-divers must take a 3-hour Discover Scuba class before checking in. One night for two people runs $800, and includes both the pizza dinner, a light breakfast and snacks.

Most Unlikely

This underwater hotel looks like Pippi Longstocking’s house set afloat in the frigid waters of a Swedish lake. And why the heck not? Definitely the most novel underwater hotel of the bunch, Utter Inn in Vasteras, Sweden is the brainchild of Swedish artist Mikael Genberg. Located just short of a mile off shore in Lake Malaren, the hotel features one room, in 10 feet (3 meters) of water, with an above-water structure that looks like a traditional Swedish wooden house. The room itself is somewhat Spartan, and sleeps only two people. Food is either self-catered, or, for a surcharge, the manager will bring you dinner and breakfast. The views outside the window may not be as colorful as in a tropical location, but the novelty effect is incomparable. The room goes for around $300 for double occupancy.

Most In The Future

A number of large-scale endeavors have been underway for some time. The private-island Poseidon Undersea Resort  scheduled in Fiji will look like something straight out of a Bond movie, and claims that it will be the most luxurious underwater hotel in the world. Plans include 22 underwater rooms, all with views of the surrounding lagoon. It has been under construction for some time, though, and details on when it’s scheduled to open are hard to come by. Its status as “most luxurious” may be usurped before it even opens though, by an underwater hotel Hydropolis in Dubai, which is also currently under construction. This project is facing some funding issues, but plans to open its 220 luxury suites to guests “soon.” Prices are expected to be nothing short of astronomical, as the hotel claims it will be a 10-star establishment (Dubai runs its own star rating), and the most luxurious hotel in the world.

There you have it — if you’d like to stay underwater on vacation, the possibilities range from chilly Swedish lakes to astronomically expensive habitats. Have we missed your favorite underwater hotel? Let us know where you’ve stayed.