The postcard-perfect Maldives has become synonymous with two things: diving and luxury. Throughout the archipelago, visitors will find upscale resorts that offer the opportunity to spend the morning snorkeling or diving alongside whale sharks and manta rays and the afternoon in a glorious spa. In 2012, the PER AQUUM Niyama resort combined luxury and the underwater world when it launched Subsix, the world’s first underwater nightclub. Located 1,650 feet (500m) from shore and 20 feet (6 m) down, Subsix allows guests to marvel at the surrounding reef while simultaneously reveling in the club’s gourmet food and cocktails. According to Niyama’s general manager, Dietmar Koegerl, “Subsix is the closest you can get to the reef without a mask or a wetsuit.” The venue proved so popular after its initial opening that “we knew we had hit on something special and had to take it to the next level,” said Koegerl.
Doing so meant a major restyling project, from which the nightclub emerged on May 14th, 2015. The facelift included a redesign inspired by the ocean and the Maldives’ thriving marine life. Divers that visit Subsix will immediately recognize the creatures that particularly influenced the club’s new look; the venue’s bespoke chairs, for example, boast a spiky aesthetic reminiscent of a sea urchin’s black spines, and the silver-paneled columns are clearly inspired by a manta ray’s ribbed gills. The nightclub’s bar is a fiberglass clamshell, wherein the mood lighting changes color subtly throughout the day. Of course, as ingenious as the club’s new design is, the real attraction is the venue’s expansive floor-to-ceiling windows, offering an uninterrupted view of the reef beyond.
More than 90 marine species live on the Subsix house reef, thanks in large part to a coral regeneration project launched by Niyama’s resident marine biologist in conjunction with the nightclub’s opening. Artificial structures augmented with broken bits of coral sit alongside the natural reef, providing shelter for a variety of marine species. From the windows of the club, guests can expect to see plentiful tropical reef fish, including butterflyfish and damselfish, while a nearby cleaning station offers occasional sightings of turtles, groupers and reef sharks. The ocean view is best during the day, of course, but on clear nights, the moonlight can offer a fascinating nocturnal perspective on the Subsix reef. To help Niyama’s guests make the most of Subsix’s unique location, the venue hosts marine-biologist led presentations that offer insight into the ocean ecosystem.
The newly restyled Subsix will host weekly parties and live DJs, as well as wedding receptions, private functions, gourmet dinners, champagne breakfasts and wine tastings. To reach Subsix, guests are transported by speedboat from the resort to the venue, where a three-tiered staircase lit by sparkling chandeliers leads the way down towards the seafloor.