Top Five Underwater Hotels
Jules Undersea Lodge
Julesâ€™ Undersea Lodge, named after the author of the famed maritime tale 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, is the worldâ€™s first underwater hotel. Originally built in the early 1970s as a groundbreaking research lab off the coast of Puerto Rico, the Lodge has been in business in Key Largo, Florida since relocating there and opening its hatch to the public in 1986.
Truly an innovative concept, Julesâ€™ Undersea Lodge claimed status as the worldâ€™s only underwater lodging available to the public until recent years when ecotourism has become all the rage. Many celebrities have enjoyed a stay including Steve Tyler of Aerosmith, John Fishman of Phish (of course) and former Canadian Prime Minister, Pierre Trudeau.
Visitors to Jules who are not certified divers will go through a 3-hour crash course in scuba diving before shacking up in their room for the night. After all, the entrance to the hotel is 21 feet underwater on the sea floor. If you are a diving enthusiast, the Undersea Park is your Mecca. In addition to the scuba crash course, the staff of Julesâ€™ Undersea Lodge offers extensive scuba certification courses and diving excursions.
After diving down and resurfacing through the wet room entrance, residents can doff their scuba garb and enjoy all the conveniences of modern life 21 feet below the surface. Patrons marvel at unobstructed views sea life in their natural settings through 42 inch windows. Completely stocked with modern conveniences like air-conditioning, hot showers, a stereo and a DVD player this hotel is perfect for the romantic getaway or the adventurer who truly desires a unique experience (and, yes, the Lodge is fully stocked with compressed air). Once underwater, visitors do not have to resurface until they desire. Dinner and breakfast are provided by the worldâ€™s only â€œmer-chefâ€ and delivered promptly at 6:00PM (dinner) and 8:00AM (breakfast). I would recommend a stay at the Undersea Lodge to anyone with an adventurous spirit. For those seeking a truly unique wedding experience, why not take advantage of the wedding package?
Underwater hotels are still largely a product of a vivid imagination. Several are in the planning stage or are currently under construction. A man named Mikael Genberg definitely had a vivid imagination when he constructed his Utter (Otter) Inn in Vasteras, Sweden in 2000. An artist and sculptor, Mr. Genberg chose to focus on â€œmaking art for the publicâ€ when he built the Utter Inn.
This one-room inn offers guests the chance to sleep 3m below the surface of Lake MÃ¤laren about 1km from shore. The Inn resembles a large buoy with the appearance of a Swedish red house with white gables. For an extra charge Mr. Genberg will deliver dinner to tenants, otherwise, guests are on their own.
The room offers panoramic views of the lake and an old switcheroo with the fishes. Instead of looking at fish in an aquarium, guest of the Utter are in the aquarium with the fish looking in. The Utter is truly a singular experience that few have known. However, it is a wildly popular destination during the summer months. Reservations well in advance are recommended.
One of the underwater hotels currently under construction is the Crescent Hydropolis of Dubai. Dubai has become notorious in recent years for its fabulously modern architecture. It seems the wildest architectural dreams become reality here. The Hydropolis furthers this notion. At a cost of some $550 million, the luxury resort is being built on the Persian Gulf floor â€“ 66 feet below the surface. When completed, the project will cover 27 acres and compose of an above ground â€œland stationâ€ connected by a 1700 foot transparent train tunnel to the undersea hotel which resembles the shape of a jellyfish. The 220 suites will be bubble-shaped, with clear glass comprising both the sleeping area walls and the bathtubs. I suppose modesty must be checked at the front desk also. Anxious sea-dwellers will have to wait until 2009 before making a reservation. You may even want to have a look at some existing Dubai hotels before diving into the ocean for Hydropolis.
Poseidon Undersea Resort
Another underwater hotel set to open in 2009 is the Poseidon of Fiji. This resort is being built 40 feet underwater. Another 5-star resort, the Poseidon is the brainchild of American submarine engineer Bruce Jones. Mr. Jones was heavily influenced by the novels of Jules Verne and movies like â€œThe Amphibia Manâ€ (obviously).
Each guest will have a personal Triton submarine at their disposal for exploring within the lagoon. For excursions to the areaâ€™s depths, tours on a 16-passenger luxury submarine will be provided. Activities are also available on Poseidon Mystery Island which has been artificially constructed for the resortâ€™s purposes. Though still under construction, room rates have been set. A standard 550 sq. foot suite can be had for about $1500 a night. But why stop there when you can reserve the whole of Poseidon Mystery Island for a mere $3,000,000?
Visitors will be able to see everything from their rooms through transparent acrylic walls and even feed fish swimming by. The luxery hotel is set to open by the end of 2008.
Underwater Hotel in Istanbul
More competition has arrived as Istanbul announces their intentions of opening their own underwater hotel in 2010. It will be 7 floors under sea level and according to experts, it may not be deep enough to really appreciate the underwater view.
Future plans for underwater hotels
The best news for those of us who donâ€™t live near any of these places is that the company behind the Hydropolis and the Qingdao project has plans to build these underwater hotels all over the world. Plans are in place already for London, Monaco, Munich, New York, and the Isle of Man. Exactly how underwater hotels will be built in landlocked cities London and Munich is beyond me, but Iâ€™ll leave that up to the experts.