Sometimes you just want to get away. Like really away. Like “bottom of the ocean” away.
Maybe you want to submerge for a week or two, or perhaps just head underwater for long enough to grab a bite to eat. Either way, in the following luxurious spots you can sleep and eat in the height of luxury, but instead of the standard metropolitan fare outside your window, you can expect to see lush, peaceful ocean life.
If we neglected to include your favorite aquatic establishment, don’t hold out, add it to the Atlas!
KEY LARGO, FLORIDA
Despite the fact that it’s named for Jules Verne, Jules’ Undersea Lodge isn’t exactly 20,000 leagues under the sea. It rests only two fathoms down, at the bottom of a lagoon, and if you understand the nautical conversion of fathoms to leagues you should probably book your stay now.
A scuba dive is necessary to even get into the lodge, and once you’re in, you’ve seen most of it. The lodge is more 1970s submarine than full-service hotel, but staff will deliver you a pizza via airlock. If solitude is what you’re looking for, Jules’ Undersea Lodge is a good bet. No other patrons and no hustle and bustle of city sounds here—just the occasional fishy visitor and the peaceful “bloop” of bubbles.
ADDU CITY, MALDIVES
To call Ithaa Undersea Restaurant exclusive is an understatement. To access the glass-domed dining room guests must walk out onto the water atop a thin jetty, into a small thatched hut, and descend a five-meter (16-foot) spiral staircase into the ocean. The restaurant can only seat 14 people, and “children are welcome at lunch, but not dinner.”
Once inside, diners can watch tropical fish, sharks, sting rays, and the like swim around them as they eat.
Part hotel, part marine life observatory, and part art installation, the Utter Inn on Sweden’s Lake Malaren offers a stay like no other. Guests are picked up by raft, dropped off at the inn (the name of which translates to ”Otter Inn”), and left to their own devices. Their only means of transportation is a small rowboat attached to the inn, with which they can explore nearby islands.
The top floor of the tiny cabin contains just a toilet and a small cooker, but down a narrow ladder a whole new world opens up. The bedroom, too, is itty bitty (just two twin beds and a flower pot), but beyond its four windows is the expanse of the lake where pike and other underwater life abound.
NIYAMA RESORT, MALDIVES
As with most of these underwater hot spots, Subsix is hard to get to, which only contributes to its exclusivity and appeal. The Maldives restaurant/bar/club is in the Indian Ocean in a coral reef amongst eels, sharks, and turtles. The reef has been tended to by a marine biologist, and as it grows around the restaurant the marine life will proliferate and bloom. Subsix allegedly only closes once the last guest has left, so you can party with the fish as late as you like.
PEMBA ISLAND, TANZANIA
It looks like a floating dock, where guests can lie on the boards to sunbathe, stargaze, and dive right from their doorway into the ocean. But if you’re staying in the much-desired Underwater Room at the Manta Resort, it’s as though you’ve entered another world. In a sense, you have. Most of the bedroom walls are windows to the ocean outside. Looking out, one feels totally alone—except, of course, for the hundreds of fish.