Getting away from it all, under the sea
Maybe it's man's need to conquer the far reaches of the globe, the challenge of creating something totally new and seemingly impossible, or the mystique of the world under the planet's vast oceans… but today you'll find there's way more on the sea bed than coral and bottom feeders.
Take Huvafen Fushi in the Maldives – a luxury hotel with a spa that's submerged into the Indian Ocean. Have a massage while exotic fish, octopus and squid drift past the window next to you. It gives the illusion of floating, without getting soaked.
The Conrad Maldives Resort & Spa have taken the underwater theme and applied it to a super-exclusive restaurant, Ithaa.
This tiny eatery is enclosed in a large tube that was submerged in the bay of the hotel – an impressive feat of engineering that has resulted in one of the most exciting new restaurants in the world.
Yes, it's expensive – and, yes, there is a long waiting list… But hey, dinner in a fish tank is about as different as it gets. Just be sensitive
when you're eating the fish course.
Meanwhile in Fiji, Poseidon Undersea Resorts, a massive underwater hotel, is poised to open in September. Forty feet under the water's surface, it's like a resort inside a giant submarine.
Speaking of subs, if you want to do a little exploring on the ocean floor, the hotel will have a small submarine available for you to get around.
Once again, it'll set you back the annual salary of a Starbucks barista to go there for a week… but what's money when you can sleep nose-to-nose with sharks?
Strictly speaking, Poseidon may not
be the world's first underwater hotel, though we're not sure the Utter Inn
in Sweden is technically a hotel. More
of an art installation that you can overnight in, it's a small hut with a watertight version of itself underneath
it, submerged in Lake Mälaren.
Not for the claustrophic, it only has enough space for twin beds and a table, and you may feel a little like a goldfish in a bowl as boats float past to check you out. But it's just about as unique a space as you'll ever get the chance to stay in.
There's also a converted research station, Jules' Undersea Lodge, in Key Largo, Florida, which offers cosy, quirky overnights fully immersed 21ft under the sea. You enter it by scuba diving through a tropical mangrove.
Other exciting underwater destinations include the world's first undersea sculpture park located off the coast of Caribbean island, Grenada.
Created by artist Jason de Caires Taylor, it's a sensational sight for snorkellers, but it also has a potent message: the importance of preserving
Another strange sight for divers is the Underwater Post Office in Vanuatu –
a fully-functional mailing station located off the coast of Hideaway Island. All postcards are waterproof and guaranteed to reach their destination.
Other exciting destinations to come include the Songjiang Hotel in China, which promises to house a number of its rooms under the water of the quarry in which it's being built.
There's also the spectacular
Hydropolis under construction in the Arabian Gulf off Dubai. It's costing
£300 million and will have 220 suites,
many of which will be fully submerged.
And if you're not content to stay in one place and let the world float past you, you can always get yourself a sQuba.
The world's first fully submersible car,
it can drive straight into the sea from
the beach. Sure you'll have to wear scuba gear to breathe (it's a convertible), but it can drop to a
depth of 10 meters and looks pretty sharp too.
– Roshan McArthur