Over the years, plans for a fully submerged luxury underwater hotel, like the Poseidon Undersea Resort in Fiji or Hydropolis in Dubai, have been mapped out. But they’ve yet to become a reality for intrepid travelers. Until that happens, you can still realize your dreams of living like the Little Mermaid or Captain Nemo with hotels that incorporate the magic of being underwater into their designs. From floating villas with underwater bedrooms to suites that look out into aquariums, these aquatically minded hotels are popping up everywhere from the Maldives to Shanghai. For a unique overnight stay, book a room in one of these six underwater hotels, where the coolest amenity might be a shark or a sea turtle floating right by your bed.
Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, Maldives
- Location: Rangali Island, Maldives
- Why we love it: Tunnel-shaped bedroom, personal infinity pool, the world’s first underwater restaurant
- Loyalty program: Hilton Honors
- Book now
The Conrad Maldives Rangali Island resort has had overwater bungalows for years. But in November 2018, it debuted a two-level villa called the Muraka, which means “coral” in the local Dhivehi language. Upstairs at sea level, there are two bedrooms, a bathroom with an oceanfront tub, and an outdoor deck with an infinity pool. From here, you take a spiral staircase or elevator down to your underwater lair, which is submerged 16 feet below the Indian Ocean. The villa’s main bedroom is located inside a 180-degree clear acrylic tunnel (pictured above), like those you sometimes see in aquariums.
This resort previously made waves when it opened Ithaa Undersea Restaurant, the first of its kind in the world, offering set lunch and dinner menus with a show: dazzling fish swimming around the coral gardens outside the window.
InterContinental Shanghai Wonderland, China
- Location: Shanghai, China
- Why we love it: Innovative architecture, underwater restaurant
- Loyalty program: IHG One
- Book now
This innovative “earthscraper” hotel opened its doors in November 2018 in an abandoned quarry in southwestern Shanghai, and it’s an attention-grabbing architectural marvel: Sixteen of its 18 floors sit underground, alongside the quarry’s cliffs, stretching down nearly 300 feet below sea level.
The two lowest floors also happen to be located underwater, with views of the hotel’s aquarium, and there are options across several room categories that offer this unique vantage point. In addition to Premium Rooms and Underwater View Suites, there’s a Duplex Suite, which has a living room that looks into the aquarium and an upstairs bedroom with views of the quarry. Also located below the surface is Mr. Fisher, the hotel’s seafood restaurant.
The Manta Resort, Tanzania
- Location: Pemba Island, Tanzania
- Why we love it: Wildlife-rich reefs, conservation and community-based initiatives
- Book now
Part of the Zanzibar archipelago off the coast of Tanzania, Pemba Island is surrounded by one of the healthiest coral reefs in the Indian Ocean, filled with sea turtles, sponges, anemones, and a rainbow assortment of fish. But you don’t have to stop communing with the sea life after you come back from a dive: To truly immerse yourself in the aquatic atmosphere here, book the Underwater Room at the Manta Resort on the island’s west coast.
Accessible only by boat, this underwater hotel room is technically a floating, Swedish-engineered villa anchored to the ocean floor. In the underwater bedroom, you can watch the local fish swim by while you relax. Upstairs at sea level, you’ll find the villa’s living room and bathroom, while the local hardwood rooftop is perfect for sunbathing by day and stargazing at night. The experience is all-inclusive (aside from additional excursions or dives) and has a three-night minimum stay; each guest is asked to give a $45 donation to the Kwanini Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to sustainable development, education and healthcare for the local community, and marine and terrestrial conservation.
Atlantis the Palm, United Arab Emirates
- Location: Dubai, United Arab Emirates
- Why we love it: A bathtub with a view, access to the world’s largest water park
- Book now
Inspired by the mythological lost city of Atlantis, this Dubai resort takes its aquatic theming very seriously: It’s built on the Palm Jumeirah, a palm-shaped artificial archipelago that juts out into the Persian Gulf, and it’s home to Aquaventure, the world’s largest water park; Atlas Village, where you can kayak or swim with Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins and South African fur seals; and the Lost Chambers Aquarium, with its 65,000 marine creatures.
You can explore those waters by scuba diving, snorkeling, or even walking underwater wearing a special helmet—or simply book the Underwater Suite, which has large windows looking out into the 3 million–gallon Ambassador Lagoon. You can wake up to sharks, rays, and fish gliding by your king bed or even take in the scenery from the comfort of your bathtub.
Equarius Ocean Suites at Resorts World Sentosa, Singapore
- Location: Sentosa Island, Singapore
- Why we love it: Access to Resort World’s theme park and casino, private Jacuzzis
- Loyalty program: Genting Rewards
- Book now
Located on an island just off the southern coast of Singapore, Resorts World Sentosa is a family-friendly vacation hub that’s home to Universal Studios Singapore, a casino, a water park, and an aquarium. Among the many hotel options here is Equarius Ocean Suites, a collection of 11 two-story townhouses that come with personalized butler service. The lower bedroom level looks out into the resort’s aquarium, allowing you to come face-to-gill with 40,000 fish, including manta rays and clownfish, while the upper living areas feature an outdoor patio area with its own private Jacuzzi.
Cruise Whitsundays Reefsuites, Australia
- Location: Whitsunday Islands, Queensland, Australia
- Why we love it: Front-row view of the Great Barrier Reef, underwater observatory, snorkeling tours
- Book now
There may be no better view of the Great Barrier Reef than the one from your bed at Australia’s first underwater hotel, Reefsuites, which is run by Cruise Whitsundays. The tour operator has a multi-level facility called Reefworld, a pontoon moored 39 nautical miles offshore at Hardy Reef, with an underwater observatory and two suites submerged underneath. The reef is home to trevally, coral trout, snapper, and a nearly seven-foot-long giant Queensland groper (grouper) who hangs out in the area.
The experience begins with a scenic tour through the Whitsundays, an archipelago of 74 islands off the coast of Queensland known for its pristine beaches, reef access, and ultra-clear waters. Your stay includes three meals and both morning and afternoon teas, plus beer and wine. Reefsuites illuminates the surrounding water at night so you can see fish swimming by at any time, and you can also join in a complimentary snorkeling tour or ride on a semi-submarine.