Travelers from all over the world in search of new destinations to explore are increasingly looking underwater, where a growing assortment of luxury experiences await. Some are offered in conjunction with a beach resort or on stilts, while others offer intrepid adventurers the chance to channel their inland ocean explorer, diving hundreds of feet below the surface in search of wrecks, animals. exotic wilds and more.
For adventurers who have already mastered the art of scuba diving (or looking to avoid certification) and looking to sink even deeper into the Great Abyss, there’s The Deep Blue Experience from Fraser & U. Boat. Guests can explore forgotten wrecks and underwater volcanoes across the Mediterranean on the U Boat Navigator, a 24-meter expedition yacht that houses a pair of Triton submarines capable of diving 1,000 meters deep; a custom-built Triton 3300/3 for three people, the same model used to film the award-winning BBC film Blue planet II– and a smaller Triton 3300/1 for a person serving as a support sub.
The U Boat Navigator travels through Malta, France, Spain, Italy, Greece and beyond, aided by a crew of six professionals, including a certified doctor trained to use specialized medical equipment on board. There’s even a full dive center with breathing gas mixing facilities.
âThe Deep Blue experience was carved out of a void in luxury travel, a void that lacked a deeper connection to the elements, our thirst for the unknown and our new urge for deeper and more experiences. significant, âsaid Raphael Sauleau, CEO of Fraser Yachts.
At around $ 130,000 per week (or $ 140,000 per week during the summer months), the package, which accommodates up to 11 people on a cruise, is ideal for amateur explorers with a passion for world history, wrecks or geology. The rate includes 30 hours of use of the submersible per week, all diving equipment for up to six people, as well as the use of a decompression chamber, a wet diving bell with hydraulic crane and of a Sea-Doo Spark jet ski.
The U Boat Navigator can be chartered as a self-contained exploration vessel or as a ghost ship for someone’s primary rental or their own yacht. Fraser creates tailor-made itineraries based on the interests of the client, including wrecks, dive sites, Mediterranean volcanoes, underwater cinematography, and more.
An aquatic playground
Renowned for their overwater bungalows and endless blue waters, the Maldives have become a favorite water playground for the global jet set. In November 2018, at a cost of over US $ 15 million, Conrad Maldives Rangali Island launched The Muraka (“coral” in Dhivehi, the local language), a luxury suite submerged more than 16 feet below the surface. some water.
Tucked away on the ground floor of the Indian Ocean, the two-level structure features an above-water living space, sitting above a master bedroom with a 180-degree curved acrylic dome. degrees, windows in the bathroom and walk-in closet, and a dedicated tunnel viewing theater that doubles as a personal aquarium. Ranging from around US $ 12,000 to US $ 35,000 per night (depending on season), the suite, which can accommodate up to nine people, includes an infinity pool, gym, private bar, and service 24 hour butler. Junior explorers can go glamping with the fish, as staff will set up a teepee in the underwater suite, complete with flashlights, a pillow box, and personalized treats.
Huvafen Fushi, a luxury resort located on North Male Atoll, has placed its spa below the water surface, the first and only spa of its kind in the world, to deliver next-level calm and relaxation . To make the most of the hypnotic refuge eight meters below the water’s surface, a SpaQuarium experience is offered every evening at nightfall. Guests enjoy champagne, canapes, and petits fours while the resort’s marine biologist comments on nocturnal predators (sharks, rays, eels), bioluminescent plankton, and pristine corals illuminated by UV lamps.
Resort guests can experience the spa’s underwater treatment rooms via a pair of services designed to work in harmony with the peace and quiet of the ocean surroundings. The aptly named Underwater Dream uses the power of touch to restore natural sleep patterns, while the Underwater Rendezvous is a two hour journey of healing and rejuvenation.
The Maldives have seen several other notable properties, open underwater facilities, and attractions in recent years.
Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas, located on Baa Atoll, a UNESCO renowned biosphere reserve with one of the richest diversity of marine life in the world, offers SEA, an underwater restaurant and wine cellar offering the country’s first certified wine education. Guests can deepen their wine knowledge and earn a globally recognized Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) certification while on vacation. (The resort’s wine collection is valued at over US $ 2 million.)
Guests enjoy an array of underwater activities including the Snorkeling with Manta Rays program; the surrounding waters, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, are home to the world’s largest manta ray feeding natural region from June to November, allowing visitors to get up close while swimming with hundreds of gentle giants.
Niyama Private Islands Maldives, the whole of which, including a pair of private islands with 134 spacious villas, can be rented for $ 130,000 net per night and is home to Subsix, the world’s first underwater club, located six meters away below sea level. If lounging with drinks while admiring the bioluminescent activity doesn’t appeal, the underwater space also hosts private chef dinners, wine tastings, weddings and events.
Journey Beyond, which owns and operates 13 tourism brands across Australia, draws serious divers to Queensland’s beautiful Whitsunday Islands, home to the company’s Reefsuites. Opened in 2019, the country’s first underwater accommodation offers unprecedented access to the dazzling underwater world of the Great Barrier Reef. Moored offshore on a pontoon at Hardy Reef, 40 nautical miles from Airlie Beach, the Reefsuites offer a plethora of aquatic adventures, and guests can take a scenic helicopter flight to see the famous Heart Reef.
French cruise line Ponant, known for its world-class service and cuisine, launched the world’s first multisensory underwater lounge, Blue Eye, which allows customers to see, hear and feel the sights and sounds. sounds of the ocean. Offered on each of the six Ponant Explorer ships, Blue Eye was designed by Jacques Rougerie, a French architect specializing in underwater habitats, and was inspired by 20000 Leagues Under the Sea.
Perhaps the most remarkable underwater restaurant on the planet, Under is located on the rugged coast of Lindesnes in Norway. The architecturally striking resort is tilted 18 feet below the icy waters of the North Sea. Chef Nicolai Ellitsgaard’s Immersion Tasting Menu features nearly 20 seasonally inspired dishes, with an emphasis on locally caught Norwegian seafood. Sustainability is built into the restaurant itself, as the raw concrete exterior attracts limpets and kelp, gradually forming an artificial reef. Guests and visiting researchers study the biology and behavior of the abundant cold-water marine life through panoramic views of the North Atlantic seabed.