Over-water bungalows are so last decade; the world’s first underwater villa is all set to be launched in Maldives this year. By Shikha Pushpan
The Conrad Maldives Rangali Island resort is taking all your underwater fantasies to a whole new level with its new USD15 million two-storey villa, part of which will be 16.4 feet below the surface of the Indian Ocean.
Set for a November launch, the villa has been aptly named Muraka, or “coral”. While the upper level will house a sunrise-facing relaxation deck, ocean-facing bathtub, gym, a bar, an infinity pool, and butler’s quarters, the undersea suite section will be home to a king-size bedroom, living area, and bathroom. The two levels—measuring 550 sq mt and 102 sq mt respectively— will be connected by a spiral staircase, with a curved acrylic dome offering 180 degree panoramic view of the surrounding marine life. In total, the villa can accommodate nine guests.
The revolutionary living space is being designed by New Zealand based-underwater design specialists MJ Murphy Ltd, who also designed the Ithaa Underwater Restaurant at the resort almost 13 years ago.
In the past, several other hotels, such as Atlantis, the Palm in Dubai and The Manta Resort on Pemba Island, have opened underwater rooms and suites. However, this is the first time a villa or a “residence” is being built undersea. More recently, the Dubai-based Kleindienst Group launched three underwater bedrooms as part of its bigger project The Heart of Europe, off the coast of Dubai. While one these villas sank in January this year, another toppled into the sea while being transported, and the third is supported by sand bags to keep it upright.