It was Sebastian the Crab who once opined, “Just look at the world around you/Right here on the ocean floor/Such wonderful things surround you/What more is you lookin’ for?”
The Conrad Maldives Rangali Island is famously home to the underwater restaurant Ithaa, but why spend a mere evening dining underwater when you can spend four nights sleeping in your own underwater reverse-aquarium?
This was the challenged posed to the daring architects and engineers behind The Muraka, the Conrad’s 600-ton luxury residence 16-feet underwater in the Maldives. The two-story villa, which opens this month, allows its guests to spend the night completely submerged underwater with the great expanse of the ocean and all its inhabitants visible on the other side of its glass walls. What makes The Muraka unique (compared to other water lodgings) is that it’s totally in the uncontrolled environment of the open ocean.
But no one ever said the mermaid lifestyle was going to be frugal. The price tag is $50,000 a night with a minimum stay of four nights. That’s $200,000 just to get in the door. Of course you’re not just paying for a bed, your super luxe travel package includes transport to the Muraka via a private seaplane (or they can go by speedboat which guests are free to use throughout their stay), a butler that’s available round-the-clock, plus private massage therapists and chefs. There’s also a top level above the waves that has bedrooms, a deck for sunning yourself, and an infinity pool (it’s like Inception but instead of dreams it’s water).
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Of course, if you’re someone who suffers from aquaphobia (an irrational fear of water) the thought of staying in this underwater villa is less of a dream and more of a nightmare made manifest. Of course, The Muraka isn’t the only hotel experience that’s totally unique, exciting … and a terrifying prospect if you harbor certain phobias.
Skylodge Adventure Suites
Best avoided if you are acrophobic (afraid of heights)
If you’re a constant fixture of your gym’s climbing wall, it’s entirely possible you’d be thrilled with the challenge of scaling a mountain in order to check in. The Skylodge Adventure Suites in Peru’s Sacred Valley offers views that are truly unparalleled (both in quality and in terms of height). But if even being a skyscraper fills with you with impenetrable dread than sleeping in a transparent capsule on the side of a cliff is going to be a no-go.
Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort
Best avoided if you are cryophobic (fear of freezing)
Seeing the Northern Lights is probably an item on just about everyone’s bucket list. So what could be more thrilling than spending all night staring up at the dazzlingly colored lights as they dance their way across the sky? The Kelo-Glass igloos at Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort in Finland make it possible to do just that. Which is great if you’re not afraid of a sudden blizzard snowing you in …
Best avoided if you are bathophobic (fear of depths)
Maybe you really, really, really want to get away from it all. Like descend-508-feet-underground levels of away from it all. The Sala Silvermine in Sweden is more than happy to make that happen with the World’s Deepest Suite. But if you harbor a fear of depths this luxury room for two is more likely to give you heart palpitations than a sense of wonder.
Best avoided if you are anthrophobic (fear of people)
Meeting new people is one of the most exciting parts of traveling. But ideally, you’re meeting those people while out and about, exploring a new place. Not because it’s time to go to sleep and your new acquaintances are stacked together in slightly-larger-than-coffin-sized pods. The Capsule Kanda in Tokyo can be a unique experience if you’re extremely extroverted, but if you share Jean-Paul Sartre’s view on what constitutes hell than this probably isn’t the hotel for you.
Das Park Hotel
Best avoided if you are coprophobic (fear of feces)
It’s always exciting when a hotel is not only to do something sustainable but creative. Indeed, the Dasparkhotel in Austria is brilliant. The industrial pipes that have been turned into hotel rooms are incredibly durable and they make for an interesting experience. But since these weren’t just any industrial pipes they were, in fact, sewage pipes, sufferers of copophobia are unlikely to get a good night’s sleep as they’ll be spending their time scanning the interior walls wondering what parts were touched by feces.