Below Sea Level

Stay at One of These Five-Starfish Hotels

We here at Whalebone Real Estate think you, the consumer, should really start experiencing the majesty of the underwater world. This is largely to do with the fact that you may, in fact, have to live underwater in the near future. If you’re not yet in the good practice of wading into bodies of water and sitting patiently for six hours every day—in the hopes that evolution will meet you halfway and give you gills before Mother Nature makes Kelly Slater’s desert wave pool kind of irrelevant, then we at least think you should stay a night or two at one of these beautiful underwater resorts—to meet the neighbors. Welcome to the Blue Planet.

The Manta Resort – Pemba Island, Zanzibar

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A nice and easy swan dive right into your very own underwater island getaway. Off the coast of East Africa, the Manta Resort offers a suite called the Underwater Room. This three-tier floating paradise is engineered by the Swedish, who really know their architecture and meatballs. The first level is a hardwood deck for sunbathing and, presumably, escaping the prying eyes of the peeping octopi on the lower levels. The next level is the primary deck where you can fasten your flippers and dive in for some proper snorkeling and discover a new species of fish or man-eating shark or whatever. Level 3 is your main attraction with a beautiful king-sized bed—oh and a 360-view of the deep blue. Flush with reef fish, octopi and Spanish dancers, no one would fault you for wanting to stay in bed all day. $1,700 a night.

Utter Inn – Vasteras, Sweden

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Swedes are back at it again with the underwater innovation. But this time we’re not hitting you with any frills my dude, this is all experience and minimalism. Created by local artist Mikael Genberg, this single-room structure sits 3 meters below the surface of Lake Mälaren and gives you a panoramic view of aquatic life and Swedish fish—heh. One review suggested that this is “an aquarium, where the fish get to look upon you.” Now that is some freaky Twilight Zone thinking, but we’re in nonetheless. Stay for an affordable $165 a night.

Atlantis, The Palm – Dubai

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From a Swedish shack to the least understated resort in Dubai, if you’re ready to drop the coin then get ready for the pampering. We’ll get to the water thing in a minute. The Poseidon and Neptune suites of the Atlantis have 24-hour butler service, which seems a bit much until you figure out that the bathroom amenities are made of 24-karat-fucking-gold—the butlers may just be checking to make sure you’re not scrapping the bathtub into your suitcase. These suites give you a panoramic view of the Ambassador Lagoon, which is home to over 65,000 marine inhabitants—including sharks and stingrays. If you’re feeling feisty and don’t have too much stolen gold in your scuba suit, then book the Ultimate Dive and venture into the tank to swim and even feed some of the aquatic life. $8,000+ a night.

Jules’ Undersea Lodge – Key Largo, Fla.

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Named for Jules Verne, author of “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea,” Jules’ Undersea Lodge is the only true underwater hotel in America right now. Just to get your foot in the door you have to dive about 21ft down. Located in a tropical mangrove, the scuba-in, scuba-out suite used to be the La Chalupa marine biology lab, so the amenities are a bit more basic than the lavish love nests of Dubai. The real luxury here is for the avid scuba diver to be able to seamlessly slip in and out of the room for some underwater adventure, hopefully you can hear the Jack Whales signing. Bonus, you can have pizza scuba-delivered to you, which is nice. $375 a night.