Underwater hotels are no longer a thing of the future or James Bond films, as we’ve covered before here on Scuba Diver Life. Hotels with sleeping arrangements that are either fully submerged, or those featuring select rooms or shared areas, such as restaurants, that are underwater, are up-and-running in places such as the Florida Keys, Zanzibar, the Maldives and Sweden.
Soon there may be one more to choose from for the traveling, novelty-seeking scuba diver: Planet Ocean Underwater Hotel just received U.S. patent-protection on their concept and design, making it possible for the backers to move forward with the idea. While other projects are underway to create fully submerged luxury hotels around the world, all of them are still on the drawing board, meaning Planet Ocean Underwater Hotel could beat them all to it and become the world’s first underwater hotel.
The hotel itself is designed to sit at a depth of 28 feet, deep enough to be novel to non-divers, as it extends the range of breath-hold diving significantly. It also places the hotel in the water’s light zone, where patrons could really enjoy the colors of the wildlife and corals outside their windows.
An exact location hasn’t been chosen yet, but the designers behind it have named Hawaii and Egypt as their favorite locations, with Malaysia and the Bahamas cited as other potential spots.
The best location for a hotel such as this is, of course, in tropical waters — clear water, balmy temperatures and plentiful marine life make for an interesting stay, and good diving, and these areas are already popular with tourists. However, as some of these locations are sometimes hit by hurricanes, the hotel is actually able to move using an electromagnetic drive, allowing it to shift locations, within relatively short distances, to seek shelter in case of a storm or other potential threat.
Access to the hotel would be via a sealed, pressure-protected elevator from the surface, meaning no scuba training would be required. The hotel will feature 12 rooms, all with panoramic views of the water.
The project also has a philanthropic aspect: part of the hotel profits will be used to set up Biorock reef units around the world where the local corals are threatened or have already seen extensive damage. Biorock units are artificial reefs, made from metal wiring in a cage-like construction, upon which pieces of coral (sustainably harvested) are “planted.”
Hotel construction is projected to cost $20 million; no news yet on room prices, though.