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February 23, 2007

Waterpipe Dreams

They'll get the bellhop, excuse me, submarine to take you to your room.

A three-way race is on to build the world’s first underwater luxury hotel. Even though it isn’t slated to open until next year, Poseidon Undersea Resort in Fiji has just started taking reservations. Located 40 feet beneath the surface of a lagoon, the sea-floor hotel will feature a $20,000-per-night suite that is accessible by only submarine (the mooks paying just $1,500 will enter their rooms via an underwater tunnel). And its fishbowl windows will face one of Asia’s liveliest coral reefs.

An even more ambitious project is under development in Dubai — the Middle-east’s official capital for people who have more money than sense. Hydropolis is a half-billion-dollar hotel shaped like a jellyfish with 220 rooms, a shopping mall and a missile defense system to guard against terrorists. Though like Poseidon, construction snafus seem to signal its 2008 opening will in fact be 2009. And let’s face it — you’ll be jetting to the moon by then.

Meantime, the Chinese are now chasing their own water-pipe dream, in Shanghai. And with the backing of the Shimao Group, one of the country’s fastest growing developers, they just might save face. Keeping with scuba tradition, however, don’t hold your breath: the Shanghai Shimao Wonderland has also given a 2009 opening date.

For those who can’t wait to go sub-aquatic, may we suggest a visit to the Hilton Maldives Resort & Spa, which for now at least still boasts the world’s only underwater restaurant? (Try the fish.) And of course, you can always rough it at the more spartan Jules Undersea Lodge, the underwater hotel that first broke the waves, in Key Largo.

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read more: 02. Sleep | unusual | 03. Spa | 05. Eat | 07. Beach | 08. Journey

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