By Emily Gray
So you've eaten at the top of skyscrapers, you've dined at high altitude and had drinks in hidden subterranean bars, but what about dining underwater? When it comes to incredible experiences it doesn't get much better than swapping sweeping landscape views and cityscapes for the serenity of the ocean or changing people watching to watching shoals of reef fish, octopus and turtles. Here are five luxe underwater restaurants to add to your list and one seriously cool hotel room.
The first of four destinations in Maldives on our list is Subsix Niyama Private Islands and as far as arriving at a restaurant goes it doesn’t come much cooler than this. Guests reach the restaurant by speedboat before descending a dramatic three-tier staircase with Italian abstract chandeliers illuminating the descent. Six metres below sea level, they describe themselves as an underwater playground and it’s safe to say it’s going to be one of those unforgettable life experiences. Whilst you’re sipping Champagne at lunch or attending their Underwater Glow Party you’ll be able to see parrotfish, Moorish idols, Moray eels, groupers and the resident Hawksbill turtle.
Under, is Europe’s first, and the world’s largest, underwater restaurant. The striking restaurant juts out of the icy North Atlantic in Lindesnes in southern Norway, with the bottom half submerged 5 and a half metres below the surface. Not just about the cuisine or the architecture, Under is a restaurant with an equal focus on marine research, architecture and dining allowing you to gain a new understanding of humans' relationship with their surroundings and where your food comes from. Through the windows you can expect to see urchins, crabs, lobsters, spiny dogfish and even seals!
Image: Inger Marie Grini Bo Bedre Norge
M6m at OZEN
At the award-winning luxury resort of OZEN by Atmosphere at Maadhoo, Maldives you'll find underwater fine dining restaurant, M6m (aka minus six metres). Located six metres below the sparkling, turquoise surface the specialty modern seafood restaurant, serves up two five course degustation menus, with dishes including lobster with purple mash potato, rainbow carrot , basil volute and squid ink sago cracker.
Ithaa Undersea Restaurant
The world’s first undersea restaurant title goes to Ithaa Undersea Restaurant at Conrad Maldives Rangali. It also wins the title for the only restaurant made entirely of glass, giving you unparalleled views of the coral gardens and the fish that live amongst them. Open from mid-morning for cocktails, the restaurant showcases local flavours with Western influences. And if you want to have a wedding that will impress your guests like no other it’s available for weddings and private hire for special occasions.
As if Anantara Kihavah in the Maldives wasn’t enchanting enough (it’s a private island in an UNESCO Biosphere Reserve), it is also home to the award-winning underwater gourmet restaurant, SEA. Here you’ll find the world’s first underwater cellar, where you’ll find over 450 labels from 17 top wine producing countries. Instead of people watching whilst you work through the wine list, you’ll be able to watch the sharks, turtles and tropical fish swimming past.
The Manta Resort
Hidden away on Pemba Island off Tanzania, is the dreamy Manta Resort. The pinnacle of this paradise though has to The Underwater Room. It's not an underwater restaurant so strictly speaking shouldn't be in this guide, but how could we not include an underwater hotel room? Get this, it’s your own private floating hotel room anchored in the island’s marine conservation area known as the blue hole. Split across three floors, the Swedish-engineered structure consists of a sun-tanning / star -gazing deck, a lounge with views across the coral reef and the pièce de résistance, the bedroom under the water, giving you 360-degree views of the shoals of reef fish and maybe even an octopus. When you want to completely escape, it doesn't get much better than this.