8 amazing underwater attractions
(CNN) — If you really want to “get away from it all,” there’s only one place for it. Outer space.
But a good second option can be found in the opposite direction — under the sea, with only glass between you and oceans of water.
Try these attractions, usually the domain of snorkelers, divers and fish, for a pseudo-otherworldly experience.
No breath-holding required.
LIME Spa at Huvafen Fushi, Maldives
The underwater ambiance is perfect for meditation.
The spa takes its underwater theme seriously, right down to the seawater and sea mineral-based tonics and elixirs.
The spa, part of the Huvafen Fushi luxury resort, also has steam and sauna rooms, a yoga pavilion and a gym.
Huvafen Fushi, North Male Atoll, Maldives; +960 6644 222
Jules’ Undersea Lodge, Key Largo, Florida, United States
Named after French author Jules Verne, the former research lab isn’t quite “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea,” but rather 6.4 meters beneath the surface of the water.
Jules’ caters to experienced scuba divers, with all dive gear and unlimited dives included in the room rates. But even guests who have never dived before can stay at the lodge by taking a three-hour class that allows them to dive in the company of instructors.
The hotel also offers certification training and numerous other dive courses.
Jules’ Undersea Lodge, Key Largo Undersea Park, Key Largo, Florida, United States; +1 305 451 2353
Miami Seaquarium Sea Trek Reef Encounter, Florida, United States
After strapping on special diving helmets and wetsuits, visitors take a 20-minute walk through the park’s 1,135,623-liter coral reef. No scuba diving experience is required.
Miami Seaquarium, 4400 Rickenbacker Causeway, Miami, Florida, United States; +1 305 361 5705
Sea Restaurant at Anantara Kihavah Villas, Maldives
Dine with the fishes at Anantara Dhigu.
The octagonal-shaped Sea boasts not just a 360-degree view of passing marine life, but also an extensive wine cellar with more than 250 labels.
Anantara Kihavah Villas, Kihavah Huravalhi Island, Baa Atoll, Maldives; +960 660 1020
Museo Subacuatico de Arte (MUSA), Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico
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An underwater museum with an eco twist.
This unique installation of sculptures by artist Jason deCaires Taylor was designed not only to encourage appreciation of the arts, but also to draw traffic away from nearby natural reefs, which were starting to show the strain of 750,000 visitors a year.
The museum comprises more than 400 original sculptures, which also serve as artificial reefs. Many are of human figures, making the ocean floor resemble some beautifully spooky lost world, its inhabitants frozen in space and time.
MUSA is divided into two galleries, one of which is accessible to both divers and snorkelers, the others to snorkelers only. To visit, contact a Cancun dive or snorkel operation such as Delfin Diving, Aquaworld or Aqua Adventures.
Museo Subacquatico de Arte (MUSA), Isla Mujeres National Marine Park; +52 998 883 1210
Underwater suites at Atlantis, The Palm, Dubai
Who needs a waterbed when you’ve got a water room?
Windows offer guests views into an aquarium, home to thousands of fish.
The five star hotel doesn’t skimp on anything — guests can also enjoy soap containing gold flakes and a personal butler.
Atlantis, The Palm, Crescent Road, The Palm, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, +971 4 426 2000
Hotell Utter Inn, Vasteras, Sweden
Guests are ferried out to the hotel and then left there with an inflatable boat, which they can use to visit a nearby uninhabited island or simply putter around their “backyard.”
There’s a refrigerator, a portable gas heater, twin beds and a toilet; but otherwise the Utter Inn is amenity-free.
Guests starving for food or company can spring for the deluxe package, which includes a dinner drop-off.
Hotell Utter Inn, Vasterasfjarden/Amundsgrund, Malaren, Vasteras, Sweden; +46 21 39 01 00
Ithaa Undersea Restaurant, Maldives
There are only 12 seats at this restaurant — but all of them have fantastic views of the Indian Ocean overhead.
Now located five meters below sea level, the world’s first underwater restaurant serves “Maldivian-Western fusion cuisine” in a stunning all-glass setting.
Prices aren’t cheap, but it’s not every dining experience that can boast a panoramic view of the very sea life you might be eating.
Fun fact: The restaurant is also available for weddings.
Ithaa Undersea Restaurant, Conrad Maldives, Rangali Island, 2034, Maldives; +960 668 0629
Editor’s note: This article was previously published in 2012. It was reformatted and republished in 2017.