Underwater thrills including the Museo Subacuatico de Arte in Mexico

8 amazing underwater attractions

Patricia Chui, CNNPublished 12th July 2017
(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.
Courtesy Huvafen Fushi
The LIME Spa offers massages, manicures and pedicures, body scrubs and aromatherapy while schools of fish and manta rays swim by on the other side of thick glass walls.
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

There's no front door to this hotel, which visitors enter by swimming up through a pool in the floor (compressed air keeps water from flooding the structure).
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

The Miami Seaquarium's "underwater walking journey" can make land-bound earthlings feel like explorers on another planet.
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.
Courtesy Anantara Dhigu Resort
At the Anantara Kihavah Villas, a resort of lavish villas and residences, there are four dining options: Sea, Fire, Salt and Sky.
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

An underwater museum with an eco twist.
Courtesy Andy Blackledge/Creative Commons/Flickr
The Museo Subacuatico de Arte (otherwise known as the Cancun Underwater Museum) is an underwater museum with no walls, guides or descriptive plaques.
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?
courtesy Atlantis the Palm, Dubai
Dubai's luxury hotel Atlantis The Palm has two stunning underwater suites.
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

The Hotell Utter Inn (English translation: Hotel Otter Inn) is charming red house on Lake Malaren with a sundeck -- and a single room beneath the surface of the water.
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.
Courtesy Ithaa Undersea Restaurant
One of seven restaurants at the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island hotel, Ithaa was constructed in Singapore in 2004 and then transported to the Maldives, where it was lowered into the water.
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.
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