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I couldn’t sleep much, but that’s not because the bed was uncomfortable. Rather, it was because my guestroom was underwater — and making eye contact with fish was too entertaining.
The Muraka, which means “coral” in the Maldives’ native Dhivehi language, is Conrad Maldives Rangali Island’s brand-new underwater residence and the first-of-its-kind accommodation option in the open ocean.
The two-story villa, which cost $15 million to construct, features both above-water and underwater sections. Above water, The Muraka includes two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a gym, butler’s quarters, a marble-laden living and dining area with a fully stocked complimentary bar, an outdoor deck with an infinity-edge pool and a private boat jetty. (Pro tip: Ask your butler to whisk you to a neighboring sandbar for a private picnic.)
An elevator or staircase takes guests underwater, where they’ll discover a 193-square-foot bedroom covered by acrylic dome.
Japanese architect Yuji Yamazaki was thoughtful in designing The Muraka, which features minimalist decor and sliding wooden doors that disappear into the wall when opened. A glass-ceilinged corridor lures guests into the underwater bedroom and living area (which also comes equipped with an escape hatch to be used in the event of an emergency).
After arriving to The Muraka, my personal butler quickly uncorked a bottle of champagne and connected me to the surprisingly fast Wi-Fi network so that I could stay connected while soaking up a 180-degree panoramic view of coral and marine life.
Guests should be advised that there’s no television under the water, and although the villa’s lights stay on past midnight, they automatically extinguish at 1 a.m. so the coral can rest. Additionally, an awning can be electronically drawn to cover the glass ceiling from the morning’s sunlight, but I doubt it will get much use by hotel guests. After all, the experience of waking up to see fish swimming around is magical, and the muffled sound of lapping waves above the bedroom is also unique. (I even grew accustomed to the fish that often nibbled on algae that attached to the side of the underwater villa.) I do recommend wearing sunscreen — especially during midday – as the sun’s rays were strong and plentiful.
The property is intent on creating an eco-friendly stay that both respects the environment and educates guests about it. Clients booking The Muraka can also choose among adventure, culinary, wellness, culture and sustainability experiences.
Additionally, the rate of $50,000 per night includes private luxury seaplane transfers from Velana International Airport, daily spa treatments, all meals and alcoholic beverages, watersport activities and excursions, villa butlers and a chef and welcome gifts such as bathrobes and Aesop toiletry products. Hilton Honors members also receive an automatic upgrade to Diamond status.
Those who can’t afford a night in the villa itself can still dine at the resort’s underwater restaurant, Ithaa. (Admittedly, though, they’ll miss out on the unique experience of showering underwater as fish float by the window.)
The DetailsThe Muraka at Conrad Maldives Rangali Islandwww.conradmaldives.com