Above Ground Under Water Restaurant

Huravalhi - underwater restaurant

I’ve always wondered how they made those underwater restaurants (and spa and night clubs, etc) in the Maldives. Did they drop in components and then pump water out? As it happens, these subaquatic wonders are completely refabbed, shipped to the resort and lowered whole into their new lagoon home.

The new resort of Hurawalhi is the latest in the underwater pantheon. And some recent reports on their underwater restaurant is providing a behind the scenes look at this remarkable engineering. The supplier M.J, Murphy in New Zealand posted some “how do they do that” details on their site recently…

“Following the usual 10km route from Fitzroy’s factory to the port, the 410 tonne Underwater Restaurant was manoeuvred alongside the giant crane ship “The Fairlane”, using 3 trucks. Then on 11 Feb, the two giant 400 tonne cranes lifted the UWR onto the ship and readied for its 3 week trip to the Maldives…The acrylic is optically perfect, so diners will feel ‘immersed’ and surrounded by the ocean and the fish life. There will also be a large spectacular panoramic underwater acrylic window (190mm thick) in the end of the UWR which is expected to wow the lucky diners, with amazing long views along the sloping coral reef.”

Here’s hoping that everything goes down well at Huravalhi.

 

Huravalhi - underwater restaurant 2

Best of the Maldives: Underwater Wine Cellar – Anantara Kihavah Villas

Anantara Kihavah Villas - underwater wine cellar

 

 

The Maldives oceans harbour treasures of all sorts. The vibrant house reef of Anantara Kihavah Villas hosts a trove of colourful gems from sparkling beauties to full-bodied crimson rarities. And you don’t need to get wet to view these treats. As they are found in the world’s only underwater wine collection. En route to the Kihavah underwater dining and function area, the resort keeps its finest wines shielded from sunlight and temperature variations in its unique cellar. Sort of a connoisseur’s version of a Marine Protected Area.

 

Best of the Maldives: Proposal Coaching – Conrad Rangali Maldives

Conrad Rangali underwater wedding proposal

 

 

Happy Valentines Day. The epicentre of romance in the annual calendar. As such, one of the most popular days for people to propose. And with the Maldives being the geographical epicentre of romance, when the two combine expect big things. Like Conrad Maldives Rangali Island’s “Marry Me” packages…

“Conrad Maldives Rangali Island is launching a ‘MarryMe’ package for those planning to pop the question on Valentine’s Day. Priced at US$150, the package includes a bottle of celebratory champagne and assistance from the resort in planning the proposal. As part of the offer, couples dining in Ithaa undersea restaurant on February 14 can use the services of the dive centre for a memorable underwater proposal, complete with a diver swimming outside the windows of the restaurant to help ask the question.”

7 Underwater Wonderful Activities in the Maldives

Underwater bubbles

The 7th of the 7th for 7 Wonders. Everyone knows the “7 Wonders of the World” (well, like the Seven Dwarfs, they always forget the last one like “Doc” or “Mausoleum at Halicarnassus”). In the age of listicles, there seems to be a “7 Wonders…” of jut about every description. Of course, a while back there was the “Seven Natural Wonders of the World” scam.

For Maldives fans, the latest of interest has to be the “Seven Wonders of the Underwater World”…

  1. Belize’s Barrier Reef
  2. Deep Sea Vents, Ecuador
  3. Northern Red Sea, Africa
  4. The Great Barrier Reef
  5. Lake Baikal, Russia
  6. Galapagos Islands
  7. Palau Reefs

One might argue that Maldives is glaring by its omission. But I have always thought that the Maldives’ ultimate charm is not below the water nor above it. But right at the water’s edge. It occupies that magical balance not being mostly beneath (like the Great Barrier Reef and the Red Sea), nor being quite high above (like the Galapagos or much of the South Pacific). If you are looking for that wonder that is right on the edge of aquatic and atmospheric, the Maldives commands a list of only 1.

1. Get Engaged – Conrad Rangali Maldives.  Mastering neutral buoyancy to get down on one knee.

Conrad Rangali wedding proposal

2. Get Married – Centara Grand. Buddy breathing for life.

Centara Grand underwater wedding 2

3. Run the Country – In 2009, the President held an underwater Cabinet meeting to highlight the risks of global warming.

Underwater cabinet meeting

4. Build a Reef – A number of resorts (eg. Kandooma, Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru, Four Seasons Kuda Hura, Kurumba) now offer Reefscaping which involves attaching small pieces of coral onto support frame which allows them to grow

Kandooma reefscaping 2

5.  View an Art Exhibit – Soneva Fushi. New meaning to “Watercolours”.

Soneva Fushi olly and suzy art 1

6. Shoot a Movie. LUX Maldives. Life Aquatic sequels galore.

LUX Maldives Underwater Festival

7. Celebrate the Holidays. Anantara Kihavah. Eau Christmas Tree, eau Christmas tree…

Anantara Kihavah underwater Christmas tree

Best of the Maldives: Bubble Blowing – LUX Maldives

LUX Maldives bubble blowing

Today is Domink’s day…Guinness World Record Day.

“I once tested the count of bubbles on one breath. I ended up with 42. Since the Guinness world record is stated to be 18 I guess I should submit a video to them.”

Dominik Ruhl, GM of LUX* Maldives, doesn’t (yet) have a video of 42, but he does have this quite impressive YouTube clip of an extra big one (see above). Dominik has the special advantage of his freediving mastery which is primarily focused on breath control.

The dive master at Bathala did an impressive air bubble when we were diving the house reef with him, but that was with a scuba tank for air.

Dominik might not have the official Guinness record (yet), but as far as documented bubble blowing, he seems to be the best of the Maldives at least.

Best of Maldives: Underwater Dance – Maayafushi

Maayafushi Harlem Shake

 

 

Con los terroristas. Ey Shake. Ey Shake. Ey, Ey, Ey, Ey.

I’ve enjoyed a number of the Harlem Shake renditions sweeping the net recently, but had to give a special nod to the Maayafushi dive centre at TGI Maldives for their underwater performance.

This month’s video has prompted me to add a ‘video’ tag to the Maldives Complete as the Blog now boasts 14 different video posts.

Shake, Ta. Ta. And do the Harlem Shake. Ey Shake, Ey.

Best of the Maldives: Underwater Pool – Maaprolfulshi

Avrilfulshi underwater pool

 

Underwater marvels are some of the signature features of the Maldives paradise. And with the flood of underwater restaurants, bedrooms, night clubs, function rooms, spas, cabinet meetings, golf courses, Christmas trees, art, and even scuba massage, innovative new offerings are demanding more and more creativity. So many are there that I have introduced an ‘underwater’ tag to the blog today (not the natural features and creatures, but the man-made stuff).

The lesser known resort of Maaprolfulshi has tossed its hat into this watery ring with its newly introduced underwater pool. No, not a ‘pool’ that is underwater. That would be just silly! But an underwater pool table. It also accommodates games of billiards and snooker (see above).

Break!

Best of the Maldives: Underwater Club – Niyama

Niyama Deep Six club

 

 

 

Of all the ‘wow’ factors in the Maldives, their most famous are their underwater features – restaurant (and bedroom), function room, spa. And now lounge. I might have to make a separate ‘Best of the Maldives’ category for them all.

The recently opened NIYAMA resort introduces its ‘Deep Six’ nightclub. Not just the first in the Maldives, but the first in the world…

“The world’s first underwater club. International DJs. Global music. Splashes of colour – indigo, blue. Glass walls overlook a spot lit sea. Modern moods with a flair for the marine. Take the party below the sea for all-night dancing beneath the waves.”

I think I would have to nickname the club ‘Sebastian’s Hideaway’…

We got a hot crustacean band
Each little clam here
know how to jam here
Under the sea.

Best of the Maldives: Underwater Function Room – Anantara Kihavah Villas

Anantara Kihavah underwater room

Such wonderful things surround you
What more is you lookin’ for?
Under the sea, Under the sea
Darling it’s better
Down where it’s wetter
Take it from me
The Little Mermaid

If you want your social functions immersed in water, then Anantara Kihavah are the latest to add an underwater spectacle to their resort.

The biggest of the underwater rooms in the Maldives extends it to more than a meal or treatment. It is being used for dining, dancing, functions like weddings (see picture below) and special events like wine tastings…

“View and savour the Indian Ocean’s abundance of marine life by descending into a connoisseur journey at the underwater restaurant and wine cellar, ‘Sea’, where guests are indulged with exquisite degustation menus or classic creations and tempted by the resident Wine Sommelier’s perfect accompaniments from a vast array of new and old world selections. Oenophiles will delight in the impressive underwater wine cellar, featuring one of the most balanced and diverse wine collections in the Maldives with over 6,500 bottles and 320 labels from 14 countries. 22 labels are available by the glass and regular tasting sessions offer guests a tantalising journey through the vineyards of the world.”

Sort of a new dimension to going ‘down below’ to see the wine cellar and literally taking special occasions to the next ‘level’.

Anantara Kihavah underwater wedding

Best of the Maldives: Underwater Massage – Kurumba

underwater massage

 

 

If a sliver of sand is not close enough to aquatic blissful relaxation, then Kurumba’s underwater scuba massage treatment (launched today!) should literally soak away the stress. Aprille Phoulle of the Veli Spa explained…

“Many of our divers get a whole range of muscle soreness and tensions from having heavy tanks on their backs. We figured why not provide the soothing treatment they need in the environment they love. Sure, more and more resorts are offering underwater spas and restaurants, but we are the first to go truly underwater with our services. At our latest underwater management meeting (modelled after the government’s cabinet meeting) decided to literally take to plunge. Customers have the choice of a table massage (anchored to the lagoon floor) or a ‘free floating’ treatment. The latter combines the benefit of a ‘flotation tank’ as the clients are set at neutral buoyancy. Due to the warm tropical waters of the Maldives, it is quite comfortable diving in just a t-shirt and trunks making it easy for the PADI-certified therapist to work those sore muscles (not mussels). We use only the finest Ayurveda, eco-friendly fish oils like ‘Tranquility Tuna’ and ‘Box Fish Bliss.’ The treatment also naturally includes something that has become a popular pedicure treatment in Europe, fish depilation, as wrasses delight in gently nibbling at the dead skin especially the crispy, sunburnt type. A tank of air is just right for a half-hour session.”

The Euro-Diver dive centre has also collaborated with the Veli Spa on a range of other treatments designed for the diver set such as the “Nitrox Detox” and the “Scuba Scrub”. They are also working with PADI to develop a range of new specialty skills that can be combined with ‘Underwater Massage’ such as ‘Compressed Air Aromartherapy’ for a ‘Dive Therapist’ certification.