So, you dream to swim with the fishes – or be one. Like a mermaid or merman, you want to feel the enormity of the ocean and the weightlessness of the water. So far, this was only possible when you went scuba diving, snorkeling or booked a table at the two underwater restaurants. Conrad Maldives Rangali will elevate this experience to a whole new level where you can live and sleep underwater as long as you like. If all goes according to plan, the hotel group will open the first-ever underwater hotel suite in November 2018. The Conrad Maldives Rangali unit is a 100-square meter underwater suite with a king-size bedroom, living area, bathroom, and a spiral staircase and a 700-square meter overwater suite. The underwater suite is five meters submerged in the water. The hotel, Crown Company’s director, architect, and designer Ahmed Saleem, and MJ Murphy Ltd., a New Zealand-based company specialized in aquarium technology took the dream a step further and developed concrete plans to build this unique place where world travelers can have a one-of-a-kind, transformative underwater experience in complete luxury. MJ Murphy Ltd. was faced with the challenge to bring the ideas and dreams from paper and computer into the real life. The design, fabrication, shipment, installation, and commission of The Muraka (Divehi, Maldive language, for ‘coral’). The design consultancy had experience with the two underwater restaurants that they had built previously, but this was taking it up a notch to a bigger, heavier scale. The villa weighs about 610 tons and is the most complex structure MJ Murphy has created so far. First, the ‘shell’ was transported in three pieces as it was too heavy to transport in one-piece overland. It was then assembled on a barge in the water where the acrylic windows were fitted. For the bedroom, a five-meter-wide acrylic arc was used to guarantee 180-degree panoramic views. The arc is very similar to the Ithaa restaurant’s dome. New curved windows were designed for the stairwell. All of them were manufactured by Nippura Co. in Japan. Also, then the silk carpets and tiles were laid. When the assembled suite was fully tested and the engineers were satisfied with the results, it was placed on a jumbo crane ship called ‘The Fairlane’ to ship to the Maldives. A few weeks later it arrived at the concrete jetty that was specially built for the construction of the hotel suite. The underwater technology and structural design piece were then gently lowered into the water and guided onto the piles by experienced divers. While the engineers and the architect took a breather, the interior designer Yuji Yamazaki got busy with the interior design. Of the submerged part of the hotel suite, 75% of the walls and ceiling surfaces are made of clear acrylic for the best views of the Indian Ocean and marine environment and colors. Yuji created a space that resembles the center of an aquarium, hence the surrounding is where the focus should be and the interiors don’t distract from the marine life happening right outside the windows. Taking inspiration from private jets and classic Italian luxury cars, the interior designer went for a minimalist style with dark brown leather upholstery and pastel color that is calming and quiet. Now we just have to wait for the luxury residence hotel to open to implementing our dreams of water and floating.
Not underwater, but near the water, check out our latest sponsorship in the Maldives.