Underwater hotels open up hospitality’s newest frontier

A company in the US is opening up a new frontier in the world of hospitality, as it prepares to roll out the world’s first underwater hotels.

Planet Ocean Underwater Hotel is planning to develop a collection of hotels that will sit approximately nine metres below the surface of the sea, offering a range of luxurious rooms that look directly out into the ocean.

So far the company has identified 15 global locations, covering Southeast Asia, the Red and Caribbean seas, Arabian Gulf, and the Indian and Pacific oceans. In Asia Pacific, locations include the Maldives, Fiji, French Polynesia, Indonesia, Philippines and Malaysia. The first project, comprising a hotel and research centre, is expected to be located in Cuban waters.

“We are selling 15 locations for US$3 million each. This will quickly fund and fabricate the US$22 million underwater hotel [in Cuba] with the research centre structure. Fabrication is approximately nine months,” Tony Webb, managing director of Planet Ocean Underwater Hotel told Travel Daily.

Referring to the countries on his Asian development list, Webb said “all of those mentioned… have been contacted”. He added that the company would “like to work with existing hotels and resorts”.

“It seems that fear and the unknown have been the constant factors with governments, investors and coastal resort properties,” Webb said. “The only way to eliminate fear is for all potential buyers to work as a team. A team that Planet Ocean Underwater Hotel will develop specifically for operations in their nation’s waters.”

Every underwater hotel will be accessible from the surface via two glass elevators. As well as private rooms with views of the underwater world, guests will be offered F&B services and evening entertainment with live music. There will also be scuba diving and mini-submarine rides. The hotels will also be involved in marine conservation projects; each project will have a research centre dedicated to marine and coral reef restoration, which the company says is “part of its core mission and vision”.

Tony Webb
Tony Webb

And Webb said that he is confident his dream of developing a global portfolio underwater hotels will become a reality.

“We are adamant about our aggressive development plans. We will fabricate the first underwater hotel in Texas, then test the entire hotel structure while it sits on top of the barge. This will be accomplished in waters near Key West, Florida. During this phase we will be training our 15 future captains and crew. Then on to Cuba and with live broadcast and show the world,” he revealed.

Once this hotel is operational, Webb believes that other countries will gain more confidence in the project, and be willing to invest.

“Our USA-Cuba collaboration is the perfect location to 100% eliminate the fear and to show how our underwater hotel operates,” he asserted.

And with nightly rates of approximately US$2,500 for two guests – similar to the price of some suites at existing luxury land-based hotels – the new Planet Ocean Underwater Hotels will also be relatively affordable.

While much attention has been directed towards space tourism in recent years, the ambition of Tony Webb and his team could mean that the next frontier in travel and hospitality is under the sea, rather than in the stars.

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