For a virtual tour of the hotel, see the video at the bottom of the page.
Bruce Jones has spent much of his career designing underwater toys for the rich and famous. The 50-year-old president of U.S. Submarines is best known for building ultraluxe custom subs, $80-million vessels that feature private staterooms, paneled interiors made from exotic hardwoods, plush carpeting, and enough onboard oxygen to keep you and 10 friends breathing easy for three weeks of cruising at depths of nearly 1,000 feet. Now Jones is redirecting his expertise in undersea opulence toward the hotel industry. His plan: to open the Poseidon Mystery Island, the world´s first major resort at the bottom of the ocean, by September 2008.
"When I was in high school, I was always writing letters to Jacques Cousteau and sketching underwater habitats," Jones recalls. In 2000, he took the first step toward the real thing, offering a reward to whomever found the best location for his futureundersea playground. "I´ve got a lot of friends in the submersible business who are also scuba divers," he says. "So I put the word out that if someone came up with the perfect spot, we´d pay them $10,000." A business associate and avid diver suggested a reef off the Bahamian island of Eleuthera and collected his reward. But Jones eventually ran into trouble negotiating a price for the site with its American owners. After a year of fruitless back-and-forth, he decided to set his sights farther afield, on Fiji.
DIVING IN FEET-FIRST
Jones is not the first to pursue an aquatic hotel. That credit goes to Jules´ Undersea Lodge (named, of course, for seafaring scribe Jules Verne), a little bungalow at the bottom of the Emerald Lagoon in Key Largo, Florida. Opened in 1986, Jules´ is more akin to a sunken RV than a full-fledged resort. Up to six guests can rent the two-bedroom, one-bath undersea retreat for the night, but scuba certification is mandatory; the front door is 21 feet underwater.
In Dubai, where hotels are prized for ostentation, a group of commercial developers is hyping the creation of the $500-million Hydropolis Undersea Resort. A sprawling 1.1-million-square-foot complex-with lavish suites, a ballroom, a shopping mall and a missile-defense system to ward off terrorists-Hydropolis is an ambitious vision of luxury at 60 feet underwater. As of press time, though, the project had stalled in the preconstruction phase. According to Mansoor Ijaz, deputy chairman of the board for Crescent Hydropolis Resorts, LLC, Hydropolis is on hold pending "land acquisition" and probably won´t be finished before the current opening date, set for 2008.
Money, naturally, is the first hurdle facing any large-scale endeavor. In the case of Poseidon, private investors and an American merchant bank have anted up nearly all of the $105 million that Jones needs to complete the resort. Clearly, they are optimistic that Poseidon can lure enough celebrity guests and high rollers to be a financial success. Meanwhile, Jones has inked a deal with the owners of a privately held South Pacific island. If all goes well with construction, the Poseidon Mystery Island will soon be submerged in 40 feet of water in a 5,000-acre coral lagoon near the coast of a narrow, 225-acre isle located in northeastern Fiji.
(Continued on next page)
Can't see this? Download Flash
I covered this resort on my podcast Universe of Luxury. You can listen to the whole episode here: http://universeofluxury.com/podcasts/episode-10-universe-of-luxury/
An aquatic hotel, wow, seems like a wonderful idea. Jules Verne would be very proud http://www.hotel-bucuresti.com/hoteluri/hotel_nelisse-117.html
I would love to stay at this hotel. What is the cost per day for a visit?