Even the most ambitious entrepreneurs realise that in the course of their careers some projects will only occupy their fantasised reverie, and never come to fruition. But don’t suggest that idea to Ahmed Saleem, the Maldivian businessman and architect who designed the world’s first underwater restaurant, at what is now the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, back in 2005.
Now, Saleem has taken the idea one step further in his efforts to create the world’s first undersea residence, to be opened at the Conrad towards the end of the year.
On paper the endeavour seems ridiculously ambitious: connected to the resort by a 300m bridge, the Muraka (meaning coral) villa, costing US$15 million to build, will have living, dining and sleeping rooms above water, all a prelude to the marquee undersea bedroom where walls of windows will supply guests with an unparalleled sense of place.
Get an exclusive view of The Muraka through the eyes of freediving champion Alessia Zecchini in the video below
Inside rooms outfitted in dark-brown hues, guests enjoy the services of a 24-hour private butler, plus a full kitchen. Still, the property’s crowning centrepiece may be in the lounge area, where a 180-degrees-wide curved glass window looks straight out into the water, providing a hypnotising window out into the sea.
And stays are much more than a few nights in a room. The full experience, flexible depending on guests’ needs, includes VIP customs clearance, a private seaplane journey and exclusive use of the resort’s yachts and speedboat.
General manager Stefano Ruzza’s favourite part, though, is the bathroom, which enjoys striking views straight out onto the reef. “I’d never want to leave the shower. It’s amazing,” he remarks. It certainly is – truly a dream come true.