10 Things To Know About The Muraka, The World’s First Underwater Villa
1. It’s part of the Conrad Maldives.
The Muraka is part of the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year.A pioneer in luxury tourism, it was the first internationally branded hotel to open in the Maldives back in 1997, the first to open an underwater restaurant in 2004 (Ithaa), and now, the first to open an underwater villa.
2. It was built in Singapore.
The 600-tonne structure was built in Singapore before being transferred in three parts to the Maldives by ship. Ahmed Saleem, director of Crown Company Pvt. Ltd (which owns the Conrad Maldives) and the lead architect on The Muraka, worked with M.J. Murphy Ltd, a New Zealand-based company that specialises in aquarium technology on the engineering, and Japanese architect Yuji Yamazaki on the interiors.
3. It cost US$15 million and took two years to build.
Originally commissioned in 2016, The Muraka took a full two years to complete. Having worked on the Conrad’s underwater restaurant, Ithaa, M.J. Murphy Ltd replicated the same 180-degree curved acrylic dome for the bedroom ceiling and introduced the first underwater unit with plumbing and drainage below sea level.
As for safety? Oxygen levels are monitored closely by technicians around the clock, and there is an emergency button and escape route to the surface should anything go awry.
4. It sits five metres below sea-level.
The Muraka sits five metres (16.4 feet) below sea level and is held in place by concrete piles. There, you’ll get up-close-and-personal with the sea life via floor-to-ceiling windows in the walk-in closet, bathroom and shower, bedroom and a dedicated viewing theatre at the end of the tunnel. According to Mike Murphy, the engineer behind The Muraka, many factors had to be considered when deciding the depth of the unit, including tidal range, water depths, storm wave heights, wind loads and more.
5. It sleeps up to nine people.
The Muraka is made for group travel with two floors; on top, you’ll find an integrated living room with a kitchen, bar and dining room, master bedroom with a bathroom, powder room and ocean-facing bathtub, plus a separate bedroom with two twin-size beds. The sunrise-facing deck features an infinity pool and four daybeds, while the deck on the opposite side is perfect for watching the sunset. Once fully completed, The Muraka will also have a gym onsite and butler’s quarters.
6. It’s fully air-conditioned with Wi-Fi and electricity, even underwater.
Even though it is fully submerged underwater, The Muraka offers all the modern amenities that you’d expect from a luxury hotel suite including digital temperature control, air conditioning, Wi-Fi and electricity. There’s even remote-controlled black-out curtains in the bedroom (if you’d like some privacy from the fishes) and a fancy lighting system outside and in the surrounding corals that changes colour and can be controlled by your bedside.
7. It comes with 24/7 Instagram butlers.
Guests at The Muraka are taken care of around the clock by butlers who are trained to go the extra mile for guests. Not to mention, they are amazing at taking pictures. The Conrad Maldives was, after all, the first resort in the world to introduce “Instagram Butlers” who’ve been trained by professional photographers to help you capture incredible memories at The Muraka (and trust us, you’ll be taking plenty of photos).
8. You get access to exclusive experiences.
Guests at The Muraka, which means ‘coral’ in the local Dhivehi language, get access to exclusive experiences including a private back-of-house tour of the resort and staff island, as well as a coral conservation programme called Muraka 101. By adopting a coral (with your name on it, no less) and having it planted by experienced divers just outside of The Muraka, you can contribute directly to the growth of the coral gardens and ultimately, sea life in the area for many years to come.
9. It comes with a private chef.
All meals are included at The Muraka, where guests can feast like royalty by having their own private chef. There's even an option to fly your favourite chef from any Conrad Hotel in the world over to fix your favourite meals. The daily rate also includes private seaplane transfers, one 90-minute spa treatment per day, exclusive Muraka experiences, access to the private speedboat throughout your stay and automatic upgrade to Diamond Honors Hilton status.
10. It costs US$50,000 a night.
Since opening in November 2018, The Muraka has already been receiving inquiries and bookings from around the world. Priced at US$50,000 a night, we hear that someone from Shanghai has just booked 10 consecutive nights in the spring of 2019. So, if The Muraka is going straight onto your bucket list (like the rest of the world), you’d better start blocking those dates out soon.