Jules’s Undersea Lodge: A Fully Submerged Underwater Hotel

by Thomas Martin
Underwater hotel

Many hotels and resorts worldwide offer sea-facing rooms and even the option of viewing the underwater scene through a transparent section of the floor of overwater villas that gives a feeling of living on the water. The experience is truly magical, but some guys would still like to go a step ahead to experience the thrills of living in an underwater hotel. Hey, does it sound queer? You may be new to the concept and wonder about it. The lack of knowledge makes you skeptical about living underwater, which many people are ready to pay for. There are thirteen underwater hotels worldwide in places like Sweden, Dubai, The Maldives, Florida, Zanzibar, Fiji, the Caribbean, and China.

What is an underwater hotel?

Trying to make out from the name, you might think that a hotel underwater means a building constructed under the water’s surface or in the sea bed. However, until now, there has yet to be a hotel built entirely inside water. Instead, the unique construction and design of the building ensure that a significant portion of the building’s premises remain underwater.  Some hotels might have a room or a hotel bar underwater to claim that these are underwater hotels, which has become an accepted norm. Guests can spend time in the hotel’s specified areas, which provide a grand view of the aquatic life and marine environment. 

The most such hotels are in the Maldives, and all six have restaurants underwater to entertain guests with a unique experience of aquatic dining.  Of these, only one hotel Conrad Rangali Island has a room and a restaurant under the water.

Jules’s Undersea Lodge – A true underwater habitat

The Jules’s Undersea Lodge in Key Largo, Florida, which is America’s only hotel underwater, is an exception because it is not for everyone. Still, only scuba divers can reach the lodge. Located at 20 feet under the surface of the Emerald Lagoon, a tropical mangrove, the hotel is a reincarnation of the La Chalupa Research Laboratory that started during the 1970s off the coast of Puerto Rica. It was the most technologically advanced and the largest underwater habitat of its time. The hotel is an exclusive retreat for divers only who can book it for lunch.  However, the more enthusiastic guys might even spend a whole night underwater dining in the presence of the fish.

Briefing the guests

As you reach the land-based Command Center of Jules’s undersea Lodge, the hotel staff would first lead you to the Mission Director for a ‘mission briefing’ to explain what you can expect while going down. The briefing session is similar to issuing a disclaimer by the authority so that guests are well aware of what awaits them down below. Remember that to cope with the pressure changes you would experience below, refrain from carrying any toiletries, and don’t even try to open the underwater camera housings. It’s better still if you have the camera batteries fully charged. The Mission Director monitors guests in the lodge from the Command Center.

Communicating with the Command Center

A cable that connects the lodge to the control center acts as the livewire for communication. It delivers water, fresh air, and power. Guests can communicate with the control center or the Mission Director. To be precise, by using an old-fashioned landline telephonic device. The Mission Director hosts all guests arriving at the lodge, and after briefing them and allowing them to prepare for the dive-in, he takes them through the lagoon to reach the lodge. Guests must swim along the lagoon’s edge to arrive at the lodge’s entrance. 

Entering the Moon Pool

It is equipped in full diving gear, complete with flippers, mask, and oxygen cylinders. The guests enter the lodge through a wet to reach the Moon Pool. It makes them feel as if they arrived at a clubhouse secretly tucked underwater. The entrance to the lodge is on the floor. And guests must surface through it just as they would through a small plunge pool. Moon Pool, the room’s name, has a history that dates back to when the underwater habitat was a den for researchers. On seeing the full moon reflecting in the white sand below the habitat, the Moon Pool flashed across their minds.

The location

The lodge sits about five feet above the bottom of the lagoon, a protected area. Sturdy metal legs support the structure and help to maintain the desired gap with the lagoon’s bottom. The chamber of the lodge is filled with compressed air to create a positive pressure and prevent water from entering the space. The arrangement eliminates the chances of flooding. 

Inside the Moon Pool

Jules’s Lodge is a three-compartment unit. And the middle one is the Moon Pool, which has circular glass windows like you see in submarines. The Moon Pool is a self-contained living unit with a hot shower with soap, shampoo, conditioner, and a toilet. You can access two bedrooms side by side through one of the port holes. And the other leads you to a common room with a dining area, a galley, and a dazzling, decorated entertainment zone.

The arrangement in the entertainment zone might even surpass guests’ expectations. It is because, besides a collection of DVDs, there is Wi-Fi connectivity along with an Amazon Firestick. However, guests might overlook all these as they would like to spend most of their time gazing at the window to ensure they do not miss even a bit of what’s happening in the water world.

Exploring the underwater surroundings

Having thoroughly explored every nook and corner of the Jules’s Lodge, guests might feel like venturing out from the lodge to have a real feeling of the underwater surroundings. Once again, donning their full diving gear, they can plunge into the water and roam around to get up and close to the marine life. It comprises snapper, sea horses, blue tangs, and sergeant majors. Whether they succeed or not depends on their luck.

Passing eighteen hours underwater is an incredible experience that no other underwater hotel can offer.

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