Jules’ Undersea Lodge in Key Largo, Florida, claims the distinction of being the world’s first underwater hotel. It is also the only lodging of its kind in the United States. The fully submerged hotel is located at the bottom of the Emerald Lagoon. To enter, guests must scuba dive 21 feet below the water’s surface. Despite its unusual location, however, Jules' Undersea Lodge also offers more traditional amenities like dining, entertainment facilities and round-the-clock staff.
An Adventurous Past
Developed by Ian Koblick and Neil Monney, Jules’ Undersea Lodge was founded in the early 1970s as La Chalupa research lab. The mobile facility was originally used to explore the continental shelf off Puerto Rico’s coast. Koblick and Monney later named the hotel in honor of Jules Verne, author of the classic novel “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.” According to the hotel’s website, Jules’ Undersea Lodge is a “tribute to the human quest for exploration and adventure.”
An Underwater Apartment
The underwater hotel features two private bedrooms and can accommodate up to six guests at a time. Both of the bedrooms feature a double bed and single pull-down berth, a refrigerator, telephone and an entertainment system with a stereo and DVD/VCR. Each room also offers a 42-inch window with underwater views of the lagoon. Though guests have access to an en-suite sink, shower and washroom facilities are shared. The remainder of the facility’s 600 square-foot living space is devoted to a centralized wet room--the entrance to the hotel where guests can store their diving gear and use the bathroom--and the common room. This area houses a small, fully-stocked kitchen, dining area and entertainment center.
Stay the Night (Or the Day)
Guests of Jules’ Undersea Lodge can choose from a variety of packages, some of which include gourmet dinners prepared by an underwater “mer-chef,” fresh flowers and exclusive use of the entire facility. Those who are unable to spend the night can book three-hour long mini-stays. Meanwhile, all guests are given access to diving gear, waterproof luggage transportation and 24-hour service that includes late-night pizza delivery from a local shop. According to the hotel's website, about 80 percent of guests are certified divers. To allow hotel access to non-certified guests, the Lodge offers an introductory scuba diving course. Other services include diving certification, specialty dive training and an excursion to MarineLab, a fully-functional underwater lab.
Room With A View
Jules’ Undersea Lodge is located in a mangrove lagoon that is home to a variety of juvenile reef fish including nurse sharks, sea horses, angelfish and barracuda. To keep the ocean from coming inside, the underwater living space is filled with compressed air. It receives fresh air, water, power and communications through an umbilical cable that connects to a land-based command center.
- Photo Credit tauchen image by Christian Schoettler from Fotolia.com
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