Inside Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, Home to the World’s First Underwater Residence and Restaurant
This Maldivian resort allows you to sleep, wine, and dine under the sea.
BY Jackie Chen  |  March 23, 2023
3 Minute Read

Justin Nicholas

Encircled by the vast Indian Ocean, one thing the Maldives never lacks is the sight of crystal-clear waters, as far as the eye can see. Drawing on this natural phenomenon, Conrad Maldives Rangali Island vows to offer something distinctive and utterly unforgettable; this Maldivian resort is taking underwater adventures to the next level by inviting guests to sleep and dine under the sea. Literally.

A 30-minute seaplane from Velana International Airport will fly you to this twin-island resort located in the South Ari Atoll. In 2018, the resort debuted the Muraka residence, an ultra-sumptuous villa featuring the first underwater suite in the world. It’s one-of-a-kind residence split into two storeys: one above the sea surface and the other submerged nearly five metres below sea level in the Indian Ocean.

Architect Yuji Yamazaki explains the unique concept, “The Maldives is known for its pristine beach and sea. The views of the ocean are breathtaking, but that’s only half of the Maldivian beauty. The other half exists underwater.” 

This desire to explore the Maldivian beauty underwater eventually led to the making of this extraordinary residence. Its expansive upper level is designed as integrated living, dining, and entertaining spaces with a sunrise deck that opens to the immense blue ocean. The lower submerged level is home to the underwater master bedroom wrapped in a 180-degree curved acrylic dome to bring in unhindered views of the surrounding waterscape. Simply lie on the bed and prepare to be amazed by the aquatic mysteries unfolding in front of your eyes. Behold a myriad of fish, rays, turtles, and sharks swimming freely around the tunnel-shaped bedroom, while colourful coral reefs act as natural décor. The connecting bathroom, walk-in closet, and living space all come with floor-to-ceiling windows. This is your private aquarium, serene and undisturbed.

Completing this exceptional sojourn, a team of butlers attending to your every need on a 24-hour basis are on stand-by. The residence also comes with its dedicated seaplane platform to ensure the highest level of privacy.

While the Muraka is undoubtedly the pièce de résistance, the resort also boasts a selection of luxury villas and suites. If you are travelling with family, the beachfront accommodations on the Rangali-Finolhu island would be a good fit. Meanwhile, the adults-only Rangali island is studded with refreshed overwater villas built above turquoise lagoons, perfect for couples and honeymooners.

Don’t miss the resort’s other “world’s first”—Ithaa Undersea Restaurant, an undersea restaurant like no other. Dipping five metres below sea level, the restaurant offers a 180-degree panoramic view of the underwater world paired with a menu of fusion delicacies and crafted cocktails. With seating limited to 14 guests, the restaurant can also be booked for private occasions. Hidden under the water is the resort’s wine cellar, home to a stunning collection of over 15,000 bottles and up to 950 labels preserved two metres underground. Together with the other 10 restaurants and bars across the resort, be spoilt by the diverse culinary offerings.

With all these experiences built on the beautiful Maldivian waters, the eco-conscious resort pledges to preserve its neighbouring marine environment. Apart from the replacement of single-use plastic amenities to save sea creatures, the resort also vows to protect its surrounding reefs by inviting guests to partake in its reef protection and regeneration programme, which includes a coral nursery and a coral adoption plan.

All images courtesy of Conrad Maldives Rangali Island.