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Published on Monday, June 17, 2013

The latest in luxury: Underwater hotels

Talk about sleeping with the fishes.

Look out of the Water Discus Hotel and all you see is ocean—not just on the horizon, but all around you.

Like a spaceship that sits on a coral reef, with underwater rooms that put you eye to eye with the creatures of the deep, this newest in ultra-luxury resorts is coming to the Maldives, and reportedly to Dubai as well.

The brainchild of Polish company Deep Ocean Technology, backed by Swiss investors, the Water Discus is made up of two big discs, one above the water and one below, that stand on five legs like a giant spider.

The lower disc has 21 hotel rooms, an underwater dive center, and a bar and restaurant. There's even a helicopter pad and a rooftop swimming pool.

"We bring you a de luxe hotel combined with a real marine adventure and breathtaking views found only in the heart of the ocean," the hotel company says.

Feeling a little queasy already? Not to worry. "A wide shaft with a view of the sky above gives a safe sense of spaciousness, minimizing any claustrophobic feelings some may experience while staying in an enclosed underwater space," it adds.

Water sports are available, of course. There are diving lessons and underwater scooters.

The dive center is equipped with an underwater airlock, so guests can jump straight into the ocean, and a decompression chamber for training and deep-diving excursions.

On the surface you can rent three-passenger submersibles, motor boats for diving and water-skiing, and fast jet skis.

The whole complex sits on a coral reef, with outdoor lighting so guests can see the amazing sights. And to make sure the fish don't stare back, the rooms are soundproof and curtained.

The lobby, built inside an enormous swimming pool, is connected to the satellites by glass-walled tunnels and an exotic garden.

There's even a restaurant where you can watch the fish while you eat. (Fish for dinner? Surely not.)

The National Ministry of Tourism has given permission for the first hotel to be built on the secluded tropical island of Kuredhivaru in the Maldive Islands, and negotiations are underway in Dubai to build one of the surreal structures as well.

by Cheryl Rosen

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