International hospitality from Iceland to Bosnia
The world’s first undersea restaurant (complete with a three-person submarine) offers guests an “under-the-top” experience in the Maldives.
Snorkelling and scuba diving were once the only way to see wild reefs and tropical fish up close, and then came a handful of sea-adjacent aquariums. But at the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, travellers can see the wonders of the water world without getting wet, while dining. The all-glass, 12-seat Ithaa (meaning pearl in Dhivehi) restaurant sits 16 feet below sea level, and offers 180-degree views of the stingrays, sharks and snapper fish that swim by. Those views come at a price, of course: the four-course lunchtime menu runs $195 a person, while the six-course, French-island inspired dinner rings up at $320 a person. If you dine at lunch, don't forget your shades and sunscreen. The sunlight overhead cuts right through the clear water, and both diners and waiters must wear sunglasses around noon, though they keep a few extras on hand for unprepared guests.
Itching for more underwater adventure after eating? Book the just-introduced "Nemo", a three-person orange and white submarine that can dive up to 98 feet. The three acrylic pods that pop out of the top of the nimble machine make it easy to see the water wildlife in all directions. A 30-minute trip for one costs $280 and $495 for two.