Imagine yourself in a bedroom encapsulated within a turquoise blue bubble, watching shoals of reef fish swimming lazily by – sometimes in three or four layers of different species above the reef floor. This is the heart-stopping experience that awaits you in the underwater room.
An all-inclusive hotel room submerged four meters below the surface of the ocean, definitely a first for Africa, situated off the eastern coast of Africa by Pemba island, a private floating island at the manta resort.
Each of the three levels that make up the buoyant building has its own unique view: a rooftop terrace for sun bathing in the day and star-gazing at night, a landing deck at sea level equipped with a lounge and restroom, and an underwater hotel room below surrounded by panes of glass for a 360 degree marine panorama.
Throughout the day, guests of the resort can remain encapsulated in the submerged hotel room, floating amongst the turquoise blue water swimming with tropical life and coral reef. The landing deck, at sea level, has a lounge area and bathroom facility. A ladder leads up to the roof which has a lounging area – for sun worshipping by day and by night you can lie back in the starlight and wonder at the extraordinary clarity of the stars, planets and above all, the edge of our own galaxy – the wonderful Milky Way – all seen without any light pollution.
By night, the underwater spotlights beneath each window around the room attract the shyer and more unusual, for instance squid. Coral is already establishing itself on the anchoring lines and around the underwater structure. Octopus and even spanish dancers have been seen attaching themselves to the glass panes. The reef inhabitants can simply not resist attraction, which makes for exciting watching and a truly unique experience!
Imagine downstairs – the magical feeling of lying on a soft double bed surrounded by panes of glass affording almost 360 degree views – watching the shoals of reef fish and exquisite, often rarely seen individuals visiting the windows. Some have taken up residence around the room, which affords them some protection from predators. For instance, three bat fish and a trumpet fish called Nick who is always swimming around and seemingly looking in!
By night, ‘sleep with the fish’ and watch unusual sea creatures swim by. Experience sleep under the stars, listening to the soft murmuring of the sea.
It’s not a ‘resort’ in the typical sense of the word, it’s laid back and un-pretentious, and the views are certainly spectacular. It commands a fairly high price tag – and those looking for a smooth luxury resort may be disappointed, but for those who want somewhere a little different and off the beaten track, I think it’s well worth the money, $1500 per night for the double room.
Apart from the unique underwater room, the resort also has other accommodation areas which include Sea Front Villas which are spacious and private with en-suite bathrooms and secluded sun terrace. Superior Garden rooms has sea views which have interconnecting doors. The rooms are also air-conditioned and they have a king size four-poster bed with a private makuti thatch covered terrace.
The Manta Resort also has standard garden rooms that are open plan makuti thatched rooms in the garden, which have king size beds with mosquito net, open plan en-suite bathroom and a veranda.
Project Name: Underwater Hotel Room: The Manta Resort
Client/Owner: The Manta Resort
Architect: Genberg Underwater Hotels
Location: Pemba, Zanzibar
Photography: The Manta Resort, Jesper Anhede