Tourists looking for a room with an ocean view will be thrilled to hear about the development of a new submarine hotel, which will lie 8.5 meters (28 feet) beneath the waves. Having recently received patent and trademark approval, the Planet Ocean Underwater Hotel is all set to be constructed in Key West, Florida, after which it will be shipped out on a barge to an as yet undecided location.
Access to the structure will be via an elevator, with all rooms boasting Wi-Fi, air conditioning, and panoramic vistas of the surrounding marine environment. Even more extraordinary is the fact that the hotel is technically classed as a vessel, since it is able to navigate the ocean using electromechanical propulsion, allowing it to change location in order to avoid storms.
The hotel is being funded by Tony Webb, who also recently sponsored the SYNERGY MOON project, an official entrant in the Google Lunar X Prize, which is a race to land a robot on the moon. His new endeavor sees him switch his focus from outer space to “inner space tourism,” offering adventurous travelers the opportunity to explore the depths of the world’s oceans.
Costing around $20 million (£13 million) to construct, the hotel is designed to do more than just offer unique travel experiences; it is part of a larger philanthropic project to restore coral reefs around the world. Recent reports have suggested that climate change has resulted in a rise in submarine temperatures, causing widespread bleaching of coral reefs, with around 38 percent expected to be affected by the end of the year.
To help address this problem, the team behind the hotel are funding a global coral reef restoration program, using a technique known as the Biorock process. This involves passing an electric current through seawater, which causes minerals in the water to crystallize, forming white limestone (calcium carbonate) structures. Corals are then able to adhere to these and flourish. The technique is currently in operation at various locations across the globe, including the likes of Jamaica, Palau, Thailand and Mexico.
A number of countries are being invited to register their interest in hosting the Planet Ocean Underwater Hotel, including every Caribbean island nation. As long as these countries approve a mooring location for the structure, they will be able to temporarily host the hotel until it moves on to its next home.